Artificial intelligence has surged into the public consciousness in recent years. To some, products like ChatGPT represent the greatest technological development since the Internet.
Restaurant managers and owners want to know how they can make use of these innovations. You must also ensure your venue is not left behind as your competitors advance into the future.
This guide has the information you need to successfully use AI systems in your venue. Read on and discover how to harness the latest digital revolution to your advantage.
What is artificial intelligence (AI)?
Chances are, you have found yourself having a conversation about AI in recent years. But how much do you know about what AI is and how it works?
Artificial intelligence refers to the intellect of machines and computers. This contrasts with the "natural intelligence" exhibited by humans and animals. The phrase is often used to mean developing this intelligence to be more in line with humans.
AI can be used for reasoning and problem-solving, language processing and image recognition. There are various elements that are common among many AI systems.
- Machine learning: Machine learning allows computers to learn new information as they operate. This means they don't need to constantly be programmed with new information. This allows these systems to develop at a more rapid rate. In a restaurant, machine learning could be used for financial forecasting.
- Natural language processing (NLP): This refers to an AI's understanding of human language. With NLP, systems can respond to complex requests. They can also produce their own pieces of communication. It is one of the crucial components behind chatbots like ChatGPT. These models can be used to quickly create new pieces of text, such as menu descriptions.
- Computer vision: This enables systems and machines to interpret visual inputs. These inputs include images and video. Computer vision can be used for systems that need AI to respond to real-life stimuli. It is often used alongside sensors like LiDAR and radar. This technology can be found in innovations like robot waiters.
Benefits of using AI for restaurants
Industries around the world are discovering the ways AI can boost their business. Here are a few benefits your hospitality venue can take advantage of when you put AI in place.
1. Greater efficiency
The development of artificial intelligence is all about making tasks easier to complete. Restaurants can use machine learning in their data analyses. Or, they might buy AI-powered robot chefs.
Whatever approach they take, these systems can enable businesses to function more efficiently. The result is a better experience for your guests. For more information, check out our complete guide to automation in restaurants.
2. Reduced costs
In the world of business, greater efficiency means lower costs. Imagine a restaurant obtains a team of AI-powered robot waiters. As a result of this decision, they may be able to reduce the number of human waitstaff on any given shift.
This cuts down your labour costs. This same principle can apply to an array of facets of your restaurant. Shifting to AI systems in your venue can profoundly impact your profit margins.
3. Competitive advantage
The food industry is one of the most competitive in the world. Your business cannot afford to be left behind when it comes to the latest developments.
If you aren't harnessing the power of AI, some of your competitors surely are. This means they have the ability to streamline their operations. As a result, they can offer superior service.
Utilising AI in ways your competition doesn’t allows your business to leap ahead of them. Imagine the benefits of being the first restaurant in your area to offer AI-powered robot waiters.
8 ways to use AI in restaurants
Now, you understand how AI systems can boost your restaurant's operations. It's time to get specific about the various forms they can take in your venue. Here are 8 of the top ways to put AI in place in your restaurant.
Many hospitality workers love to get creative when working on their restaurants. But not all owners and managers might feel this way. For some, sitting down to come up with menu descriptions and designs can feel like a tiresome chore.
That's where AI-powered chatbots like ChatGPT come in. They can help you create recipes, dish names, mission statements and more. They can even be a great source of inspiration for the name of your venue!
Check out our guide to using ChatGPT in restaurants for more prompts you can use in your venue. Of course, the power of ideation doesn't stop at chatbots. Creating high-quality imagery is another area in which many restaurants struggle.
This is the utility of text-to-image models such as DALL-E 2 and Midjourney. With a simple sentence, they can help you create the perfect logo or menu design. That said, there are some legal concerns surrounding AI-generated imagery. These issues have yet to be properly addressed in court, but it's important to be aware of them.
2. Restaurant management
AI has an excellent capacity to help with the everyday tasks that go into managing a restaurant. Here are a few chores to get some AI help with:
- Rosters: Chatbots like ChatGPT can be used to generate rosters for your workplace. Simply give variables like the number of staff, availability and shifts. These models should be able to create a functional roster in a fraction of the time it would usually take you. You can also look at specialised services like Lineup.ai.
- Event scheduling: AI chatbots can be handy when it comes to finding optimal times to host events. They can create event programmes and develop marketing assets to promote it.
- Business plans: Formal writing is one of the strengths of popular AI chatbots. This is the ideal tone for creating a restaurant business plan. Provide the system with detailed prompts for individual sections of your business plan. Then, watch it create the perfect first draft.
3. Robot chefs
A great team of chefs is one of the most expensive, yet valuable investments a restaurant can make. But even the best chefs can be prone to mistakes and human error.
As a result, robot chefs are a technology that could be paradigm-shifting for the restaurant industry.
Miso Robotics created the "Flippy" line of robotic fry cooks. These robots are used in fast-food restaurants.
In 2021, it released Flippy 2, its first machine powered by AI. According to the manufacturer, Flippy 2 is 30% more efficient than its predecessor. It also takes up significantly less space.
A more advanced example is Nala Chef, powered by AI and machine learning. Nala is customisable and can cook "infinite recipes" with exact precision.
Australia-based company JnS Robotics has also released the Botinkit Max. This AI robot chef takes care of tasks including stir-frying and seasoning.
Currently, the costs of robot chefs are too high for many restaurant owners. That said, an age of far more affordable AI-powered culinary maestros is approaching.
4. Robot waiters
Many robot waiters currently on the market rely on fairly rudimentary technology. They use sensors that help direct the machine around the room. Built-in trays allow customers to collect their food.
There is a growing number of robot waiters that utilise artificial intelligence. The Matradee L robot waiter uses AI camera technology for advanced obstacle avoidance. This allows it to more closely replicate a human employee and prevent collisions.
In the future, we may see many more AI-powered robot waiters. AI may allow for deeper and more meaningful interactions with guests.
This will lead to a superior customer experience. For now, AI technology can add more modest bonuses for robot waiters.
5. Data analysis
Artificial intelligence is revolutionising the world of data analytics. From sales data to inventory management, AI can help streamline your processes. This enables you to glean valuable insights.
AI systems can analyse huge quantities of data in seconds. This allows them to identify patterns and draw insights a human eye might never discover. They can also be used to ensure the accuracy of your data, remove duplicate datasets and much more.
The benefits of such an approach are manyfold. It helps to ensure that your business is making well-informed, educated decisions. It can be a massive cost-saver compared to more manual approaches.
Some of the top data analysis AI tools for your business to consider are Tableau, Polymer and Akkio.
Using AI technologies can be a great shortcut for creating promotional material. This applies to everything from email marketing campaigns to social media posts. Chatbots and text-to-image generators can help craft compelling copy and imagery.
You can even consider AI tools designed for marketers such as Surfer SEO and Jasper. Additionally, AI can be used to help with customer profiling. This allows you to collate a range of information about your customers. You can then build personalised campaigns targeting them.
Getting the word out about your business is a massive piece of the restaurant puzzle. There are plenty of AI tools to help you do just that. From ChatGPT to Midjourney, there are tools to help restaurants transform their marketing.
7. Training and development
AI tools can be used to create effective training and development programs. With AI, these programs for restaurant employees can achieve the following outcomes:
- Personalised learning: Artificial intelligence can recognise the learning behaviours of users. This allows it to adapt teachings for better results.
- Target knowledge gaps: AI can prevent employees from learning information they already know. If the system identifies that the user is already aware of an area of the course, they can skip certain sections.
- Content creation: Different types of learners need different forms of content. AI systems can create audio-visual and interactive content with relative ease. This helps to cater for a wide range of employees. AI can even work alongside other innovations. For instance, AI and virtual reality can be used to create hyper-realistic training scenarios.
8. Digital kiosks
Digital kiosks are free-standing screens which customers can order from. This means they do not need to talk to a human employee.
They are a popular addition in many restaurants, especially in the fast-food sphere. Artificial intelligence is making these innovations more effective.
AI can enhance the ability of kiosks to make product recommendations. For example, they can utilise facial recognition technology to deliver personalised product recommendations.
AI can allow digital kiosks to take voice orders. They can enable them to include AI avatars and chatbots. This means that you don't need to sacrifice customer service when you use digital kiosks.
The future is bright for AI-powered digital kiosks. New innovations for digital kiosks may include gesture control. We may also see integrations with virtual reality technology to transform the experience.
Automate your phone calls with ResPhone
Want to enjoy the greatest benefits of automation without the cost of AI systems? ResPhone is a ResDiary feature that answers the phone when your staff are not able to.
It integrates with reservation data to fetch availability and reserve tables for customers. It is designed to provide personable service to customers.
It's as if they were interacting with a member of staff! For you, ResPhone means no more panicking when the phone rings on a hectic Saturday night.
For your customers, it means none of the frustration of ringing a venue trying to book a table to no avail. Book a demo today and find out how ResPhone and other ResDiary restaurant reservation system features can boost your venue.