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19 & 20 November 2019



The Chat Bot Revolution, Is Your Restaurant’s Ordering System Ready?

When Uber’s Developer and hashtag inventor Chris Messina called 2016 ‘the year of the chat bots’ it caught our attention. It suggested something we had felt for a while, that we are past the era of standalone mobile apps which just sit on your phone or tablet.

With the introduction of the Facebook Messenger Platform back in April, it was clear that  ‘Conversational commerce’ was not just another buzz term of the moment. With over 900 million Messenger users, this opened up a maelstrom of possibilities for the consumer - business interaction and also an opportunity for a revolution in the restaurant world.

Welcome to the post-app era

At OrderCity we’re all about online ordering for restaurants. For us, the role of chat bots is simple; use an app that is already present on your phone (and which you are very familiar with) to order a takeaway from your favorite restaurant, as if you were chatting to a real person.

The benefits are mutual. For the restaurant’s customer, there’s no need to download and maintain the updating of an individual app, or learn a new user interface. For the restaurant, the cost is significantly lower as there’s no need to develop and promote their own app. Also, using a platform such as Messenger helps in reaching a wider consumer base.

Messaging services like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger have overtaken social media platforms and part of the reason for this is their simplicity. Research is showing that we are using fewer apps. In fact, figures suggest that 84% of the time we spend on our smart devices, is on just five apps which we have downloaded from the App Store. Thus developers are having difficulty coaxing users away from their core apps.

Add a human touch

A chat bot can also allow your customers to have the unfettered support and personal response that a standalone app is hardly able to give. The more human response can serve as a beneficial way of ensuring customers feel as valued as they would in the physical establishment. The communication between a chat bot and a user is also more likely to advance naturally unlike conventional interfaces. This means that your customers are more likely to stay for longer to interact, which results in more business, and more awareness of your company. 

Where do we go from here?

The market is beginning to understand the power of utilizing a chat bot over a standalone app, and we’re only at the starting point of their adoption. With the big hitters in the takeaway arena, Pizza Hut and Dominos both adopting chat bots, the indications are good that this will pave the way for a sector-wide adoption. The ongoing shift in chat bots and messaging platforms is illustrating the burgeoning inclination toward a more conversational UI using voice and textual response instead of the graphical user interfaces of menus, and icons. So in this post-app era of intuitive technology, it could mean that paying for the privilege of having your own app will not only be outdated but also detrimental to your business. 

It’s predicted that the market will start to get saturated in the next year but for now, the cost of adopting the chat bot technology is much lower, so an early investment can ensure that you can reach your customer more quickly and simultaneously save money. 

Let’s talk bots

Make sure to come meet us at Restaurant Tech Live in London on September 27-28th (stand 1206) and discuss how chat bots can help your restaurant grow.