Former restaurant franchisee owner & QSR consultant Derrick Johnson has partnered with solutions consultant Kabah Conda to launch Encounter AI, an artificial intelligence company aimed at improving the retail experience. Their first product, Mai, is a voice enabled ordering assistant that compiles customer’s orders instantly via mobile, on kiosk and at the drive-thru, freeing staff to focus on higher value tasks.

Mai is a comprehensive on-premise voice solution for restaurant and retailers. Inclusive to all ages and disability friendly, the tool integrates into a restaurants’ point of sale to not only take customer orders instantly, but to answer all of their questions - in the tone and style of the establishment’s choice. As it collects orders and has more conversations Mai becomes more intuitive, remembering customers preferences to offer them targeted products and promotions in the future.

Johnson conceptualized the solution after a stint as a restaurant owner and investor where he got a firsthand glimpse of the industries’ struggles with high staff turnover, skyrocketing labor costs and inconsistent customer experience.

“I saw first hand the operational struggles caused by restaurants being behind the times technologically,” says Johnson. “I wanted to develop solutions that gave restaurateurs a fighting chance.”

To further their mission of making restaurants more agile and profitable, Encounter has made the solution widely accessible by offering Mai in an assortment of point of sale systems including XPIENT, Oracle Micros, Par, Brink POS, Positouch, and Aloha.

“Our goal for the product is to expand from restaurants to retail,” adds Johnson. “Within 5 years we want to be the de-facto voice interface for on-premise commerce globally.”

To learn more or to schedule a demo of Mai, visit