AI – An Essential Ingredient in the Recipe for Restaurants of the Future

AI, Recipe, Restaurants

Digital tools are streamlining everything in the restaurant business. From ordering to predictive staffing and inventory, technology is simplifying work, especially the AI-powered tools that are boosting sales and enhancing customer experience

From robots that take orders to automated self-pay kiosks, restaurant technology is continuously evolving. Hospitality is an industry known for its tight profit margins, pushing business operators to make smart business choices. More of them are turning towards technology to manage operations and teams and are making decisions driven by data, analytics, and AI. McDonald’s has recently acquired a $300 million personalization and decision logic technology firm called Dynamic Yield. The fast-food titan will use this new tech to launch digital drive-thru menus that can react to the time of day, trending menu items, restaurant traffic, and weather.

Experts believe that AI technology for restaurants can today leverage transaction data to create customer segmentation, and integrates customer surveys to provide predictive modeling and actionable recommendations to boost business.

The larger the POS/restaurant management platform vendor, more data is generated. Since AI-powered restaurant management platforms can predict a spike in foot traffic based on the weather forecast and local events, it helps on deciding raw material purchase for the day as well as suggest staffing levels. AI is also helping restaurateurs suggest pricing based on the cost of ingredients and prices charged by competitors.

AI is also making smarter kiosks where face recognition technology is recognizing regular customers and makes suggestions based on their previous order history. This is already being used at places like Wow Bao, and BurgerFi, among others in the US. This system reduces the ordering and payment time to as less as 10 seconds. In May this year, Sonic has announced that it will test new AI-powered, voice-assisted technology from kiosk vendor Zivelo and Mastercard at its drive-thrus to provide a customized menu to diners. It will be the first restaurant to experiment this.

AI-powered scheduling software, when connected with a cloud-based POS can factor in the granular information to boost the bottom line. It is helping restaurateurs determine the most up-selling staff and choosing those team members at a priority for high-volume shifts.

AI and other technologies are expected to continue to dominate the restaurant industry. Experts believe that with national unemployment rates at record lows, many restaurants in the US have been struggling to afford and retain workers. As labor challenges plague the industry, AI can increase the productivity and effectiveness of a brand’s workforce and lead to better customer experience.