In a recent survey from Presto, drive-thru customers like the influx of automation and they want more.
Presto, a digital services provider known recently for AI-voice technology, announced the findings of a biannual survey that showed a strong desire for more technology, if it made the experience better.
The survey, dubbed the Presto Pulse, received responses from 243 consumers, which the company said represented a wide swath of U.S. restaurant consumers, about their recent drive-thru experiences.
The majority (77 percent) said the overall quality of those experiences were the same or worse than last year. Long wait times were the biggest issue. In all, 27 percent of respondents said wait times have gotten significantly worse year-over-year. Hospitality was also an issue, as 18 percent of respondents said it was worse than last year.
This comes as more people are using off-premises ordering channels like drive-up takeout and third-party delivery. More than half of respondents said their frequency of drive-thru occasions was higher than last year, so it is worth noting that the lesser experience isn’t exactly driving people to cook for themselves or bring their lunches to work.
Mediocre or poor experiences are, however, getting more customers looking for better technology. The explosion of technology in the drive thru may also be demonstrating to consumers that things can get better with automation.
A total of 78 percent of respondents said they thought automation technology was critical for smooth operations in fast food. Most said technology makes the experience more efficient.
Presto said AI-voice could solve some drive-thru specific issues.
“In many drive-thrus it’s difficult to hear the person taking your order,” said one respondent. “This leads to frustration and inaccurate orders.”
One third of respondents said technology could remove some of the personalized service, but most would prefer to get their food faster than chit chat at the drive thru window. Some 70 percent of respondents said they want technologies like AI voice, personalized menus and apps to speed things along, despite whatever loss of hospitality.