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On Facebook? Hungry? This Bot Can Help

The bot will help streamline online ordering for both restaurants and customers

Screenshot/AppFront

Chatting with a friend on Facebook Messenger? Don't feel like closing the app to open another app to order food? Soon, you won't have to. Less than two months ago Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced his company was adding bot capabilities to its Messenger program. This week, Order Bot hits the market. It's a new in-app program that enables people to place take-out or delivery orders through Facebook, according to Venture Beat.

Israel-based AppFront, which has a satellite office in Boston, created the bot, which syncs with a restaurant's point-of-service ordering system and connects to its Facebook business account. From there, restaurants can add an online menu for ordering. This information is accessible through Messenger.

The ordering bot automates feedback for customer questions and can provide personalized information to users. It's selling itself to businesses as a streamlined way to save on labor costs "while improving... service response time and quality," per AppFront's websiteB.Good, a chain that originated in Boston, is already on board with incorporating Order Bot into its business.

Automated ordering systems are catching on with businesses around the world. Taco Bell recently got on board with the launch of TacoBot for Slack, a real-time messaging app for companies, and Facebook jumped into the fray with a beta test of its new virtual assistant, M, which can book restaurant reservations and arrange Uber transport to the restaurants.