Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been in the news a lot lately and many have experienced it firsthand with ChatGPT, Google AI or Simplify. While much hype has been around making tasks like writing easier, there has been considerable focus on the negative aspects of AI such as plagiarism, fake photos or displacing workers.
AI certainly has the potential to change so many things in society, but what will accelerate change is how technology and models like the ones developed by OpenAI will be applied to solving real business problems across industries. The restaurant industry is no exception. However, before the industry moves too quickly to harness the power of AI using standalone tools, the proposition that AI needs to be built into existing tools restaurants are already using needs to be discussed as a more viable alternative.
Restaurant industry leaders are starting to look at ways to monetize AI by applying it to tasks to increase sales, improve productivity and streamline operations, but restaurants can’t afford the time or expense of experimenting with standalone AI tools to improve operations. What is needed now is for existing technology tools used in the industry to engineer in AI capabilities to improve their solutions so restaurants can enjoy the power of AI without getting their hands dirty.
What is needed now is for existing technology tools used in the industry to engineer in AI capabilities to improve their solutions so restaurants can enjoy the power of AI without getting their hands dirty.
Numerous online ordering systems are especially well positioned to bring AI to scale in the restaurant industry as these systems hold data on menus, promotions, loyalty, customers, website, integrations into social media and POS. So it is only logical for online ordering, as well as a 360 POS system that owns a central place in the everyday operations of a restaurant, to allow for tight integrations with AI to drive even more value for the restaurateur.
Companies need to integrate AI into the core of its platforms so that AI technology is automatically part of day-to-day business operations to solve problems without much input or effort from business owners or their managers.
AI is amazing at creating content (text, image, video), but restaurants generally don’t have time to create content, and are outsourcing this to marketing and content agencies at a hefty price. We believe that many of these tasks, from photography to replies to reviews to customer support to social media posts to website design and promotion setup, can be much more simple and affordable with AI playing a crucial role.
As AI advances quickly on the restaurant world’s landscape, what should restaurateurs and the tech companies that support them think about when incorporating the power of AI into their business to further success. There are five key things to consider:
- What are the future plans for integrating AI capabilities into existing tools that restaurants use?
- Whether already part of an existing tool or planned for that tool, what are the true benefits to the restaurant of AI integration and how will it pay off in making the business better?
- Since restaurateurs and their staff are busy satisfying customers, what will be the time commitment for using these new capabilities and will it require greater training?
- How can AI give even more control to restaurants and not take it away from them, much like what has happened with the revolution of online ordering and curbside delivery?
- Finally, SMB restaurants are a passionate group. Can AI be more than a tool but also be a way to create more fun and elevate the passion of the owners and the people who use them?
Certainly AI holds huge potential for helping restaurants address many of their greatest business challenges, but standalone is not the answer.