Subway flaunts hot new 'bot'

Subway restaurants — all 26,500 of them in the U.S. — has launched a bot for Facebook Messenger that will take customers' orders. 

The automation move was announced earlier at the F8 Facebook Developer Conference with Agilitee, one of Subway’s digital partners. It's the most recent innovation to come out of the digital arm of the company created last year in hopes of making the chain a tech leader in fast food.

Via the "bots," guests can customize orders for everything from bread and cheese choices to vegetables and sauces. Any device that supports Messenger can be used for payment, as well. This is the most recent addition to the chain's mobile ordering offerings, including web and app ordering. 

Customers can access the bot via messenger's app or Subway's Facebook page. After hitting the "order now" button to begin their requests, the bot will ask for the user's location to find the closest Subway restaurant. The intelligent machine then guides the user through the process of selecting bread, cheese, vegetables and sauce, as well as drinks, cookies and chips.

Users can pay by either Facebook's payment system or Masterpass, a digital payment service from Mastercard. Orders are ready for pick up in 15 minutes or less.

"Our bot for Messenger was just deployed in more than 26,500 U.S. Subway restaurants- the largest deployments of a Messenger bot in the restaurant industry," Subway CIO and head of digital, Carman Wenkoff in a news release. "We’re proud to offer our guests an innovative new way to order and pay outside the restaurants. This is a new initiative in the on-going quest to enhance the guest experience.

The brand is also hiring more than 150 people for jobs supporting the brand’s omnichannel approach.

Topics: Business Strategy and Profitability, Digital Signage, Equipment & Supplies, Online Services, Operations Management, Self-Ordering Kiosks, Self Service, Systems / Technology

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