In what is a first in the restaurant industry, Dallas-based Wingstop Inc. has created an Alexa skill that will give Amazon Alexa on Echo devices access to full-menu voice-activated customized ordering from any of the company’s 949 restaurants across America.
Amazon Alexa can already make restaurant orders for Prime members if they’ve ordered from that restaurant before, but until now, customizable orders haven’t been possible. That’s just changed because Wingstop is pushing its digital ordering agenda to boost its top line using Amazon Echo owners.
In a statement issued yesterday, the CIO of Wingstop Inc., Stacy Peterson, said:
“Wingstop is digitally driven, and the launch of voice-activated ordering is the next step in our commitment to providing the most convenient, engaging and cutting-edge brand experience for our fans”
According to the statement, Wingstop already gets nearly a fifth of its orders over digital channels. The integration with Amazon Alexa should help them increase that percentage over time.
To use the facility, Amazon Echo customers need to enable the skill on their smartphone’s Alexa App and then link it to their Wingstop account. Once that’s done, they can further customize their experience by adding order locations, managing favorites and even saving payment information for future orders.
The level of customization is what’s unique because, with Amazon Restaurants, the customer can only re-order based on a particular past order. In the case of the new Wingstop skill, they can still re-order and create favorites, but they can also customize their flavors, dips and sides.
Amazon Alexa’s Director, Rob Pulciani, says:
“We’re thrilled to be working with Wingstop to launch the first full-menu voice-activated ordering functionality, allowing customers to avoid the line by ordering through Alexa.”
This could be the first in a long line of skill additions from restaurants for Amazon Alexa. If the Wingstop initiative is successful, other restaurant chains will definitely follow suit. For large restaurant chains, this could be quite a lucrative add-on to their existing digital channels for ordering. The more touch points they create for their customers, the more likely those customers will tend to keep coming back for more.
One question arises, though. Will the popularization of such direct integration with restaurants’ digital ordering channels cannibalize Amazon Restaurants, eventually making this counter-intuitive for Amazon?
Not really, because Amazon Restaurants is a free one-hour delivery service for Amazon Prime customers offered under the Prime Now umbrella, which also includes free two-hour delivery for essential household items, gifts and so on. It also works though a different channel, the Prime Now app.
What could happen, once Amazon Alexa spreads through the restaurant industry, is take a load off Amazon’s delivery infrastructure that’s required to operate Prime Now. With the Alexa App method, the restaurant is going to handle the delivery part, with Alexa merely being involved in order-taking rather than the entire process of order-to-delivery.
On the whole, it seems like a good move for Amazon, not to mention that it now gives Wingstop the ability to leverage the nearly 6 million Amazon Echo device owners across the country by giving them voice access to their menu items in a customizable format.
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