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This AI chat bot lets you have your cake(burger) and eat it too

Harshith Mallya
16th Apr 2016
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It’s no exaggeration to say you’ve got the whole world in your hands. That little ubiquitous device, your mobile phone, can take you places in seconds; it can also bring the world to you.

Niki, an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered chatbot, has launched an in-chat ordering feature for Burger King, in partnership with LimeTray. Through its platform, LimeTray helps restaurants run better by enabling online presence, facilitating better customer engagement and optimising processes at the outlet level.

YourStory-Niki-BurgerKing

Image credit- Getty images

The integration is currently live, with ordering enabled for all Burger King outlets in India.

Niki converses with customers to build the order, takes the address and the places the order through LimeTray-enabled technology. For a start, users will be able to chat with Niki to order either a veg combo or a non-veg combo and get special offers on the orders placed such as free burgers or cashbacks. Over time, the entire menu will be made available.

A first in India

As a global fast food chain, Burger King is estimated to be the first player in the Indian market to facilitate its order through chatting with a bot. Speaking of the development, Rajeev Varman, CEO Burger King India, puts it thus,

At Burger King, we strongly believe in the power of innovation and technology to reach out to the new-age customers. Online apps and mobile penetration have changed the way business is being done worldwide. We believe tech-enabled solutions will give us a chance to keep pace with the customers and extend our reach to newer consumer base.
YourStory-Niki-BurgerKing-2

Niki foresees tie-ups with more food outlets such as Mad Over Donuts, Sagar Ratna and other brands to engage with users and also fulfil orders through their platform. Says Shishir, co-founder of Niki.ai,

In our quest to make Niki a go-to destination (bot) for all ordering needs, we have redefined the food ordering experience by making it interactive for consumers over chat and this would also be beneficial to LimeTray in being the generator of new experiences in food ordering.

Intelligent sales assistant

yourstory-Niki
Niki.ai team

Currently going after a subset of the larger bot market, Niki’s vision is to simplify ordering experiences by building an intelligent sales assistant, which works through a simple chat interface. Founded in April 2015 by four IIT Kharagpur alumni – Sachin Jaiswal, Keshav Prawasi, Nitin Babel and Shishir Modi -- Niki was launched at YourStory’s TechSparks 2015 and was a part of the Tech30 2015. The startup had also raised seed funding from Unilazer Ventures to expand their service portfolio. Says Piyush Jain, co-founder of LimeTray,

This partnership (with niki.ai) is first step in giving more visibility to merchants and generate additional business by leveraging high-traffic consumer platforms. Moreover, chat being an upcoming transactional medium, this partnership made a lot of sense.

Related read from November 2015: Unilazer-backed Niki.ai is an AI-based chatbot that simplifies your cab bookings and mobile recharges


Elsewhere, Taco Bell in USA recently tied up with Slack to launch Tacobot, its own AI-powered chatbot, to facilitate orders.

In the past few years, mobile apps – a cash cow for developers -- have taken the world by storm, easing lives of end users. There seems to be an app for everything now, from finding your way from point A to B to managing your accounts to planning your travel. The market is so lucrative, by 2014, the mobile app industry (just iOS) had started generating more revenue than Hollywood’s U.S. box office revenues.

Apps to bots

But recent developments in the industry indicate winds of change. The high volume of apps and the need to switch between them constantly for different tasks make it difficult for users to remain productive. With messaging being the preferred mode of communication on smartphones, bot stores are on the verge of replacing app stores. At F8, its annual developer conference at Fort Mason in San Francisco, Facebook announced the beta launch of its messenger bot platform. It stated,

We’re excited to introduce bots for the Messenger Platform. Bots can provide anything from automated subscription content like weather and traffic updates, to customised communications like receipts, shipping notifications, and live automated messages all by interacting directly with the people who want to get them.

Related read: Are ‘Bot Stores’ going to be the new ‘App Stores’?


Across sectors

As stated earlier, there are a wide variety of applications for AI-powered chatbots in different sectors. San Francisco-based Chatfuel is an interesting player in this space and helps businesses create chatbots across different platforms. Currently active only on Telegram, the startup plans to launch similar services for other platforms like Slack, Messenger and WhatsApp. x.ai, which leverages AI to automatically schedule meetings at the best possible time for two parties involved, recently raised a $23 million Series B round of funding from Two Sigma Ventures.

Check out- Niki.ai 


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