Artificial Intelligence has touched almost every industry in the past ten years, but can the restaurant industry benefit from AI technology too? You might be surprised to learn that the answer is yes. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning algorithms can benefit restaurants and revolutionize the ordering and dining experience.
This post will explore some of the top ways AI technologies are currently used in restaurants. In addition, we will also explain the benefits of using Artificial Intelligence in the restaurant industry. While AI technology is typically associated with HiTech mobile applications and robotics, there are several practical ways restaurants can use this technology.
AI Technologies in the Restaurant Industry
While AI technology is a relatively new innovation, it has already been utilized in several industries and sectors, including the restaurant industry. You might not see AI-powered robots preparing food or delivering meals, but Artificial Intelligence has played a vital role behind the scenes. Here are some examples of AI technologies that the restaurant industry uses:
- Phone bot
- Voice ordering
- Inventory and purchasing
- Delivery optimization
AI-powered phone bots can ensure your restaurant doesn’t miss incoming calls. Busy restaurants might get too many incoming calls to answer all of them. However, hoping customers will try to call back or continue trying until someone answers is wishful thinking. Most people will only try calling once and then move to another restaurant.
AI-powered phone bots answer every call your restaurant receives, ensuring that your establishment doesn’t lose customers. AI-powered phone bots are similar to online chatbots. They can be used to answer common questions, take a reservation, or place an order for pickup.
Phone bots help your in-house staff focus on your restaurant’s customers without missing incoming calls for reservations or orders. Missed calls are missed opportunities to sell your food to hungry customers.
Phone bots use voice ordering technology, but when we discuss AI-powered voice ordering, we refer to voice assistants like Alexa or Siri. People commonly use their voice assistants to search for nearby restaurants. Recently, Artificial Intelligence has been utilized to enable users to place food orders directly from their voice assistants.
Using AI technology, your restaurant could capitalize on a growing trend and ensure that no potential orders are missed. As we have discussed, AI-powered voice ordering technology is being used to improve phone bots, but it is also being used in drive-thrus and self-service kiosks.
Modern consumers are accessing menu information and placing orders in various ways. Ensure your restaurant can take orders whichever way customers find your business.
Inventory and Purchasing
Artificial Intelligence is most effective when integrated with inventory management and point of sale systems. When your systems are integrated with Artificial Intelligence, you can order smarter and be prepared in real-time as consumer demand shifts. As a result, AI not only optimizes your inventory and ordering, but it cuts down on food waste and optimizes your budget.
Ordering too much leads to food waste and lost financial resources. Ordering too little leads to lost business opportunities. AI technologies can measure real-time performance and analyze historical data to accurately meet the inventory needs of your restaurant.
AI technology can help your restaurant optimize delivery routes to improve delivery times and save gas. Have you ever used Uber Eats or Doordash? These mobile apps not only prepare the most efficient route for delivery drivers but also show customers where their food is and how long it will take to reach their location. This is made possible by Artificial Intelligence.
If your restaurant does a lot of delivery, your project management team should strongly consider using AI technologies similar to Uber Eats and Doordash. Artificial Intelligence can save your business time and money while providing greater insight and visibility to your delivery customers.
One of the most difficult tasks in a restaurant is scheduling staff. AI technology can improve the scheduling of your restaurant staff to ensure that you have the appropriate number of employees in-house at all times. In addition, like inventory and purchasing, AI can analyze historical and real-time data to accurately predict customer demand and trends.
Ensure you have the necessary staff when times are busy, but also ensure that you are not overstaffed at slow times. Keeping your employees busy will keep them engaged and your restaurant operating smoothly.
The Benefits of AI Technology in the Restaurant Industry
Using AI technologies has several benefits for restaurant owners. After reading about the examples of AI technologies being used by restaurants, you are likely already imagining the benefits your restaurant can realize with AI technology. Here are some of the immediate benefits your restaurant business can experience with AI technology:
- Cost reduction
- Minimal errors
- Improved service
- Smarter marketing
The most significant benefit of AI technology is cost savings. Restaurants typically have steep operating costs. AI technologies can ensure that your restaurant is not wasting food by optimizing purchasing and inventory. Plus, AI technology can automate many rote, mundane tasks that take up valuable working time. This allows you to optimize your staff and get the most value out of your employees. If you can lower costs, you can increase profits. AI technologies can help you achieve this.
Human error is a natural part of any business. However, AI technology can reduce errors and lead to better outcomes. For example, when employees are doing mundane, rote tasks, they might lose focus and make errors that cost your restaurant more time and money to fix. AI technologies can handle repetitive tasks and leave your staff free to work on more challenging tasks.
AI technologies improve restaurant service by freeing staff to focus on customer satisfaction. As we have already mentioned, AI technology can handle mundane tasks that take time away from your employees. As a result, staff can emphasize customer service more, which will lead to better service and happier customers.
Do you know the best ways to find new customers? AI technology can improve your marketing efforts to target the customers who will be most interested in what your restaurant offers. In addition to finding new customers to target, AI technology can help your restaurant retain existing customers by driving remarketing efforts toward them.
While AI in restaurants doesn’t seem like a natural fit on the surface, AI technologies are well suited for the restaurant industry. However, determining which tools and solutions are right for your restaurant can be difficult if you don’t have any technical experience. If you want to bring AI technologies into your restaurant, reach out to an experienced app development partner.