Startups

The US drive-thru restaurant franchise Checkers & Rally’s closed a multimillion-dollar deal with Israeli startup Hi Auto and purchased its AI-based speech recognition software.  The restaurant chain announced that it was implementing the technology in all the company-operated stores and most of the franchised locations.  Hi Auto’s technology will enable Checkers & Rally’s customers to place their orders through an automated speech recognition system that reportedly has a 95% accuracy rate. The system is capable of recording changes in the order during conversations with customers and understands complex menus and even half-sentences.  In short, the solution acts as the perfect employee who does not grow weary, never misses a day of work, is always polite, and never forgets to suggest upsells. The system helps solve the labor shortage problem in the US restaurant industry, which loses hundreds of thousands of employees each month. When compared to human employees, the software is able to take orders faster and handle more customers simultaneously without any errors. The move is seen as a strategic one by Checkers & Rally’s, which has been struggling in recent years to keep up with the likes of major chains such as Wendy’s, Burger King, and Jack in the Box.  Along with investing in restaurant POS systems that streamline order management, Checkers & Rally's has also been upgrading its mobile app. The goal is to make it easier for customers to order and pay ahead without having to wait in line for the cash register. The deal is also a major achievement for Hi Auto, which was founded in 2019 by Zohar Zisapel and has raised $8 million to date. The company will now be able to scale its operations and widen its presence in the US market with one of the biggest fast-food companies as its client.

By Julija A. March 18,2022