Jet’s Pizza has also experimented with phone AI systems, a resource implemented by some of the largest players in the space. A robotic voice walks customers through prompts and translates their order using the same AI engine as text ordering. Jet’s Pizza started pushing phone ordering in summer 2021 and then conducted a pilot with about 70 franchisees. Then in March, the technology was “mathematically blessed,” Nilsson says, and it's now used in about 70 percent of restaurants.
An extension of the AI technology is that it can handle large group and party orders. If a consumer is using text ordering or pro-ordering, they can simply type “party for 28,” and the system will respond with the proper number of pizzas, sides, and drinks. Nilsson says someone could pay for $500 worth of food meant for 50 people in just 15 seconds. The engine is smart enough to distinguish choices, like “kids party" for children portions, “pizza party” if one doesn’t want sides, or "loaded party” for someone that wants the best of everything.
Nilsson doesn’t have data points to prove what demographics use the AI technology, but anecdotally, he’s heard about all ages using it, even from his own family.
“There's not a limitation for this relatively cool and advanced piece of artificial intelligence technology for a 70-year-old person like my mom to order stuff,” Nilsson says. “I think it is ubiquitously enjoyable. My 70-year-old mom and my 12-year-old daughter both used the technology and have no complaints.”
The executive credits Jet’s Pizza founder John Jetts—who has spent almost 45 years maintaining tradition—for allowing the tech initiatives to move forward. Nilsson says a lot of trust is involved when leaning into this type of innovation, but the rewards are plenty. He views it as a “really cool turning point” in the age-old story of restaurants.
Jet’s Pizza certainly isn’t stopping anytime soon.
“We're very excited about the future because we've done the work that gets our culture ready to innovate,” Nilsson says. “I think right now there's a bunch of restaurants out there that are scared to spend the money and time and energy to hire the right people to do things with AI. And I'm really proud of our organization for having leaned in. And the financial benefits are reaping every single day.”
“We're getting a ton of benefit out of this thing,” he adds. “There's companies out there that are just optimizing and are too scared to jump into new tech. And as a competitor of theirs, I say thanks. Stay out because in here, it's nice and warm and comfortable with a bunch of really good deals because of cool technology."