Smart Technology

5 ways AI phone answering can make your restaurant more efficient

As the hospitality industry continues to evolve with new technologies, the emergence of AI phone answering has proven to be game-changing at helping restaurants consistently answer phone calls without heavily relying on their staff. In this blog post, we dive into some of the biggest ways AI Answering has benefited restaurants and feature testimonials from owners and operators that have already implemented the tool into their business.

Say “Hello!” to more peace of mind

In an industry already grappling with a labor shortage, the last thing you need is to burden your staff with juggling in-person guests and a phone ringing off the hook. By filtering out spam calls, providing answers to simple questions, and sending guests links to place an order online or make a reservation, AI Answering resolves a large percentage of calls coming into restaurants and alleviates the pressure staff might feel from non-stop phone calls.

For Teppan Steakhouse, AI Answering has resolved 78% of incoming calls without pulling a staff member. Of that, over half of those calls were inquiries on placing an online order or making a reservation. “Everyone on our team is doing more than one job and we're getting called for some of the most simple questions,” said owner, Timothy Chu. “Answering being there to filter those questions and make sure the calls that do come through are genuine needs, it makes answering the phone more worthwhile.” 

Couldn’t you have googled that?

We’ve all been there. A guest calls asking for basic information about your restaurant and it takes all the willpower in the world not to reply with “Couldn’t you have found that on Google?” Fortunately, simple questions like that are AI Answering’s bread-and-butter. By integrating with your Google Business Profile, the tool pulls answers to questions like “What are your hours this weekend” or “Where are you located?” and automatically gives guests the answers they’re seeking.

This has helped restaurant owners become more efficient in communicating with guests and frees up time for staff to focus on more meaningful tasks. Martin Bekkedal, VP of Operations for Burrito Gallery, detailed “[Popmenu Answering] has saved about 104 hours of time. That’s 104 hours that we’ve had someone doing something more impactful to the business than answering the phone and saying ‘yes, we’re open until ten o'clock'.”

More money, fewer problems

When dealing with hungry diners, missed opportunities can cost your restaurant money. In fact, according to our survey of over 1,000 consumers in 2023, nearly half (49%) said a restaurant not answering the phone dissuades them from dining at or ordering from a restaurant. With AI Answering, there’s no need to worry about missed connections; guests are sent a relevant link when looking to place an online order or make a reservation.

In addition to capturing revenue for your restaurant that might have otherwise been missed, having guests fill out this information themselves means more accurate information capture. John Nye, owner of The Deck, said “I love the ability to send people the links to help them, help themselves. Sending them the link to that reservation or the menu so they can put in that special request and put in their credit card removes the user error that can come up with those opportunities.” 

Flexibility is key

Not every restaurant is the same, and AI Answering provides the flexibility to capture the unique features that make your business stand out. Using custom responses, you can edit the reply given to guests based on certain questions. Whether you’re making parking recommendations or you’ve got an upcoming event or special you want to promote, Answering can let you shape every interaction to better align with your restaurant’s identity.

Remember that Google Business Profile integration we mentioned earlier? It also makes it easier for Answering to update information about your restaurant by reducing the number of places you need to make changes. Alex Au-Yeung, Owner & Chef at Phat Eatery, shared “I love that Answering syncs with Google and online ordering. When we closed for a couple of days, it caught that change and informed our guests as they called the restaurant. We don’t miss a beat.” 

Bringing a whole new meaning to phone numbers

Solely having staff answering phone calls means your restaurant could have valuable data and insights being lost in your phone line. AI Answering provides restaurant owners with access to a wealth of information that can help improve business performance. For instance, identifying the most popular call topics enables owners to strategically place custom responses, effectively promoting upcoming events or specials. By tracking the total number of calls per week, owners can accurately calculate the time saved for their staff. It analyzes common call outcomes and helps pinpoint information gaps on the restaurant's website, allowing for improved guest accessibility. Additionally, because AI Answering can send links to place online orders, the restaurant can automatically capture more information on guest preferences.

Kaitlyn Kolacy, Director of Operations for GIOIA Pizzeria, shared “If we answer a call where someone is asking if we’re open or closed, that could mean we’re missing a $200 sale on the other line. [With Popmenu AI Answering], we can direct people to online ordering, collect their contact information, and continue to fill out a profile on them. It saves us labor and it saves us time.”

Interested in seeing AI Answering in action? Check out this demo!

Front of the House Resource

Answer The Call

Your restaurants guests are calling. Are you answering? Prevent lost revenue opportunities. Provide immediate answers to your guests’ questions, helping them decide if they want to dine with you, and ensuring they aren't neglected in their first interactions with you. Reduces stress on your team. Allow them to focus on delivering hospitality for on-premise guests. Please your guests, your team, and still drive revenue.

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