Technology

SoundHound AI acquires restaurant-ordering marketplace Allset

The deal moves the company closer to its goal of bringing voice-enabled restaurant ordering to smart cars and TVs.
SoundHound wants to bring restaurant voice-ordering to smart TVs and other devices. | Photo: Shutterstock

AI voice company SoundHound has taken a big step toward allowing consumers to order food by speaking to their smart car or TV.

The company on Thursday announced that it is acquiring Allset, an online ordering provider and restaurant marketplace. Terms were not disclosed.

The deal will give SoundHound immediate access to the nearly 7,000 restaurants that use Allset. In the near-term, that will allow the company to sell those restaurants its AI voice ordering system, which can automate order-taking in the drive-thru, over the phone and more.

But it also marks a key step in SoundHound’s plan to create a “voice commerce ecosystem” that will allow customers to order food by speaking to cars, TVs and other devices that are embedded with SoundHound’s technology. 

Allset’s ordering software and marketplace expertise will provide some of the infrastructure needed to make that vision a reality. Its team, including co-founders Stas Matviyenko and Anna Polishchuk, is joining SoundHound as part of the acquisition. 

“Allset will help SoundHound bring voice AI solutions to even more restaurants looking to improve operational efficiency,” said SoundHound co-founder and CEO Kevyan Mohajer in a statement. “At the same time, the Allset team brings a wealth of marketplace experience and knowledge that will make our bigger vision of a voice commerce ecosystem a reality.”

Founded in 2015, Allset is similar to DoorDash or Uber Eats, but for pickup rather than delivery. Customers can use its app to order from restaurants in their area, and can earn up to 15% cash back on every order.

Restaurants pay a commission of 5%, plus a 2.9% processing fee, for orders placed through the Allset marketplace. 

Allset’s marketplace and ordering system will continue to operate as usual under SoundHound, according to a press release.

SoundHound is one of the largest suppliers of AI voice technology to restaurants with more than 10,000 active locations. It also provides AI voice systems for vehicles and smart devices such as TVs, thermostats and appliances. 

The deal comes amid growing interest in AI voice ordering in restaurants. The technology can help restaurants operate more efficiently by redeploying workers or using fewer human staff altogether. But questions remain about its ability to handle the complexities of the restaurant business. Earlier this week, McDonald’s said it plans to stop using drive-thru AI from IBM after about three years of testing.

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