Artificial Intelligence vs Human Touch: The Dilemma for Food Delivery Platforms

A futuristic cityscape at sunset, glowing with warm pink and orange hues. In the forefront, a restaurant brightly radiating with neon lights. An AI robot and human figure stand side-by-side, engaged in delivering diverse cuisines, creating a scene of harmony yet a subtle tension. Diffused glow behind to represent uncertain future in food delivery.

Food delivery service, DoorDash, is stepping into the future, with the incorporation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in its customer service system. Overwhelmed staff in-house have often left about 50% of customer calls unanswered, and with 20% of customers preferring to order via phone, this translates to substantial unrealized gains for restaurants. However, the embracing of AI in its platform signals a change in the scheme of things.

This AI-powered voice ordering service is set to take consumer phone calls at selected outlets. An intriguing feature however, of DoorDash’s system, is its human and AI operator blend, aimed at ensuring that customer calls are promptly answered. This hands-off approach to customer ordering might seem futuristic and efficient, but its actual execution and customer reception remain questionable.

While the technology promises to potentially provide a more personalized experience fuelled by multiple language capabilities, one cannot help but ask if the AI can mimic the human touch and intuitiveness in customer service. Indeed, AI’s potential for error and unresponsiveness cannot be ignored, and there is also an incredibly high standard to meet when it comes to quickly adapting to multiple languages.

On the flip side, AI’s emergence in the food delivery sector is not an isolated incident. Wendy’s also announced its introduction of an AI-powered chatbot to take drive-thru orders earlier this year. It is clear that AI is causing a significant shift in the way food delivery services operate, with a 34% increase in customers turning to these third-party apps, a figure that has more than doubled compared to last year.

According to the 2023 Restaurant Online Ordering Trends report from DoorDash, they anticipate an increase in overall sales due to AI’s ability to provide potential meal recommendations for customers. However, the question remains, will customers prefer an AI’s suggestions to that of a restaurant’s staff?

In this rapidly changing world, there’s a significant push for technology-forward solutions, but the balance between efficient tech and the human touch may prove to be a delicate one for DoorDash. As the dust settles on their latest inclusion of AI, only time will tell if their ambitious venture will pay off or lead to a reevaluation of human-AI collaboration within customer service.

Source: Cointelegraph

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