Tech Speak: How AI Is Serving the Restaurant Business

Tech Speak: How AI Is Serving the Restaurant Business

Because the Chief Income Officer at HungerRush, Olivier Thierry is influencing buyer expectations with AI because the restaurant trade has begun experimenting with it, he tells Spiceworks Information & Insights’ Expertise Editor, Neha Kulkarni. Eating places have realized taking up new know-how will assist them not solely survive the challenges however obtain outcomes, he notes.

From labor shortages to enhancing buyer expertise, on this version of Tech Speak, Olivier discusses how AI can overcome these challenges and permit eating places to scale back human error. He additionally shares how pure language processing can interpret buyer attitudes in cellphone orders and have an actual place in understanding buyer expertise.

Key Factors:

  • Giant quick informal chains have turned to using AI in drive-through
  • AI can re-order earlier orders with data of every buyer’s private preferences
  • AI options may also perceive heavy accents, SMS shorthand and regional slangs

Listed here are the edited excerpts from our unique interview with Olivier Thierry, chief income officer, HungerRush:


A smiling middle aged man wearing a tweed jacket and blue shirt
Olivier Thierry, CRO, HungerRush

SWNI: It has been a busy yr for the restaurant trade particularly after the pause in the course of the pandemic. However because the pandemic clouds start to maneuver away, how are applied sciences resembling synthetic intelligence altering the way forward for eating places?

Olivier: The pandemic turned the restaurant trade the other way up, and plenty of of its setbacks are nonetheless being felt in the present day. Throughout the pandemic, eating places have been fighting unexpected lockdowns in addition to new rules and restrictions from visitor capability to meals preparation. In reality, the Nationwide Restaurant Affiliation reported that the restaurant trade suffered essentially the most important gross sales and job losses for the reason that COVID-19 outbreak started in comparison with some other trade. Greater than 8 million restaurant workers have been laid off or furloughed, and the trade misplaced $280 billion in gross sales in the course of the first 13 months of the pandemic.

“As we proceed shifting towards a post-pandemic lifestyle, many of those ache factors have advanced into longer-term points. Labor shortages, rising meals costs, altering client expectations, and even leftover debt all nonetheless plague eating places in the present day. Because of this, the trade, which has been traditionally sluggish to undertake new know-how, has begun experimenting with AI and counting on the know-how to fight these points.”

Eating places have realized taking up new know-how will assist them not solely survive these challenges however obtain outcomes that they haven’t been capable of earlier than. For instance, a number of giant quick informal chains have turned to using AI in drive-through, cellphone ordering techniques and even integrating it into the kitchen to assist restock objects. When know-how finds a method to step in and alleviate the stressors that staff have, we discover a world the place workers and know-how can coexist. When staff aren’t as absorbed in restocking, taking orders and helping in drive-thru lanes they’ll concentrate on the shopper expertise and in-store prospects. AI has rapidly change into important, and the pandemic accelerated a technological revolution that has propelled eating places into the longer term.

See Extra: Why Pure Language Processing Will Steer the AI Ship: Consultants’ Take

SWNI: From expertise shortages to buyer expertise, the restaurant trade is dealing with unprecedented challenges within the post-pandemic period. In your opinion, how AI can overcome these challenges and permit eating places to scale back human error?

Olivier: Labor shortages have change into one of many largest strains on each trade for the reason that pandemic, nevertheless, the restaurant trade was hit the toughest. Based on the Nationwide Restaurant Affiliation, 65% of restaurant operators surveyed stated they don’t have sufficient workers to help buyer demand. Because of this, 60% of US eating places have decreased hours of operation, whereas 38% are closed on days they’d usually be open. Having to make such drastic changes has had direct affect on worker welfare, bandwidth and leaving friends to really feel unwelcome.

“AI has emerged as a approach for eating places to mitigate these shortages whereas enhancing worker and buyer experiences. For instance, some eating places with excessive quantity of cellphone orders, like pizza eating places, have begun implementing AI-powered cellphone bots to deal with orders positioned over the cellphone or by way of textual content message. For orders positioned over the cellphone, the AI can perceive and place customizable orders by way of cost and completion.”

Orders positioned by way of textual content, AI can provide the choice to re-order earlier orders with data of every buyer’s private preferences and customizations. Discount in human error is a advantage of this know-how, because the bots can perceive a number of audio system, heavy accents, and slang. And since these bots aren’t restricted to human inefficiencies, they by no means get sick, have a foul day, or attain a name restrict.

See Extra: Tech Speak: How ServiceNow Is Scaling Robotic Course of Automation at Velocity

SWNI: Let’s speak about pure language processing fashions. A number of surveys have discovered that sarcasm or code-switching don’t work nicely with in the present day’s NLP engines. How can NLP be used to interpret buyer attitudes in cellphone orders and have an actual place within the eating places’ buyer expertise?

Olivier: As with different NLP options, the trick is publicity to giant, various units of information. By exposing the AI to various audio system and instructions, the AI makes use of deep studying and machine studying to enhance its intelligence over time by processing real-time knowledge. As well as, it’s important to combine the AI with the total extent of a menu and the restaurant software program to ensure data of all potential orders.

With this understanding, the AI will acknowledge increasingly vocal types and ranging orders. As talked about beforehand, in the present day’s AI options may also perceive heavy accents, SMS shorthand and regional slangs and colloquialisms, and a number of audio system. As well as, AI can sense when the shopper is getting pissed off and can provide to modify to a reside one who can take over the state of affairs.

“Fortunately, decoding instructions from an order positioned off a menu is extra easy than loads of different industries leveraging AI the place decoding sarcasm and code-switching is extra mandatory and commonplace. Nonetheless, it’s all the time a good suggestion to present your friends an choice to talk to a human worker in case of their private desire or discomfort with the know-how.”

SWNI: One other issue for eating places to think about is funding in AI is a pricey affair. How can the restaurant trade assess the necessity to put money into AI to enhance buyer expertise and measure the ROI from AI investments?

Olivier: If operators are in search of a method to modernize eating places, I actually consider AI has one of the best worth in terms of investing in know-how that’s futuristic however nonetheless delivers ROI throughout a number of wants. Many eating places we see in the present day are investing in flashy chip-making robots and different eye-catching tech, however AI can complement every part from advertising to order-taking to enhancing buyer expertise. When completed appropriately, it may have way more of an impact on the complete restaurant than one thing resembling a kitchen robotic.

For instance, order-taking AI can deal with a number of cellphone strains and guarantee no buyer is left on maintain, confirming these orders get positioned. Past that, AI can be programmed to upsell each order.

“On the texting aspect, the AI can ship scheduled textual content messages to prospects encouraging repeat orders with the press of a button. It may possibly additionally ship out coupons and promotional offers to extend model consciousness and guarantee your restaurant stays high of thoughts.”

Additional, by relieving workers from the duty of manning telephones, AI permits workers to spend extra time on reassigned to desk service, supply, or order achievement, guaranteeing prospects are glad and high quality of service optimum.

See Extra: How Spotify’s Voice Recognition Gadget Is Making In-Automotive Listening Higher

SWNI: There may be an ongoing debate over essential features of AI efficiency, together with bias, ethics, and total management. How can the AI neighborhood make progress towards securing an unbiased regulatory framework?

Olivier: To make sure knowledge is unbiased, knowledge scientists should function with heavy scrutiny of the information to make sure it’s an unbiased equal to real-life.

“Steady testing of the information is important to make sure all biases are caught and addressed earlier than the algorithm is unleashed to the general public.”

Furthermore, there should be a standardized framework to make sure the moral fashions to which we maintain the information to are unbiased. Cautious monitoring, various knowledge groups, and elevated transparency of coaching processes can all assist fight biased AI.

See Extra: How TripAdvisor Is Leveraging Voice Expertise To Enhance Enterprise: Q&A With Christine Maguire

SWNI: Because the know-how paradigm continues to shift quickly, which AI investments will assist eating places to enhance their buyer expertise and orders in 2023 and past?

Olivier: There’s loads of locations the place restaurant AI can go from right here! It’s already occurring, however I consider we’ll see AI extra extensively built-in into holistic operations, from managing stock to counting orders, monitoring prospects in real-time, and monitoring the variety of folks at eating tables.

“With pc imaginative and prescient, AI can be used to monitoring the hygiene of the eating space, or the situation of kitchen tools.”

We may see use of AI at ordering kiosks that leverage voice know-how and NLP just like the cellphone ordering options. The chances are infinite, and it’s really thrilling to see the place the trade will take its innovation subsequent.

About Olivier Thierry
Olivier Thierry serves because the chief income officer for HungerRush. Olivier has a distinguished profession of government management positions in a number of profitable know-how companies. Previous to HungerRush, Olivier served as CMO for Quorum Software program, CMO at Zimbra, CEO of Fiveruns, and CMO at Zenoss.

About HungerRush

HungerRush 360 transforms your restaurant, chain or idea, managing your total operation from a single dashboard, improves effectivity, positive factors better visibility, makes use of helpful knowledge insights to speed up gross sales and enhance loyalty, boosts revenues and lowers prices. As a technology-driven help system on your restaurant, we be certain all options offered are the most recent within the tech market, always refined and up to date.

About Tech Speak

Tech Speak is an interview sequence that options notable CTOs and senior know-how executives from all over the world. Be part of us as we speak to those know-how and IT leaders who share their insights and analysis on knowledge, analytics, and rising applied sciences. In case you are a tech skilled and want to share your ideas, write to [email protected]

How is AI scaling the restaurant and meals trade in your view? Share your findings with us on LinkedInFb, Twitter .

Picture Supply: Shutterstock


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