Domino’s testing artificial intelligence for phone orders

The system uses voice recognition to take orders and answer questions.

Domino’s Pizza is bringing an Alexa-like application to its phone orders.

The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based pizza chain on Monday announced the test of a voice recognition application, using artificial intelligence, at 20 of its U.S. locations. The test is expected to be expanded into other stores in the coming months, and is based on the digital ordering assistant, called DOM, launched in its mobile app in 2014.

“We believe natural voice recognition is the future, as seen by the rise in virtual assistants, such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home,” CEO Patrick Doyle said in a statement. “More importantly, artificial intelligence provides great learning platforms that will enable us to deliver convenience for our customers and better job experiences for our team members.”

Domino’s is intent on generating all 100% of its orders through digital channels. At the moment, about two-thirds of its orders come through digital.

But many consumers still prefer the old-fashioned telephone. “While many of our orders come via digital platforms, there are still millions of customers who like to call in their orders directly to their local stores,” Chief Digital Officer Dennis Maloney said in a statement.

Finding a solution to phone orders has been considered key for the pizza business for years, because the orders can distract staff who are otherwise making pizzas or taking other orders.

DOM was first tested in phoned-in carryout orders in a few company stores. Initial response was “positive,” the company said. “Store team members like DOM,” Nicole Prokopczyk, Domino’s manager of corporate operations in Virginia, said in a statement. “They are focusing on providing better service to in-store customers while our pizza makers are concentrating on what they do best.”

The program also helps customers whose orders are in process. Some calls to stores are from customers who have already ordered, and based on the number, the program can determine if the call is new or a follow-up.

“If it’s a follow-up call, DOM will act as a version of Domino’s Tracker and provide customers with the information they’re looking for,” Maloney said.

The voice recognition test follows the introduction last week of the Hotspots program, which enables delivery to 150,000 locations without traditional addresses using Domino’s AnyWare technology.

The company also promised further technology plans for in-store orders in the future. “With DOM on the phones, our AnyWare ordering technology and plans we have for future in-store technology, our goal is to one day be 100% digital,” Doyle said.

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