- Artificial Intelligence is on the rise in the restaurant industry, promising to automate tasks and improve customer experiences.
- Voice-enabled AI could boost sales by 15% and increase service speed, according to TD Cowen.
- Major restaurant chains are piloting AI programs, despite challenges such as language barriers and menu complexities.
In the bustling world of the restaurant industry, artificial intelligence (AI) is slowly beginning to stir the pot. AI innovations are being tested by various food service providers, promising to redefine the landscape of quick service and dine-in experiences.
While AI has not yet saturated the industry, its potential benefits are enormous. It could automate routine tasks, offering employees more engaging customer interaction opportunities. Additionally, AI could alleviate hiring pressures in a market that faces a chronic talent shortage. The National Restaurant Association projects the addition of 500,000 jobs by the end of 2023, but the current market has only one candidate for every two vacant positions.
Furthermore, research conducted by TD Cowen suggests that voice-enabled AI could accelerate service times by 10 seconds and elevate sales by a whopping 15% via suggestive selling. This transformative wave recalls the surge of third-party delivery services five years prior, noted Andrew Charles, managing director of consumer and restaurants at TD Cowen. As AI adoption increases, we could witness a domino effect within the industry.
However, wide-scale adoption is not without its challenges. Franchisees of large restaurant chains need to be convinced of its benefits. Additionally, language barriers and the intricacies of menus pose a complexity that AI might struggle to handle. Despite these obstacles, the race to AI implementation is on, with multiple chains launching pilot programs.
Key players include Carl's Jr., Hardee's, Yum! Brands, McDonald's, Del Taco, Wingstop, Panera Bread, and Chipotle, all exploring AI to streamline their operations. From enhancing drive-thru experiences to ensuring product consistency, the use of AI varies among these brands. With AI slowly seasoning the industry, the future of restaurant service looks set for a technologically advanced transformation.
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