How AI Prediction Can Deliver Increased Value for Restaurants

Christine Antonelli
Apr 22, 2021 9:01:00 AM

As labor challenges in the industry continue in what is an already high-turnover category, delivering a great customer experience is becoming increasingly difficult and costly. More and more, restaurants are exploring AI solutions for relief.

AI solutions can be used in both back-office or customer-facing functions to improve the customer experience and manage skyrocketing costs.

Embedding AI into your operations

Some of the software solutions you’re currently using – think point of sale (PoS) systems and back-office solutions like scheduling– contain a goldmine of insights that can be used to help run your restaurant more efficiently.

Adding AI into the mix is not the sci-fi leap that pop culture has led us to imagine – in fact, it is much simpler than that. Essentially, a real-time data platform ingests data provided from a PoS terminal or other employee and customer interfaces and then different models and algorithms are employed to create a deeper understanding of your business performance.

In a nutshell, we’re talking about processing billions of data points, in real-time. Once this information is collected and analyzed, the software works to identify common patterns and trends. These metrics are combined into easily digestible scores and indicators, and then aggregated into a customized dashboard for interpretation and action by management.

How will AI work with existing restaurant technology?

AI allows restaurants to retake control of the customer experience and earn customers’ loyalty by automating the ordering process through traditional channels like phone, drive-thru, mobile, and online. Moreover, advancements in conversational AI and speech recognition technology have made it possible to process complex, messy and unconstrained language used by customers while placing orders.

By minimizing the multi-tasking occurring in the restaurant, orders can get placed more efficiently allowing restaurant employees to focus on the customer experience.

Applications of AI in the food industry are generally categorized by the following:

  • Apps and chatbots: Restaurants use virtual assistants to answer customer queries and to place customer orders.
  • Robots: Robots are used to speed up the process of making and delivering food.
  • Kiosks: Customers benefit from shorter waiting times when using AI-driven kiosks.
  • Recommendation engines: AI is used to help customers choose their meals based on preferences and order history.

Benefits of this approach

Operational Efficiency: Optimizes and streamlines supply and demands, ordering, preparation and delivery process enhancing overall customer experience.
A Consistent, Multi-Channel Experience: AI-driven remote ordering gives a personalized experience to customers, speeds up selection and ordering process and decreases wait time.
Multitasking Machines: AI can be used in restaurants to do monotonous and repetitive jobs like prep work, faster than humans with even more precision.
More Effective Marketing: Good AI-driven prediction allows restaurants to better tailor their mobile and in-person marketing efforts toward individuals’ tastes. AI tools can even be integrated into digital menu boards to display offerings that are informed by customers’ ordering histories, for example.

In conclusion

There’s no way around it: AI in the restaurant industry is gaining speed quickly, and it’s here to stay. This trend is set to continue as AI becomes cheaper and more accessible. The widespread adoption of AI and automation will impact how restaurants employ and utilize staff, as well as help restaurant brands make sense of data to improve the customer experience.

Companies that are pioneering this technology are exploring how to balance the pros and cons of integrating it into their business model – finding just the right mix of rapid, repeatable automation and the high-level decision-making skills and human touch that robots simply can’t replace.

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