Could Facebook Messenger Bots Change How We Order Food?

You want fries with that? Later this year, a bot in Facebook Messenger will be able to ask you questions like that (probably phrased a bit more politely) when you make an order at places like Burger King. The technology is being discussed this week at Facebook's F8 conference.

Up to this point, Messenger has been largely limited to individual users. Brands, meanwhile, have had dedicated pages and been able to invade your news feed through advertisements but not reach you directly through messaging. That's changing.

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Burger King's digital president, Steven Greenwood, says in a Medium post that Restaurant Brands International, the parent company of Burger King and Tim Hortons, has been working on the technology over the last few months. The move will allow the company "to interact with our guests where they are, when they need us, in the most natural conversational way," he writes.

Adding: "The winners in the restaurant industry will be determined by whatever company best uses software to give guests what they want—to be engaged in an authentic way through technology."

Facebook already allows Uber users to hail a car through Messenger, and you can chat with someone from the airline KLM (though not book a ticket). Facebook isn't the only company sitting at the table. A program called Kik Messenger, as Forbes points out, has been doing something similar for more than a year, allowing users to place orders for meals at restaurants without interacting with a sales clerk.

Which brands (besides the King) will sign on to Facebook's new program? We'll have to wait and see. In the meantime, yes, we'd like some fries with that.