Everything from the way diners make reservations to how managers track inventory and food apps have been influenced by recent innovations. Evolving technologies like virtual tech and artificial intelligence (AI) in restaurants are completely transforming operations, making running a restaurant more efficient and more profitable for those who know how to leverage technology.
If used effectively, AI tech can directly increase sales, enhance customer experience, and decrease food wastage. As more and more restaurants adopt these practices, restaurants that don’t embrace technology will quickly fall behind. To stay relevant and meet the rapidly changing expectations of modern consumers, consider investing in AI and virtual technology to attract customers, improve efficiency, and cut costs.
AI in restaurants for better assistance
Artificial Intelligence already plays an integral part in major industries, including food service. The most commonly used AI integration in the restaurant industry is chatbots.
Chatbots are essentially online virtual assistants that take orders from your customers and answer their questions. Some of them can even assist customers in choosing items from your menu based on their preferences. They work by the principle of smart recommendation engines to deliver a better customer experience.
AI can also make services at self-service kiosks and drive-thrus more personal.
Strategic use of QR codes can help you meet your marketing goals and create a smoother customer experience. QR code technology includes PDF, social media, rating, business page, coupon, and image gallery QR codes. Here are some examples:
- PDF QR codes help your customers access your menu while on the go. What’s more, you can easily update PDF QR codes when you rebrand or add or remove menu items.
- By placing a social media QR code on your restaurant table, you can encourage customers to follow your page and tag you in their posts. This free publicity will, in turn, increase your social media follower base.
- Rating QR codes printed on receipts, menus, or table tents allow customers to easily provide feedback about their dining experience.
- Business page QR codes help you advertise your restaurant even when you’re closed. By sticking your business page QR code to the restaurant window, you can help curious passersby learn more about your restaurant.
- Often, customers aren’t familiar with all the items on your menu. An image gallery QR code is the perfect solution to display images of delicious-sounding and equally mouth-watering-looking food and beverages to your guests without spending more on physical menus.
- Offering coupon QR codes is a great way to reward customers for their loyalty; digital rewards eliminate the possibility of losing a physical coupon.
More about AI in restaurants: Self-service kiosks
Already employed in major restaurant chains, future restaurant service belongs to self-serve kiosks. When employed inside the restaurant or in parking lots, this technology reduces wait time and fastens the speed at which customers move through their meals. Even better, it allows staff to spend more time preparing quality food and less time fixing mistyped orders.
Virtual kiosks for restaurant parking lots offer customers the convenience of not having to leave their cars. Plus, they help people order exactly what they want how they want it.
The rise of ghost or cloud kitchens
Rising rents and shrinking margins have made many traditional dine-in restaurants struggle to stay afloat. This has led some major restaurants to ditch the dining space altogether and make the switch to virtual kitchens.
Also known as ghost or cloud kitchens, virtual kitchens are shared commercial cooking spaces that rely on an online ordering and delivery model. This means that there is no brick-and-mortar location for dining in. Being a shared space, ghost kitchens cut down labor and equipment costs significantly while improving operational efficiency and the ability to offer competitive menu prices.
Virtual reality restaurant experiences
Virtual reality is still up and coming in the restaurant industry, but there’s enormous potential for further development and wider use. Although virtual reality dining comes at a steep price, it can provide memorable, profitable, and new food experiences.
What does virtual reality look like when it comes to dining? The restaurant Tree by Naked in Tokyo offers a vivid experience through a mixture of stunning visuals accompanying a precise eight course of seasonal Japanese cooking.
Adopt technology or fall behind
Slowly but surely, technology trends have changed the way that customers order and enjoy their food. Especially at fast-casual or quick-service restaurants, customers want convenience.
Typically, this means meeting customers where they are: on their phones. To keep up with your competition, you’ll have to adopt new technology like AI in restaurants. If you don’t, your customers will look elsewhere for more convenience and better service.