Jersey Mike's gives artificial intelligence a try

The sub-sandwich chain is testing a system that fields phoned-in takeout orders and provides information about the menu and store.
Jersey Mike's
Fifty stores have installed the technology. | Photo: Shutterstock

The Jersey Mike’s Subs chain has outfitted 50 units with an artificial intelligence system that enables patrons to phone in takeout orders without talking to a human, according to the supplier, SoundHound AI.

In addition to placing orders, users can ask the system for information they might have otherwise sought from staff members, including details about specials, whether parking is available and if a product is allergen-free.

The technology can handle all the calls coming into a store, and is capable of fielding multiple orders simultaneously, SoundHound said. It asserts that fewer mistakes are made in taking orders via the system because the chance of human error is eliminated.

The stated objective is to free staff members from the distraction of taking to-go orders so the employees can focus on serving in-store patrons.

A typical Jersey Mike’s order can be complicated, with variables ranging from the type and size of the bread used to how the sandwich is garnished.

Neither party revealed the cost of the installation, which Jersey Mike’s termed a “pilot,” or how the deal is structured.

The fast-growing sandwich chain is the latest restaurant brand to give artificial intelligence or machine learning a try. A number of major brands, from Checkers to White Castle, are experimenting with the technology in their drive-thrus.

The chain currently extends to 3,000 locations. It just announced an agreement to develop 300 stores in Canada, the brand’s first major expansion beyond the United States.

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