The last few years have been taxing on many, and the restaurant industry is no exception. Between inflation, labor shortages and navigating many new ways of operating, many businesses have felt like they are treading water with no lifeboat insight. Thankfully, artificial intelligence has continued to make progress in restaurants and it is proving to be a life saver for numerous quick service establishments. Nothing can replace a friendly smile, but AI can definitely help restaurants in other areas, like staffing shortages and overall efficiency. While the upfront cost of many artificial intelligence products are costly, the long-term savings are well worth the price. Here are some ways your restaurant can incorporate AI to better serve employees and the customers.
You have probably seen these at a quick-service restaurant near you. These kiosks are usually set-up near where you would normally order. Customers can easily select what they want and pay without ever talking to an employee. Your order is then sent to the kitchen and prepared! These are great for busy times when staff may be limited and customers are in a hurry. They can use these kiosks without having to wait in a long line. You also have the benefit of not getting as many orders wrong. The customer can input their order exactly how they want it, so there’s less room for error.
Robots in the Kitchen
This is becoming more popular as restaurants have been testing out different AI that can flip burgers and fry foods like wings and french fries. The fry station is not a coveted position as it can be monotonous and sometimes even dangerous, so having AI to man the station is a wonderful solution. There is even a robot being piloted that can wait and bus tables. This means that the staff is able to more fully focus on customer service. They can check on tables more frequently, get the food to customers in a more timely manner, and upsell menu items like drinks or appetizers to help increase revenue.
We have talked about this before, but it can’t be said enough! Allowing AI to manage your staffing needs is an excellent way to save time and easily schedule your employees. Your managers will have more time to focus on other pressing tasks and not have to stop what they are doing every time an employee needs to adjust their schedule. Having software that allows your staff to post shifts for trade or pickup is going to make life so much easier for everyone. Millennials and Gen Z are drawn to technology, so having an app platform for them to use that allows flexibility will assist in employee retention as well.
Customers might still be leery of a robot preparing their food, but with fine tuning and familiarity, it will become more normal. Some things can’t be replaced by robots, but when there are certain parts that can, and using them allows your restaurant to profit and provide better customer service, it is worth looking into!