Technology is shaking up the restaurant industry, with operators increasingly turning to innovative solutions to boost efficiency and customer satisfaction. Voice AI has emerged as a key tool in this evolution, streamlining operations and keeping restaurants competitive.
Voice AI fosters seamless customer interactions and automation of routine tasks. This frees staff for more complex responsibilities while enhancing the dining experience. Voice-activated systems let customers place orders, customize preferences and receive recommendations with ease. Beyond the front of house, voice AI optimizes backend operations like inventory management and order processing, driving cost reductions and efficiency gains.
As demand for dining experiences continues to rise, particularly in the fast-paced world of food delivery and takeout, voice AI becomes a strategic asset. It helps restaurants not only meet but exceed customer expectations in an increasingly digital and competitive marketplace.
In a step to be a preeminent U.S. provider of voice AI for restaurants, SoundHound AI, a provider in voice AI, announced a definitive merger agreement to acquire SYNQ3 Restaurant Solutions, a provider of voice AI and other technology solutions to the restaurant industry.
The deal will extend SoundHound’s market reach to over 10,000 signed locations and accelerating the deployment of leading-edge generative AI capabilities to the industry. SYNQ3 will add large brands spanning drive-thru, fast casual, casual segments and convenience stores to SoundHound’s growing customer base – bringing the total to more than 25 national and multinational chains.
The merger will also bring a broad suite of AI products to offer SYNQ3’s established customer base additional value-added services, including Dynamic Interaction, Smart Answering and Employee Assist.
Dynamic Interaction, for example, ensures seamless and real-time communication by capturing fluent speech without awkward pauses. It selectively responds to domain-specific topics, such as menu items, while providing continuous feedback through audio and visuals to confirm accurate understanding of customer requests.
Smart Answering uses generative AI to read and integrate company website information to update its AI Knowledge Base. It then uses speech recognition and natural language understanding to give tailored, conversational responses to customer phone queries. Employee Assist supports restaurant employees by allowing them to instantly learn critical information about operations without having to reach for a manual or distract another busy member of staff.
“SoundHound AI and SYNQ3 will provide our restaurant partners with a formidable voice solution that we believe significantly surpasses the competition,” said Steve Bigari, CEO and co-founder of SYNQ3. “Our businesses are highly complementary, with both AI and industry expertise at the core of who we are. Together, we plan to capitalize on those synergies to provide best-in-class AI ordering methodologies backed by the largest library of restaurant AI orders in the world.”
Other business benefits from the merger include enhanced AI models using data from over 50 million interactions to strengthen product performance, omnichannel voice and conversational AI offerings that allow restaurants to engage across multiple touchpoints and an acceleration of SoundHound’s monetization strategy via voice-enabled food and drink ordering in millions of cars, TVs and IoT devices.
“Restaurant operators are turning to technology en masse, and voice AI is now playing a key role in helping them drive sales, reduce costs and alleviate the burden of increasing demand on their employees,” said Keyvan Mohajer, CEO and co-founder of SoundHound AI.
SoundHound is expected to pay a total consideration of $25 million. Over the next three years, based on certain revenue targets being achieved, up to $4 million of additional consideration could be realized. The aggregate consideration payable to stockholders of SYNQ3 consists of approximately 20% in cash and approximately 80% in shares of SoundHound’s Class A common stock.
The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2024.
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