From drive-thru to backhouse operations to predictive ordering for consumers, restaurant brands are piloting artificial intelligence to streamline food service.
While the technology has yet to reach critical mass at major chains, it has the potential to automate more tasks and give restaurant workers the opportunity to have more meaningful experiences with their guests.
Analysts say the main benefit is the potential to ease labor challenges in a still-tight job market. The National Restaurant Association says the industry expects him to add 500,000 jobs by the end of 2023, but he currently has only one job seeker for every two open positions. points out.
Additionally, TD Cowen estimates that voice-enabled AI can boost sales by as much as 15% through suggestive sales and reduce service time by 10 seconds.
According to Andrew Charles, managing director of consumer and restaurants at TD Cowen, the industry shift is reminiscent of the emergence of third-party delivery services five years ago, before they became commonplace with nearly every major restaurateur. It is said to let
As for third-party apps for delivery services, he said, “Some are testing, some we’re looking at, some are mostly piloting.” “I think there are definite parallels that are very similar to today. If this continues to be adopted further, we will see a domino effect here.”
But there are still hurdles to widespread adoption, Charles said. Many of these large restaurant chains need to acquire franchisees. Language barriers and menu nuances can complicate the ordering process that AI cannot navigate.
Meanwhile, a wave of pilot programs has already begun.
Hmmm!brand in recent years AI utilization leader Strengthen operations, including the 2021 acquisition of Dragontail to streamline food preparation and delivery. The technology, which automates kitchen flow, driver dispatch and customer order tracking, is in use at 1,000 Pizza Hut stores in the United States and nearly 3,000 more worldwide. The company also relies on AI in its recommended order module, which tells admins how many products to order per week.
McDonald’sThe company sold McD Tech Labs to IBM in 2021 and entered into a strategic partnership to support the introduction of AI technology to drive-thru lanes. Before McDonald’s acquired his McD Tech Labs, known as Apprente, he used AI to understand drive-thru orders. So far, McDonald’s is testing the technology in select locations.
Del Taco also uses voice-activated AI for drive-thru ordering. wing stop When ordering by phone.
Panera Bread has likewise invested in technology in both its front and back of house operations. Drive-thru voice orders are linked with OpenCity AI, Miso Robotics ensures coffee quality and temperature control, increasing product consistency.
For Panera, it’s a question of “how to redeploy employees to higher-value, higher-quality guest experiences,” said chief digital officer George Hanson. “Whether it’s spending more time on food preparation or quality control or face-to-face interactions,” Hanson said in an interview with CNBC.
“Maybe they just wander into the dining room and ask how the food is, or if they can bus the table. I think.”
Chipotle is testing Chippy, an autonomous kitchen assistant that offers a robotic solution for making potato chips in restaurants.
chipotle pepperIn partnership with Miso Robotics, a technology leader in the restaurant sector, Chippy’s robot chip maker, It is currently installed in a restaurant in Fountain Valley, California, where it cooks chips. Using AI, Chippy is trained to recreate the brand’s exact recipe for chips using salt and fresh lime juice. The next iteration of Chippy will also determine the amount of chips that need to be made.
The company will also implement AI in its app to deploy suggested orders and use a camera system in the Cultivate Center’s test kitchen to provide real-time data on the amount of product needed based on customer volume. , making it more predictable and less reactive.
Chief Customer and Technology Officer Kurt Garner told CNBC that AI and robotics are expected to amplify and improve the human experience at the company’s restaurants.
”[It’s] It’s a tool to help crews, managers and teams adapt to the current environment, but it doesn’t remove them from the equation of serving guests and running the ship,” he said.