Lisa Bowen-Dawes, the group’s senior digital product owner, said the fast food company’s Call The Colonel project had come out of wider work to improve its drive-thru experience.
It allows customers to call ahead and hear a recording of the menu, with key products and deals picked out. They can then place their order for collection on arrival.
The technology has helped ease anxiety at the speaker post as customer struggled to read the menu with a queue of cars behind, she said.
It will now become part of the online and app experience for UK customers, being rolled out in the first half of this year.
The Call The Colonel project is an example of the group’s “innovation sprints” – digital projects implemented and tested quickly in small sections of the estate with further progress based on customer reaction.
“We needed to shift away from thinking of ourselves as a quick-service bricks and mortar restaurant to the mindset of an e-commerce company,” said Bowen-Dawes at the conference, which is organised by Restaurant magazine and its sister title MCA.
“We needed to be more customer-focused and data driven.”
On the recommendations technology, she said: “We feel the game-changer is to build a recommendation engine that will ease the ordering experience for our customers in the drive-thru, via Alexa, online and via our app.”
“In the same way customers already experience recommendations on services like Netflix or Amazon.”