What is artificial intelligence and how it is changing the restaurant business?

May 23, 2019 | Sakshi Sharma

Technology is taking our day to day life and businesses to the next level. Yes, the days of doing everything manually is no more. Imagine if someone from the 1950s traveled through time to 2019, they would marvel at the way we use our handheld devices to navigate around the town, the way assistants such as Alexa, Cortana, and Siri are responding to our queries, and would be stunned by our addiction towards social media platforms.

How AI is disrupting every industry

Artificial Intelligence may be considered a central tenet for the disruptive changes of the 4th Industrial Revolution by offering more transformative experiences than any other industrial revolution before. It is the core concept where computers and machines exhibiting intelligence like humans.

Instead of programming machines manually on what to think, AI helps to observe, analyze and learn from data and mistakes just like our human brains can. There has been researching done about what the next big marketing trend is. Close to 30% believe that it will customer personalization accounts, 25% artificial intelligence and related concepts, and a little over 20% believe it will be voice-based search. Keep in mind that AI applications cover about 75% of that market which tells us that AI is most likely going to be the winner.

For instance, with AI, almost all the industries can be enhanced for greater efficiency and streamlined processes. AI, in general, takes over time-consuming and tedious jobs. Human counterparts are given more time for impactful contributions with greater value and thus focus more on core activities of businesses. Many argue that AI completely removes the human touch but it is important to remember that it does drive strategic and creative thinking on a huge scale.

How AI can help Restaurants Operate Seamlessly?

The restaurant industry is growing because of new and innovative disruptive business models like food trucks, pop-ups, and ghost restaurants. Their shares account for over $800 billion in total restaurant sales in the U.S. Starting from the cash register to the kitchen, technology is becoming an integral part of how restaurants operate. Technological enthusiasts and innovators are constantly coming up with new brilliant digital solutions that help restaurants operate easier, faster, and become more profitable.

Artificial intelligence is undeniably the key to helping improve many aspects of a business. Restaurant owners are embracing this next-gen technology to change and boost the entire food service experience, not only for their customers but also in their back-office operations.

Traditional restaurants face a wide array of challenges while running their establishments which starts with hiring staff and managing their schedules, inventory management, food preparation processes, marketing their services, managing their POS effectively, and other operational needs.

Artificial Intelligence can be a one-stop solution to manage multiple facets of a restaurant’s operations and thus helping the business owners break new ground and turn a serious profit.

How AI can help the Restaurant’s Customers?

The real-time application of Artificial Intelligence in restaurants is amazing. This is especially true for customers who enjoy a variety of things, like customizing their orders, getting that personalized guest experience, quick resolution to inquiries, and more.

For example, Domino’s, Pizza Hut and Starbucks are currently offering voice ordering virtual assistants that utilize natural language processing (NLP) to interpret and place orders instantly.

Artificial Intelligence has driven food apps further where it identifies the patterns of one particular customer’s dining choices and syncs that information with the customer’s location to suggest relevant restaurants that the user may be interested in. Some AI concepts can help boost a customer’s experience with restaurants are:

1. Chatbots Usually, customers expect quick customer service responses. Restaurants can make use of chatbots and virtual assistants to answer their questions and to deal with customer orders instantly.

2. Recommendation Engines

AI has powered restaurants to recognize their customer’s food preferences, even allergies or dietary restrictions (if any) and based on the results they can suggest food varieties that help gain customer satisfaction in return. Food ordering apps, on the other hand, can remind your customers of the dish they loved last time and recommend similar items.

3. Self Ordering Kiosks

The concept of self-ordering kiosks in various counter-service and fast-food restaurants, including famous brands like Panera and McDonald’s. With this, as a restaurant owner, you can take away the need to train and pay for employees to operate POS systems and at the same time provide your customers more control over their ordering experience.

4. Smart Ordering System

By harnessing Alexa, Google Home, Mobile Apps, Call or SMS, AI enables your customers to place their orders over multiple channels at the same time with zero hold time.

How AI can make employees Serve their Customers Better

When the restaurant employees offer a personalized guest experience, the customers have a better dining experience. Smart ordering system, self-ordering kiosks, and related AI applications help to automate the routine processes and thus freeing up restaurant employees’ time to prepare more orders and spend their time in creating a more seamless restaurant experience altogether. The employee benefits of implementing AI properly into restaurants can be:

1. Efficiency

Using AI in the form of robots in restaurants could result in a consistent experience for customers and employees who can then spend their time greeting and offering them a special guest-like experience.

2. Fewer mistakes

AI can be used to automate processes and eliminate human errors. Employees won’t feel pressure during peak times since stress is the primary reason behind mistakes.

3. Customized Servicing

With customer data like food preferences, previous order history etc..the restaurant employees can provide the best offers and customized services.

Future of AI For Restaurants

Operational cost reductions and the ability to create a personalized customer experience drives AI technology trends in the restaurant industry. Beyond just customers and employees AI can also help with your logistics and supply chain. Restaurants of all sizes are realizing the benefits AI provides. One thing to keep in mind is that it doesn’t matter what type of AI you adopt in your restaurant, you will still need employees, although you may need to adjust what tasks they need to perform.

SDI, a development company with immense experience in natural language processing, deep neural networks, reinforcement learning, predictive analytics, and computer vision that helps to redefine the way your business operates to give you a competitive edge.

Do you want to get started or learn more? Schedule time to chat with one of our experts at 1.408.621.8481 / sakshi@sdi.la.

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