Taco John’s is the latest chain to test voice AI ordering in its drive-thrus.

To make this happen, the taco hub has teamed with AI automation technology provider Presto and restaurant point-of-sale (POS) provider Qu.  

Presto Voice will be available at select Taco John’s locations. The service kicked off at a Taco John’s location in Minnesota last month, and a second location is scheduled to go live in Wyoming before August.

The move aims to improve staff productivity as well as provide friendly and immediate service.

“Test results have been very positive,” said Ryan Baune, vice president for technology at Taco John’s. “We are seeing improvements around speed of service, order accuracy, and an increase in average ticket size primarily driven by upsell attachment.”

As part of the partnership, Presto’s Voice AI has combined with Qu’s POS and kitchen production technologies, to allow for automated voice orders to be managed within Taco John’s existing tech stack.

Taco John’s plans to incorporate voice AI in its franchised locations in 2024.

The companies say the technology is also aiding in improving the guest experience as orders show up in real-time on kitchen screens.

Steve Smyth, Director of Restaurant Technology at Taco John’s said it’s improved personal interaction with the guest, as there is no need to interrupt the guest at the pickup window to take an order for another guest.

On Qu’s end, the cloud-based Unified Commerce Platform was designed to create a cohesive restaurant experience for both operators as well as guests.

Brian Crum, VP of Product at Qu, said that the company was designed to support AI-powered integrations such as Presto Voice.

Taco John’s plans to incorporate AI voice in its franchised locations in 2024, following the completion of the pilot phase. The company currently operates almost 400 restaurants in 23 states.

Presto continues to ink partnerships with quick-service restaurants such as Del Taco, Hardee’s and Checkers & Rally’s. It’s also piloting Spanish-speaking voice AI at a location in Southern California.

Looking industry-wide, Presto Founder and former CEO Rajat Suri told Food On Demand in a past interview that he predicts “almost every drive-thru will have voice AI in the next five years.”

This brief includes additional reporting from Bernadette Heier.