The dining equivalent of Alexander Graham Bell’s 1915 first phone call took place in early August of this year when Ashley uttered the words, “Alexa, Tell Hideaway Pizza I want an ‘ATW pizza’ and a lemonade.” Less than half an hour later, she was lost in cheesy pepperoni and sausage bliss.

The customers of four Hideaway locations (Edmond, Northwest Expressway, West Memorial and Norman) can now quickly and conveniently order from their homes, offices or mobile devices without having to dial a number or wait on hold.

The service is provided by Vocinate, a tech startup that makes it easy and affordable for restaurants to launch their own branded ‘smart speaker’ skills that leverage the power of voice to make their take-out and delivery business more efficient, profitable and fun.

Vocinate empowers restaurant customers to conveniently order by voice using Amazon’s Alexa (or, soon, Google Home) with all order information flowing instantly and automatically into their favorite restaurants’ point-of-sale (POS) systems and kitchen order printers. From there, each order is processed as it would from any other channel. In addition to offering customer convenience, the service enables restaurant operators to reduce order errors and move employees from working the phones to higher value tasks.

Voice computing and ‘smart speakers’ are rapidly becoming an important channel for shopping and information. Within next three years, it is expected that AI assistants will be in over 55% of US homes and will drive over $40 billion in annual sales.

With the massive migration of restaurant ordering and engagement to digital channels, voice ordering will represent an important form of commerce for eateries that do a significant volume of off-premise (takeout and delivery) business.

Vocinate’s Chief Of Engineering, Jordan Austin commented, “Hideaway Pizza has been an amazing beta client. Every step of the way they’ve provided us with the feedback that ensures our service meets the needs of those working on the front lines of the food service industry.”

Brent Gardner, Hideaway Pizza’s IT Director and Development Lead, noted that “Vocinate’s voice ordering platform hooks up directly to our backend systems and gives our franchise a ‘cool factor’ that’s pretty important when competing with the big chains. Their system actually has more features than the Domino’s app. Vocinate figured out how to deliver the holy grail: AI that can understand and process ‘build your own’ pizza orders. Just as important, their pricing model is affordable and doesn’t penalize us for success.”

In order to link customers’ voice commands to restaurants’ back-end systems, Vocinate connects its service to a variety of POS platforms; either via direct partnerships or by means of its existing relationship with POS middleware service, Omnivore.io.

The Hideaway Pizza skill for Amazon Alexa powered by Vocinate can be found in the Amazon Alexa app (iOS | Android) or on Amazon.com. To learn more about Vocinate’s service, watch this explainer video.