Imagine this - everything is about voice

I remember way back in 2009, when FohBoh was in its early days, meeting a Silicon Valley engineer/entrepreneur who changed my professional life. He showed me an early but working version of a targeted media aggregation tool. It was not a beautiful UI. But, the functionality and use cases blew my mind. It pre-dated most of the sophisticated social media monitoring and management systems and dashboards many of us use today. But, all I could think about during and after that meeting was how could I get my hands on this and productize it for the restaurant industry? Social media monitoring and related insights would be a must have for every restaurant in the world. And, they are.

I remember watching a television commercial showing a young, good looking Las Vegas casino owner eating a sloppy Carl's Jr. hamburger and chasing it down with a glass of full-bodied red wine. There was of course, a seductive, attractive and well dressed woman behind him. Combined, this scene glorified the simple pleasures of a great burger and the elegance of a paired glass of wine. And, what a paring: Burger + wine + glamor, the epitome of casual elegance...and maybe even a small bit of decadence. What could be better? Well, add a celebrity chef to bring it all together and bam, new food concept category was born. I knew this was going to happen. I even floated a proposal by a celebrity chef just to make sure my instincts were tuned in.

I feel the same way about voice as the original user interface, the most natural interface. Without going into all the reasons why and cite metrics, like "we speak at 140 words per min and can only type 60", and smart speakers like Amazon's Echo-Alexa, are "highly likely to realize fast user adoption than the smartphone", etc, I believe conversational commerce, restaurant AI, conversational UI, etc., will be game changing for this industry and grocery and retail, the airlines and hotels. I feel the same hair-raising, visceral nod to voice as what's coming next. The same confidence and excitement that I had with social media in 2009, gourmet hamburger and chefs, I have with voice. Add automation and all this implies, and I see game changing opportunity that I refuse to miss out on. And, I'm not the only one. A private equity investor said recently, that he remains convinced that "voice ordering is the next big thing in restaurant technology". I agree.

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