How AI in Restaurants Transform Guest Experiences


May 2, 2019
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AI in Restaurants

AI in Restaurants – From Quick-service, Fast Casual to Casual dining, leading restaurant brands across the globe are competing to deliver world-class guest experiences to its tech-savvy customers. Digital tools are streamlining everything from ordering to predictive staffing and inventory, simplifying work for people at every level of the operation. Most promising of all: customer-facing tech advancements—especially those powered by AI in Restaurants are transforming restaurant brands by delivering personalized, seamless and omnichannel guest experiences.

A loyal customer pulls her car into a restaurant’s parking lot – and before she could find a parking space, the restaurant’s beacon technology senses her arrival and sends a ticket to the kitchen for the meal she pre-ordered online.

Across town, a frequent but demanding customer has checked the menu, which has leveraged personalization strategies to serve up a personal selection of the customer’s favorite items based on his past preferences.

What’s more, a restaurant platform makes it possible for a customer to choose from a broad number of restaurants by type of their food preference, build an order through smartphone, initiate delivery, add items to the order before it leaves the kitchen, pay and tip all online, and also see real-time updates on the delivery status as their food approaches.

Leading brands are leveraging AI in Restaurants to make advances like these, and many more. People have come to expect seamless digital experiences (such as mobile access, personalization, loyalty tracking, and no-touch transaction) across other industries and want their dining experiences to be the same way.

To understand the key customer trends and impact of AI in Restaurants, customers across the U.S were surveyed. Below are some of the findings from the study.

  • 73% of diners agree that restaurant technology improves their guest experience.
  • 95% of restaurateurs agree that restaurant technology improves their business efficiency.
  • The most important technology features for guests are online reservations, free wifi, and online ordering.
  • The top features restaurateurs are looking for in a restaurant POS upgrade are ease of use, depth of reporting, and inventory reporting.
  • Restaurateurs say credit card processing, accounting, and inventory are the most important integrations to their restaurant POS.
  • 61% of diners agree that server handheld tablets improve their guest experience.
  • 32% of diners of restaurateurs believe they are lagging in their technology use

Sources: Toasttab, restaurant.org

Business Use Cases of AI in Restaurants

Mobile ordering – An AI-driven humanoid robot waiter processes guest orders, provides product recommendations and allows guests to make payments via their Mastercard account by using the robot’s handheld tablet.

Recommendation engines – Developers are designing applications, which use AI in Restaurants to help consumers choose meals based on their eating preferences.

Wheeled bot – A world’s leading pizza giant plans to have wheeled robots to deliver pizza to guests. The company’s Robotic Unit will use small six-wheeled robots to deliver pizza to guests within one-mile radius of stores.

Food sensor – An AI handheld food sensor scanner beams light directly onto the food item to identify the contents of the food. The scanner can also identify possibly harmful substances in food as well as provides other information like calories and nutritional value of the food.

Face recognition technology – A Fortune 500 burger chain is working on using the interesting face recognition technology to infer what a guest may be interested in ordering – based on their sex, facial expressions, and other visual features.

Guest service bot – The AI in Restaurants using chatbots allow people to place orders and have questions answered using regular language in the messaging app.

Messenger Bot – A leading fast food restaurant chain launched a social media messenger bot that allows people to order food via social media platform from 26,500 locations in the U.S. People can directly pay for their orders with the social media platform’s built-in system.

Calorie counter – A global tech company has designed a calorie counter app using deep learning to identify the caloric value of food items. It analyzes photos to determine what exactly it is looking at and then pairs the information with data on a typical number of calories relevant to the specific items.

Summary: AI in Restaurants

Taken separately, each of these AI-powered innovations is impressive. But restaurant brands that actually treat them as individual compartments may end up managing a disjointed array of gimmicks instead of an omnichannel service model. Alternatively, if a restaurant offers digital enhancements that are strategic and tightly coordinated, it can take advantage of the resulting data and deliver consistent, personalized customer experiences.

What is the common focal point that can make full sense of Artificial Intelligence in Restaurants and put it to strategic use? The customer. Restaurateurs need to meet the next-gen customer: someone who experiences these technologies day in and day out in other parts of life, and who expects them in a restaurant experience as well.

Doing this can have a huge impact on driving dining frequencies, Customer Lifetime Value, check size, customer conversion, and loyalty. Having said that, digital is not a panacea in itself. The fundamentals matter as they always have in the restaurant experience: menu, value, and location are still paramount in driving customer attraction and satisfaction.

To get a free and personalized consultation on your organization’s digital transformation strategy, Talk to our team now!

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