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Israeli speech recognition Hi Auto enters multimillion-dollar deal with US food operator Checkers

Hi Auto is the first virtual assistant based on AI speech recognition technology to collect orders from drivers

Hi Auto is the first virtual assistant
Hi Auto is the first virtual assistant for drive-thru restaurants / CEO Roy Baharav

Checkers & Rally’s, an American drive-thru restaurant franchise, has implemented the speech recognition technology developed by Israeli startup Hi Auto.

The Tel Aviv-based company’s solution enables fast-food restaurants to accept orders from virtual assistant which is a human voice artificial intelligence technology that comprehends its contents, offers additions and upgrades (upsell), and sends the order to the kitchen.

The virtual assistant comprehends complex menus, recognizes the customer’s half-sentences and several specific requests, and keeps track of the customer’s order modifications during the dialogue. It is 95% accurate.

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Hi Auto operates on a SaaS model, and the deal will bring the company millions of dollars in revenue.

Two of the top ten fast-food chains in the United States are conducting advanced pilots to evaluate Hi Auto’s solution for automated voice ordering. The US fast food market is estimated to be over $300 billion, and restaurants with drive-thru lanes account for up to 80% of total revenue.

Hi Auto for drive-thru restaurant

Checkers & Rally’s will implement the technology in all their 900 branches all over the U.Slocations.

Founded in 2019 by serial entrepreneur Zohar Zisapel, an executive chairman and investor in the company, CEO Roy Baharav, and CTO Eyal Shapira, Hi Auto has raised $8 million and is currently planning for a Series A fundraising round in 2022. The company employs 40 people, the majority of whom work at its Tel Aviv development center

The system effectively performs the role of an exceptional employee, who never tires, is always on time, is always pleasant, and never forgets to propose upsells. Not only does the technology assist in resolving the labor shortage crisis facing the US restaurant sector, which is losing hundreds of thousands of workers each month, but it also significantly enhances restaurant performance when compared to a human employee. For example, employee recordings revealed that they offer upsells on approximately 10% of sales, whereas the system does so on almost 70% of orders. Due to the fact that restaurants’ cost structures are mostly constituted of fixed costs, this shift has an immediate impact on the bottom line.

“Hi Auto is the first virtual assistant in the world that is being deployed at scale by Quick Service chains.” Roy Baharav, CEO of Hi Auto, says. “The solution that we developed reduces the load and dependence on personnel by taking orders automatically and helps overcome the shortage of about 1.5 million workers in the US, which has adversely affected the industry in the past two years. In the future, the virtual assistant will improve all restaurant sales processes.”

Baharav adds, “Routine, low-paid work under pressure causes high turnover of workers and a constant race in hiring and training. In the current crisis, owners are unable to man restaurants with the minimum number of workers needed and have to close early or shut down completely. Chains are now dreaming of building restaurants that are based on a smaller number of employees who receive a higher salary and stay diligent over time, and we can help them make this dream come true.”



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