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Newk’s Eatery and kea Partner to Improve To-Go Ordering With AI Across 100 Locations

Already implemented in Newk’s corporate locations, kea has increased to-go check averages and improved hospitality on the phone and in the restaurant

San Francisco, CA, USA – WEBWIRE

Today kea announced its partnership with Newk’s Eatery, a fast-casual chain that operates and franchises 100 units in 16 states. Newk’s selected kea’s voice AI ordering system to operate the phone channel and further digitize its off-premise business, which accounts for a third of all orders since the pandemic. Kea currently operates in all of Newk’s corporate locations and is expanding into the franchise network in 2023.

“When callers can’t get through to a cashier, we risk upsetting loyal customers and losing a significant segment of our customer base,” said Adam Karveller, VP of Information Technology at Newk’s Eatery. “Not only that, if the phone is constantly ringing off the hook we also risk losing employees who are stressed and overwhelmed, compounding the labor shortage problem we already face.”

Newk’s turned to kea to support restaurant staff in answering phones. At one of the initial partner locations, kea had 3,048 orders placed over the course of 2 weeks. That’s 182 hours worth of phone calls that employees now get back to be present in the restaurant and focus on hospitality. With only 3 months into using kea, Newk’s had been able to cut costs by eliminating 50% of the phone lines in the restaurants.

“When we were looking at options for to-go ordering, we didn’t want a one-size-fits-all technology. We wanted a customer-centric solution that specialized in the phone channel,” said Mark Reedy, Vice President of Franchise Operations. “We found that kea was much more accurate and user-friendly than the other options, and based on the check averages going up, we know that it’s been more successful too.”

Using natural language processing, kea triages incoming calls, transcribes, upsells, and confirms orders. Using a PCI-compliant system, kea then processes the payment and sends orders to the restaurant POS. While natural language processing has improved significantly in the last 3 years, Newk’s clientele wasn’t used to talking to AI. Kea addresses this learning curve by ensuring there’s always a human in the loop in case customers need help or prefer to speak to someone directly.

Restaurants looking to improve their hospitality and operations can reach out to demo kea at

About kea

Kea is the cashier in the cloud that improves hospitality and scales restaurant operations through voice AI. Founded by CEO Adam Ahmad in 2018, the company boosts restaurant revenue by ensuring every call gets answered and every to-go order gets placed. Using natural language processing, kea customizes, upsells, and confirms orders, then processes payments through a PCI-compliant system. The company has raised $21M to date.

About Newk’s

Based in Jackson, Mississippi, Newk’s Eatery is a fast-casual chain that operates and franchises 100 units in 16 states. Founded in 2004 and named after Co-Founder Chris “Newk” Newcomb, Newk’s hand-preps more than 30 fresh ingredients daily for salads, sandwiches,soups and pizzas, all made in-house without fryers or microwaves. Its Signature Cakes are baked in Newk’s own bakery. Fresh grab-and-go options are also available, and Newk’s new mobile app, now available on Google Play and the App Store, offers mobile ordering for curbside, in-store pickup or delivery. In 2020, Newk’s ranked in Nation’s Restaurant News’ “Top 200 Countdown” and Restaurant Business’ Top 250 Chains. Newk’s has also been selected as a Top Food Franchise by Entrepreneur. In 2021, Newk’s was recognized in Nation’s Restaurant’s News as a “Top Scorer in Takeout Food Quality” and ranked among the highest “True Loyalty” scores – the percentages of respondents who said they visit because of a real desire to experience the brand, as opposed to convenience. For more information, visit, join Newk’s Rewards or follow Newk’s on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. For franchise information, visit


 Newk’s Eatery
 Restaurant Tech

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