6 Ways AI Can Improve Your Restaurant Operations

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is perhaps one of the biggest and most widely adapted technology trends of 2023. Like any new technology, however, it can be confusing figuring out how to use it and implement it effectively, especially in a restaurant.

Luckily, we’ve done the hard work for you, so that you don’t have to. Before we dive into the ways AI can help improve your restaurant operations, let’s explore why you should pay attention to this new technology.

What is AI?

AI is a type of computerized intelligence made to mimic the human brain, including learning as they go. According to McKinsey, AI is “a machine’s ability to perform the cognitive functions we associate with human minds, such as perceiving, reasoning, learning, interacting with an environment, problem solving, and even exercising creativity.”

Taking it a step further, machine learning is a process where the AI program can learn from each interaction and generate smarter responses or actions with each input. When applied to the business world, this kind of machine learning has the ability to help us make sense of data, be more efficient, and ultimately, become more profitable.

While some worry that AI might edge humans out of jobs, the reality is that this type of technology is meant to enhance what humans are capable of doing. In restaurants, where it never feels like there’s enough time in the workday, AI can be especially helpful. From allowing your employees to focus on more meaningful tasks to providing a better customer experience, AI enables you and your team to shift your work priorities to what matters most.


6 Ways AI Can Improve Your Restaurant Operations


Streamline Inventory Data

Let a computer help you with managing your inventory. AI programs, like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, can not only make it easier for you to collect, monitor, and change your inventory (so long, paper inventory sheet), but can also take human error out of the equation. AI-enabled software, like FourTop, can create a centralized data hub, integrating your inventory into your current POS system to make real-time recommendations for purchasing ingredients and supplies.


Analyze Spreadsheets Faster

Lots of smaller operations still use spreadsheets to track a variety of important data and metrics, including labor costs, food and beverage costs, and profits and losses. Being able to keep track of all of these numbers helps you make smarter, future-facing operating decisions. An application like ZohoSheet comes equipped with an AI-powered data analyst and data cleaning to help make your spreadsheets more accurate every time.


Generate Social Media Captions

AI has been helping businesses boost their marketing efforts in a variety of ways, one of which is by taking the guesswork out of creating social media captions. If you feel overwhelmed about having to manage your social media accounts for your restaurant, ChatGPT can help. One bit of advice: be very specific about what you tell it to create, and keep asking the software different questions until you get the social media captions that feel right for your brand. There can be a steep learning curve for the AI when it comes to sounding like a human in your marketing efforts.


Find the Right SEO Keywords for Your Website

ChatGPT has also been helpful on the search engine optimization (SEO) side of marketing, by helping restaurant owners identify the best keywords to incorporate into their website copy. SEO is a great way to ensure that customers can find your restaurant in a Google search, and without it you’ll have to invest in other forms of marketing to get your name out there.


Automate Your Phone Answering Service

When the place is packed and it’s all-hands-on-deck, who’s answering the phone in a timely fashion? The answer is now AI. Software like Slang takes the pressure off of your staff to pick up the phone when the restaurant gets busy. Slang makes for a smoother customer experience by answering common questions,responding in real-time, and managing reservations. And thanks to applications like Voiceplug, AI can also help take orders over the phone. Voiceplug allows for a seamless customer experience while “reducing labor costs and increasing the average check size per order.”


Quickly Write Menu Descriptions

Instead of spinning your wheels trying to find new ways to come up with menu item descriptions, AI can help. This is, again, where a service like ChatGPT can really shine. It can assist in helping you write mouth-watering menu descriptions that are likely to be more enticing to your customers. You can have the app customize your descriptions based on the existing tone and style of your restaurant menu, ensuring that you’ll have consistency across the board.


AI Onboarding Tips

If you’re considering implementing an AI-powered solution to improve your restaurant operations, there are a few things you should think about before diving right in:

  1. Be thoughtful about which technologies you want to use. Although all of the new AI-powered platforms might be helpful, you don’t have to implement all of them right away. Prioritize based on your most important needs and goals, and make sure the platform you use is right for your restaurant and your team.

  2. Allow time for training. With any new technology, it can be challenging to learn how to use it properly. This is especially true for a program like ChatGPT, where there’s both a human and machine learning curve before the AI understands exactly what you want. Build in extra time to play around with it and make sure you get the right results before using it.

  3. Know that you’ll have to double check the data. When first getting started with AI, you need to be pretty hands-on, especially when it comes to data input. Be sure to check the quality, quantity, and variety of the data being used to ensure that your AI-powered platform has exactly what it needs to work optimally.

How Have You Been Using AI?

Have you already started using AI-powered programs to help streamline your business? If so, we’d love to hear from you! Let us know how AI has improved your restaurant operations by emailing us at hilary@backofhouse.io