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Artificial intelligence (AI) made its way into multiple sections this year, showing that it is beginning to affect many aspects of the restaurant industry. The Trends Report covers so many exciting innovations that the first installment in our 2020 Restaurant Trends Blog Series will focus on how AI affects the sections that cover Drive-Thru, Artificial Intelligence, Self-Serve Digital Kiosks, Customer Service, and Maximizing Labor Efficiencies.
As technology continues to transform the restaurant industry, you will need our guide for navigating the changing competitive landscape for the following reasons:
Expert Commentary from Industry Thought Leaders
We feature the following experts, among many others:
Check out our Drive-Thru section for commentary by Keith Buys, PAR’s Global Solutions Architect, on how off-premises ordering is rapidly changing the restaurant industry.
Vinay Shukla and Rahul Aggarwal, the co-founders of AI startup ConverseNow, share their insights on voice assistant capabilities in the Artificial Intelligence and Customer Service sections.
Donald Lescault, Director of Partner Development at labor management software company Push Operations, offers a look at how data feeding directly into POS systems will transform restaurants’ analytics capabilities in our Maximizing Labor Efficiencies section.
Informative Charts to Help You Stay Ahead of Today’s Challenges
This decade, more employees will work side-by-side with artificial intelligence software that learns by engaging in real-world trials with humans correcting its errors. All of this leads to one question: Why are more restaurants looking to incorporate AI into their operations? In the Drive-Thru and Artificial Intelligence sections of the Trends Report, we have charts dedicated to each of the following answers:
- Personalization in drive-thrus has flatlined since 2016 for 8 out of 9 menu categories.
- The percent of orders in which employees upsell customers is stagnating.
- The cost to replace employees will rise 14.34% by 2028 even if employee training costs and turnover rates do not increase.
Artificial intelligence also made its way into the Trends Report’s section for Self-Serve Digital Kiosks, which are using facial recognition technology and machine learning algorithms to make upsell recommendations that can boost check averages by 16%. Download the full report to read more of the ways technology will boost return on investment.
Clear Analysis of Changes That Will Soon Affect Your Restaurant
AI will influence two other trends included in our report for 2020, Customer Service and Maximizing Labor Efficiencies, by eliminating the inconsistent service quality that often comes with guesswork.
As you read the Customer Service section of the Trends Report, think about how customers who get incorrect orders may get different responses from one QSR to another. Even restaurants with the same concept or franchise owners may have one manager who gives the customer a refund, another who gives them a free meal voucher for next time, and yet another who has not heard about the issue because front of house employees feel they can handle it – creating an inconsistent customer service experience that risks making a dispute worse. As we cover in section 8 of the Trends Report, sentiment analysis technology will eventually recognize trigger words and vocal tone changes in order to distinguish between the scenarios AI software can handle on its own and those requiring human intervention. AI software may address incorrect orders differently based on the customer raising the issue, but unlike humans, it will tailor its responses to this person’s own preferences and reactions that it has learned and stored as a unique Unified Customer Profile (UCP). If the UCP shows this is a first-time event and the customer responds “thank you”, a simple refund may suffice, but if this is the second time the customer raises the issue within a month, AI software can escalate this customer’s concern to a manager with best-case scenario recommendations, and remember to do so for others fitting this criterion.
Going through the Maximizing Labor Efficiencies section, you’ll see how AI software will analyze peak hours and determine the number of employees a manager should schedule to avoid under- or over-staffing. This will allow for restaurants to recover the cost of AI systems faster by allowing managers to quickly adapt to changing business conditions. In the future, employees will no longer have to experience the boredom of being idle, or the incredibly high pressure of a busy night with only three people on staff.
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AI software that has all of the capabilities mentioned in the Trends Report may take a few more years before it is ready for the mainstream. However, today’s machine learning techniques already ensure AI systems will learn on the job just like their human counterparts, except these systems can simultaneously analyze many more scenarios and historical preferences than humans can – not only to learn faster, but to operate more effectively with each passing day.