Table of contents:
- Applications Of AI and Digital Technology In Restaurants
- Final Thought
Whether you are running an online business or have a large scale physical store of your own, the food service and restaurant industry is transforming digitally in full speed. Restaurants are coming up with several ways in which they can incorporate advanced tech to reap benefits. The use of robotics in kitchen and replacement of humans with robots for cleaning purposes have led to incredible cost cuttings and better time management.
Applications Of AI In Restaurants
We are already used to having voice searches and voice ordering through our smart devices at home. Most of our smart home’s devices are integrated with voice control, making this AI-based tech very common these days. But restaurants are taking it a step further by incorporating voice ordering not only on mobile apps, but in physical stores as well.
Restaurants are now using Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant as their voice ordering platforms. These are used in drive-thru, where customers can speak to an actual person via a microphone only rather than waiting in a long line to get face-to-face for placing an order. There are also restaurant kiosks that use this technology.
A simpler way for restaurants to adopt this technology is to go hybrid. This means that they can have the regular method of ordering, person-to-person and during busy hours and long queues, customers can also have the option to voice order from their table or even from outside the store.
Food service apps
Online ordering and food deliveries have become increasingly popular due to the pandemic. COVID has forced people to stay at home. The restaurant industry did not fail to adapt to this situation, and is using AI tech to develop highly optimized, user-friendly, interactive and real-time mobile food service apps. They are adding features like Google maps, voice ordering, order tracking, chatbots and much more on these apps to enhance customer experience. Without a doubt, AI is allowing restaurants to do their best at customer service.
Perhaps the most recent and popular trend in restaurants industry is the use of smart kiosks. When you go to your regular coffee shop for your daily dose of coffee, you need to repeat your order to the barista that probably changes every now and then. This will no longer be an issue, as a smart kiosk will remember you through facial recognition, and can actually punch in your order without you repeating it every time.
Not only do these smart kiosks and their facial recognition technology remember your orders, but they can also make suitable recommendations based on this data. This is part of the self-serve or self-order system, where customers no longer have to wait in lines to get to the barista that recognizes them.
Many people might have objection over why and what can restaurants do with facial images and data. However, the good news is that you don’t have to worry about data insecurity because advanced AI tech does not link facial recognition with any sensitive information such as credit card info, and also saves faces in form of geometry lines and not actual images of a person.
Restaurants probably have it the worst when it comes to staff management. They have high turnover rate and several shifts to manage. Communicating such inconsistent work schedules can be difficult for managers and team leads. Special events, festivals and occasions like Christmas often require more hiring, and the process can all be really tiring for the management team.
AI offers restaurants an incredible solution to this problem. Advanced tech can forecast labor demands, communicate schedules efficiently, manage payrolls and can also take care of attendance management. Cloud based software solutions can also help forecast labor demands during holidays and festivals, allowing managers and team leaders to conveniently hire new staff in a timely manner.
AI can help reduce business expenditure and increase managerial efficiency. Restaurants are also using AI-based analytics to forecast demand and sales for better inventory management. By using prior sales data, food recipes and other factors, restaurants can come up with more accurate estimates about how much stock they need to order. This helps save time and reduce human error. Additionally, restaurants waste lesser material that have gone bad due to over-hoarding.
The best part about automating inventory management can be that restaurants can assess better whether or not their chefs and team of workers are using the right portions of ingredients in recipes. They can control quality and food wastages too.
Robots and smart devices in kitchen
We have already seen smart devices taking over our lives at home. Restaurant kitchens are no different. There are several types of smart AI-based devices that can help the staff in getting lot of tasks done. For example, there are robotic cleaners and vacuums, cooking devices that can do several types of cooking procedures, and lots of smart temperature management devices that help chefs get the perfect meal ready. Several startups like Miso Companies are coming up with AI-based robotics that can do tasks like flipping buns, frying beef patties, assembling food in one place and much more.
The greatest advantage of having such gadgets work for you are cost benefits. Restaurants can save up on lots of their labor costs if they simply employ robots to do the cooking. However, the downside of this is that these robotics are constantly evolving and updating, which makes them obsolete very quickly. To adapt to new methods and environments, you have to invest in new tech. So, in the longer run, this might not be the best option, as compared to humans who can be trained in no time to adapt to various situations all at once, without significant costs.
With technology embedded in our lives to such great extents, it has become inevitable for the restaurant industry to adapt as well. High-speed internet services like Windstream have made it possible for customers to also enjoy the perks and benefits of automation in restaurants. This technology is equally beneficial for customers as well as restaurants. Customers can enjoy convenience and restaurants can enjoy savings.
Apart from automating the whole restaurant, the first point is to let the people know about the technology you used in your restaurant. You can promote the services by various online & offline media. Flyers, posters, and pamphlets are the most effective mean of promoting your business. You can make a great restaurant flyer design with the various online graphic tools without investing much in the designing effort. It even helps you to save on the cost of hiring a designer.