AI + Machine Learning

5 Ways Artificial Intelligence is Transforming the Restaurant Industry

Increase revenue and guest retention with machine learning features like upselling recommendations and customer data analysis.
Amanda Hamel

What is AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the field of developing computers and robots that are capable of behaving in ways that both mimic and go beyond human capabilities. The simulation of human intelligence uses deep learning and machine learning to become smarter over time by processing real-time data. Some of the most recognizable AI can be seen on our cell phones through facial recognition and digital assistants like Siri and Alexa. As well on our phones, we see artificial intelligence and machine learning in our day-to-day lives without even realizing it.

Machine Learning (ML) is a type of artificial intelligence that allows software applications to become more accurate at predicting outcomes without being explicitly programmed. The technology is a subset of AI that uses past data to identify patterns, make decisions, and continuously learn through experience. In a restaurant, the recommendation engines and algorithms created by machine learning will view trends in customer behavior that allows the software to autonomously suggest upsells and cross-sells as guests checkout via a restaurant mobile app or branded online ordering! The use of AI and ML can be seen in every industry from food service to healthcare, and it’s continuing to grow! Keep reading to see how this emerging technology is transforming the restaurant industry!

AI in Restaurants

Phone Answering:

During a busy rush, tasks as simple as answering the phone sometimes become difficult to manage. Missed calls can be harmful to your business because you’ll be leaving guests hungry. A survey reported that 83% of customers would move on to find another restaurant if they try to call and get voicemail more than once. 

Similar to the more common AI chatbots, advanced technology can be used to answer the phone. Instead of scrambling to get to the phone on time, allow AI technology to answer for you! AI phone answering technology is capable of answering commonly asked questions by using keyword recognition to understand and respond to guests' needs. This will guarantee your calls are answered every time and there won’t be any customers left hungry!

Voice Ordering:

Efficiency and convenience are key to creating a happy customer. About 27% of people online now use voice search, and nearly 40% prefer voice search over their smartphones when searching for a restaurant. This is because the speed of voice commands is unmatched. One in four consumers who get a restaurant result in a voice search will visit that restaurant. 

With AI technology, guests can place an order on their device using only their voice. To make things even better, voice ordering can also be implemented at self-service stations and kiosks! Many people are still taking precautions to stay healthy after the global pandemic. Having the option to order conversationally will allow guests to choose a contactless experience and reduce health concerns. 

Self-Service Software:

One of the best ways to personalize the guest experience is by giving them the power to control and customize their dining service. This can be done with AI self-service stations! Through kiosks, tableside tablets, or even their own devices, guests will be able to fully customize their order as well as choose from a variety of payment options!

As of April 2022, several fast-food chains have started to introduce self-service kiosks with facial recognition to help satisfy guests' need for speed. The AI facial recognition technology turns kiosks into an interactive experience for guests by recognizing loyalty program members and supplying a personalized menu based on their past orders. The emerging software creates a custom guest experience and encourages loyal and first-time guests to return for more. Facial recognition also collects valuable demographic information in real-time that will help you better understand your guests and be able to make accurate data-driven decisions!

5 Benefits of Restaurant AI

1. Improve Efficiency 

The demand for quick and digital services has increased rapidly over the years. Luckily, the use of AI will help your restaurant fulfill those needs. Guests can order digitally with their device or through a designated self-service area, and receive their order fast! The speed of service will increase as AI takes on time-consuming tasks so your employees can focus on meal preparation and completion. 

The use of AI will boost both your efficiency and numbers! Restaurants have already started to see an increase in revenue after implementing AI into their workspace. In some cases, staff has been able to double the number of orders they can fulfill during peak lunch and dinner hours! The workers who were once stuck behind a register are now free to help increase order efficiency and create high-value guest interactions! 

2. Increased Morale

An increase in employee morale and productivity can be seen by businesses that use AI! When working in a restaurant it's common for employees to experience boredom from repeating similar tasks. The integration of advanced technology helps reduce the workload of repetitive tasks for employees and overall allows them to engage more purposely in their work. With the extra help from AI, your workers will be able to spend more time connecting and engaging with guests instead of with a screen. 

Allowing AI to take over repetitive tasks will also help minimize errors. It’s more likely that a worker will make a mistake when they’re feeling overwhelmed, but with AI helping out they won’t have as much on their plate. This means they’ll be able to keep a productive and energized workflow even during rush hour!

3. Minimized Errors

Artificial intelligence is programmed to be efficient and accurate. Using AI in your restaurant will help reduce the chance of making a mistake that could result in a domino effect disrupting the workflow. By becoming your guests' key point of data entry there won't be the risk of manual input errors. The technology will provide a consistent experience to your guests, and won’t get fatigued doing time-consuming tasks. This gives your employees the time to be more attentive to higher priority tasks and ensures a high-quality experience!

4. Data-Based Predictions & Insights

Collecting valuable customer data is a simple task when you’re using AI. While you’re busy running your restaurant, AI technology will be collecting information and insights for you! AI uses customer data to analyze guests’ purchasing behavior and create data-driven results that will benefit your business. The software can process and analyze a large amount of data in a short amount of time. Your guests will feel the effect of AI as it customizes and enhances their overall experience! The technology identifies customer preferences and buying patterns resulting in recommendations that benefit both your customers and your business. 

Data collected can also be used to see increased marketing results! The unique information will help you understand and predict guests' behavior and preferences. That means you’ll have the resources needed to create a personalized marketing strategy that targets your specific audience! By catering to your guests' wants and needs, you’ll create lasting impressions and increase your profits!

5. Enhanced Guest Experience

A study reported that a personalized customer experience has the potential to boost sales, lower marketing costs, and create more loyal customers. The best way to provide a custom experience is by understanding the needs and behavior of your guests. With AI technology you’ll have the resources needed to do so! The personalized and engaging experience will increase your customer satisfaction rate and leave your guests hungry for more! Artificial intelligence has proven itself to be a strong asset in the restaurant industry and it’s here to stay!