The Potential Power of AI in Food Services

Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to present the foodservice and hospitality industries with opportunities to automate tasks and improve operations. While more restaurants are beginning to leverage AI to improve daily efficiencies, industry leaders are interested in AI’s bigger potential — understanding and utilizing customer preferences to curate more personalized ordering experiences and to enhance loyalty.

Harness AI-Advanced Insights
The shift from a one-size-fits-all model to a more personalized approach is an industry-wide trend that is becoming more achievable with AI technology. AI has multiple applications beyond robotics, including machine learning, language processing, and predictive analytics. Restaurants can optimize various data sets through sophisticated AI algorithms to identify patterns and provide personalized ordering experiences tailored to individual customer needs and tastes.  

A goldmine of data resides in the technology restaurants utilize every day; there’s data from the POS and loyalty program, reservation system data, and even purchasing and inventory data, to name a few. Analyzing historical data about what customers ordered and when, equips restaurants with advanced insights such as frequently ordered dishes and popular days to order take-out. Restaurants can then harness these AI-driven insights to predict future customer behavior and make better decisions surrounding critical business operations, including:

  • Labor: Leverage historical sales data and weather forecasts to optimize staffing levels while maintaining quality during peak hours.
  • Menus: Identify trends and popular dishes to predict demand for specific menu items.
  • Pricing: Create dynamic menus that adjust pricing based on demand and competition.
  • Guest Engagement: Analyze customer feedback, online reviews, and social media to understand guest preferences and areas for improvement.
  • Expansion: Leverage analytics and insights to identify the potential for new markets and opportunities surrounding expansion.

Curate a Personalized Guest Experience
Using AI-enabled technology to learn customer preferences, identify habits, and understand trends can support restaurants in their efforts to create a tailored and personalized ordering experience. From automated upselling based on past orders to customizing dishes, guests begin to feel more valued as individuals. Meanwhile, reordering favorite items is easier and faster, leading to higher order frequency. Perfecting these tactics will reduce churn and establish a strong and healthy base of loyal customers. 

Loyalty programs are increasingly important in the food service and hospitality industry. Artificial Intelligence has the potential to help streamline loyalty programs and transform broad promotions into hyper-targeted offers that drive repeat visits and/or orders. With personalized offers, discounts, and seamless point redemption/accumulation, restaurants can satisfy loyalty program members. 

The capabilities and benefits for AI will continue to advance and evolve throughout the restaurant industry. Today, AI and automation offer solutions to streamline food prep, increase productivity, and reduce errors. Self-ordering kiosks and AI-powered robotic servers can improve the guest experience, increase average check size, and help optimize labor costs. As more restaurants embrace AI-enabled technology, the ability to elevate overall customer engagement through creating more personalized experiences may be the differentiator between the leaders and the laggards. 

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