Industry News
November 21, 20233 min read

In what ways will AI affect restaurant operations?

A hand is reaching out to a burger in the digital world — Photo by CAL Poly Pomona
Sales & Marketing Information Technology Food and beverage Chatbots, Robotics & AI
By Linchi Kwok, Professor at The Collins College of Hospitality Management, Cal Poly Pomona

A new wave of industrial revolution is here --- AI (artificial intelligence) will change everything we do. Undoubtedly, AI can improve restaurant operations.

Menu Engineering and Quality Control

AI can provide insights into a restaurant’s menu offerings and pricing strategies based on consumer data and market trends. Restaurant owners can adjust the recipes/menu and price accordingly.

AI can help restaurants monitor food temperature, cleanliness, and safety procedures, ensuring they comply with health and safety regulations. For example, AI can remind a sushi chef to replace a sushi plate that has been “sitting” on the conveyor belt for too long with a more popular item.

Consumer Experience

AI can help restaurants create location-based, personalized marketing campaigns to reach specific and targeted customers at the right time. Then, AI-empowered chatbots, reservation, and table management systems can help restaurants answer customer inquiries, manage reservations, and optimize seating arrangements.

Many restaurants have already asked customers to place and track orders with an app or tablet, reducing the processing time and human errors. Consumers also feel more engaged when interacting with the app or tablet. Finally, restaurants can use AI to analyze consumer reviews for areas for improvement and consumer sentiments.

Talent Management

AI can help with forecasting and scheduling. Managers can generate optimal schedules and work hours based on anticipated demand. Employees will find managing food and service quality easier when AI triggers reminders for potential issues (e.g., food temperature and wait time). Finally, AI can analyze employee morale and level of engagement, enabling restaurant owners to develop more effective retention strategies.

Inventory Management and Cost Control

AI can help predict demands based on historical data, weather, holidays, local events, and other factors. Moreover, AI can monitor real-time inventory. Automatic orders can be placed when inventory becomes low. A just-in-time inventory management system can help restaurant owners optimize inventory and reduce food waste.

Additionally, AI can help analyze energy/water usage, control lighting/AC, etc. Restaurants can also manage labor costs more efficiently with an AI-empowered talent management system.

Other Areas

Financial security is crucial. Besides tracking abnormal consumer behaviors and food quality issues, AI can identify suspicious transactions, too.

Is that all? What other areas do you see AI will benefit restaurant owners?

Linchi Kwok
Linchi Kwok
Professor at The Collins College of Hospitality Management, Cal Poly Pomona
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CAL Poly Pomona

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