Popular artificial intelligence (AI) platforms like OpenAI’s ChatGPT have gained millions of users within a few months. They help consumers without technical skills carry out tasks like writing essays, creating songs, preparing for job interviews, etc., with just a few clicks. Such consumer AI technology can help improve restaurant operations at a meager cost, and that’s what we will be exploring in this article.
Why Should Restaurants Use Artificial Intelligence?
As a restaurant owner, the burger-flipping robots at the White Castle Burger Chain’s locations may be the first thing that comes to mind, and yes, they are powered by AI, but that’s on the high-end spectrum of how artificial intelligence is changing the restaurant industry.
Most restaurants, especially independent restaurant owners, can’t currently afford to use exotic AI technology platforms like robots. The good news is that you can use free, publicly available AI platforms like ChatGPT or affordable AI tools like the Lineup.ai sales forecasting tool to deliver a better experience to your customers and boost the competitive advantage of your establishment.
There are many ways to use such AI platforms and tools, and we will cover that in the next section. But, we should address how AI works before we move on.
Artificial intelligence is computer programming designed to understand human voice or text input and mimic human behavioral tendencies when responding. A good example is Apple’s Siri assistant, which can interact with people in specific scenarios using coherent human language.
Advanced AI platforms like ChatGPT go beyond that. They can perform more complex interactions with humans, analyze vast troves of data to provide valuable insights that can be transformative for the user, and build new digital tools from scratch.
AI platforms can do this because their software is trained on large amounts of data sourced from all over the web. Its machine learning programming is designed to teach it what to look for, and human supervisors continually correct its mistakes until it gains a coherent understanding of human interactions.
8 Ways Artificial Intelligence Can Help Your Restaurant
1. Branding and Menu Design
You can prompt an AI platform like OpenAI’s Dall-E art and image generator to help design your restaurant’s logo and brand color scheme. The trick is to provide detailed information in your prompt about your restaurant and the type of logo you want to create.
For example, a restaurant owner in Isreal used the platform to create a mouse-inspired menu design for his first U.S.-based establishment, and he has mostly received positive feedback from patrons so far.
To create an image or artwork using Dall-E, you must buy credits, which cost about $0.13 per Dall-e credit.
2. AI Chatbots
Suppose you are a restaurant owner running a tight ship and don’t have the customer service staff to respond to patrons’ queries. In that case, an ai bot can be programmed to answer questions like, “Is your restaurant dog-friendly,” “What are your delivery options,” “What are your operating hours,” and other more establishment-specific questions about your menu.
You must have noticed such chatbots on modern websites with pre-determined questions and responses that help resolve customer inquiries even when the business owner is unavailable.
Companies like Botstar, iNextLabs, and ChatBot offer restaurant chatbot templates you can customize to meet the needs of your business. They can help take messages from guests and make reservations on their behalf.
3. Self-ordering Kiosks
Self-serve kiosks use voice-ordering technology to let patrons order meals conversationally at the restaurant’s physical location instead of ordering from their phones at home.
The advantage is that customers can do beneficial things like splitting the check and paying with their debit or credit card without the physical presence of already overworked restaurant staff.
The technology is also commonly used in drive-thrus and fast-food restaurants where the owner needs to multitask. Companies like Voix.ai, SoundHound, and ConverseNow offer voice ordering systems to restaurants.
4. Inventory Management
AI can analyze the troves of data your business generates daily to help develop creative ideas on how you can better manage your stock levels.
For example, you can ask it to suggest ingredients and supplies you may need during the upcoming week, and it will analyze your historical data and suggest that you stock up on X pounds of a particular ingredient because it is crucial for preparing a dish that has proven popular with your customers over the past few weeks.
5. Staff Scheduling
Global fast food chains like McDonald’s are already using AI-enabled predictive technology to forecast lunch rushes so they can have enough staff available to reduce wait times to the bare minimum.
You can also use that technology in your restaurant to predict busy times so you can plan your staff’s shift to ensure you have enough hands on deck.
There are excellent free & paid restaurant scheduling software solutions like 7Shifts and ScheduleFly, but they lack the advanced predictive AI tech you will get with tools like Lineup.ai and Zira.ai.
6. Faster Food Deliveries
The pandemic made physical restaurant visits difficult or impossible and accelerated the shift to online food ordering and courier deliveries. That trend has continued, and online sales constitute the primary source of revenue for many restaurants.
Yet, a wide range of factors can interfere with the delivery process leading to dissatisfied customers. For example, the food may arrive cold at the customer’s doorstep because the courier got stuck in traffic.
In such a scenario, AI can help predict traffic and suggest the best times to deliver meals to customers, drastically increasing the delivery speed of your riders. It can also map the fastest route for avoiding traffic if you are in a hurry.
You can use free AI-powered route planner platforms like Google Maps or a premium tool like DistanceMatrix.ai that is purpose-built for restaurants.
7. Brand Reputation Management
AI can listen to what people are saying about your establishment on social media platforms and review sites to gauge the prevailing sentiments about your brand.
It will identify critical areas that need improvements and steps you can take to repair your reputation if it’s negative or improve it further if it’s positive. It can even do tasks like responding to customer reviews in real time on your behalf.
AI can transform your restaurant’s marketing strategy in so many ways. You can use tools like Bing Chat and ChatGPT to craft marketing messages for your email newsletters, social media posts, bulk SMS, ads, and more. An activity that would usually take up lots of valuable hours.
Purpose-built AI marketing tools like Paytronix can help automate your marketing campaigns. The AI platform will design your promotional campaign and push your marketing content to customers when they are most likely to show interest.
Such tools can also track visitors to your restaurant and create custom marketing campaigns designed to encourage them to become repeat patrons.
AI can be a game changer for your business if you take the time to identify areas in your restaurant operations where it can be transformative before getting the right AI tools that do what you need and are priced within your budget.
You can’t afford to ignore artificial intelligence because it is here to stay. Opting to stick to what you already have can make you fall behind your competitors.
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It lets you use AI insights to improve your order processing and inventory management workflows. You can also analyze your revenue and sales data to see areas where you can make improvements to boost sales and cut waste.It’s already popular among independent restaurant owners all over the globe, and it has now gotten much better. If you need a robust budget-friendly POS solution that lets you run your restaurant or cafe from any device, check out our homepage to try out the Slant POS for free.