Smart Technology

5 ways AI can make answering the phone for your restaurant more efficient

As the hospitality industry continues to evolve with new technologies, the emergence of artificial intelligence answering  phones has proven to be game-changing at helping restaurants consistently answer 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 the midst of a staffing shortage, the last thing any restaurant needs is their limited staff facing constant distraction from a phone ringing off the hook. By filtering out spam calls, providing answers to simple questions, and texting guests links to place an online order or make a reservation, artificial intelligence resolves a large percentage of calls. As a result, restaurant employees have been able to focus on more pressing tasks, like providing great hospitality to on-premise customers.

For Poppy’s Pizza & Grill, their AI-powered phones resolved over 3,600 calls in a three months—almost 40 calls a day! Now, the restaurant no longer has to train their staff on an extensive script when customers call in. Instead, they can draft their own responses for the AI to use, ensuring every customer that calls gets a high-quality experience. “When you’re on the phone and you have a line of people in front of you, you have to be quick and abbreviate.” shared owner, Rob Pieper. “So, when my wife and I were typing up the responses, we could say what we wanted to say and feel confident we communicated properly with out guests. It was kind of fun to set up.

Couldn’t you have googled that?

Let’s be honest, we’ve all wanted to say it. When a guest calls asking for basic information about your restaurant it can take all of the willpower in the world to not reply with “Couldn’t you have found that online?”. Fortunately, answering simple questions is exactly what AI phone answering was designed for. It pulls information from your Google Business Profile and website to provide accurate answers to questions like “When are you open?” or “Do you have patio dining?”.

This has saved restaurants hundreds of labor hours—and it improves the work experience for staff as well. Burrito Gallery’s VP of Operations, Martin Bekkedal detailed “[AI Answering] has saved about 260 hours of time. That’s 260 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, nearly half (49%) of consumers said they are less likely to dine at a restaurant if their calls aren’t answered. Because AI Answering automatically fields every call, restaurant no longer have to worry about missed connections. Even if a diner wants to place an online order or secure a reservation, the tool can send guests a link so they can fill out the information themselves—making for speedy service with less room for human error.

Local’s Pub & Pizzeria learned just how many sales they were losing to missed calls when they implemented AI Answering. In their first three months with the solution, they saw online sales increase by 132%! General Manager, Samuel Smith, said,  “AI Answering is a really tremendous asset. Before we got it, we had a lot of missed calls—and a lot of missed sales because of that. What AI Answering has done is free up the personnel to run the food to the tables, take the food to the to-go counter, and better interact with the customer. And it’s really helped in all aspects.”

Flexibility is key

The only constant in restaurants is change, and AI Answering’s integration with your website and Google Business Profile ensure accurate information guests regardless of the situation. For example, if you update your hours of operation on your website, the AI tool automatically captures that change and communicates it to guests. 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 improves business performance. For instance, identifying the most popular call topics enables owners to strategically place custom responses to effectively promote upcoming events or specials. By tracking the total number of calls per week, owners can accurately calculate the time (and money!) 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? Schedule a demo with one of our experts to learn how it can help your restaurant!

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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