- How about an AI-powered dishwashing robot in your restaurant
- The power of voice AI-powered food ordering systems
- Machine learning takes the guesswork out of restaurant menu pricing
- Interactive robot bartender mixes your favourite drinks and tells jokes
- Augmented reality menus make meals come alive
- San Francisco opens the world’s first fully-autonomous robotic restaurant
The restaurant industry has always been dynamic, with a constant influx of enterprising individuals unafraid to challenge the status quo. As we enter 2023, the industry is on the cusp of a technological revolution, as innovative new technologies are rapidly transforming how food is prepared, served, and consumed. From blurring the lines between retail and dining to pushing the envelope with automation and AI, restaurants are evolving in ways that reshape the entire experience for diners and staff alike. In this bold new era, innovation and adaptability have become the industry’s watchwords. Restaurant owners and entrepreneurs are preparing for a range of economic challenges, while also embracing exciting new opportunities that are opening up in this fast-changing landscape. With both proven tactics and cutting-edge innovations at their disposal, they are reimagining every aspect of the dining experience, from menu design and food preparation to customer engagement and service delivery. Indeed, the future of restaurants is more daring and creative than ever, with a growing emphasis on delivering unique and memorable experiences that leave diners returning for more. With technology at the forefront of this transformation, the possibilities are virtually endless, and the stage is set for a new generation of entrepreneurs to take the industry to exciting new heights.
How about an AI-powered dishwashing robot in your restaurant?
The repetitive and laborious task of dishwashing is set to be replaced by AI-powered robots, and it seems the industry is ready to embrace this change. According to a survey by software marketplace company Capterra, more than 60 per cent of restaurant operators believe technology will eventually replace human dishwashers. Leading the charge in the automation of kitchen tasks is Nala Robotics, a company that has developed an AI-powered robotic arm that can handle all kinds of kitchen-related tasks, from frying chicken wings to preparing customised meals. Recently, Nala Robotics announced its latest technological breakthrough, Spotless. This AI-powered robot can handle all kinds of dishwashing tasks. It incorporates vision systems that enable it to detect various types of kitchenware, including utensils, cookware, cutlery, dishware, and glassware. It works in collaboration with a machine dishwasher and takes over tasks like scraping away leftovers, rinsing dishes, and loading the dishwasher, while adhering to the highest hygiene standards in the industry. After the cleaning process, it will even help you with drying, stacking, and storing the kitchenware.
Not only can Spotless work as fast as — if not faster than — the average human, but it can also work around the clock without needing breaks. The robot can also be easily trained to carry out various other tasks, such as moving trays from the back of the house to the front, cleaning the floor, and so on. With the ability to assign multiple robots in tandem, the possibilities for increased efficiency and productivity in the kitchen are endless. The rise of AI-powered dishwashing robots is set to revolutionise the restaurant industry, reducing labour costs and increasing efficiency, all while providing a consistently high level of customer service. Ajay Sunkara, CEO of Nala Robotics, explains: “Our revolutionary patented dishwashing system allows operators to overcome staffing challenges and never miss a smudge. We’ve heard countless stories from managers and owners who had to pull double duty because the dishwasher didn’t show up for work. By installing our robot, they’ll never have to worry about turnaround time and every dish will be spotless”.
Imagine a voice assistant scanning through the menu items and suggesting the perfect complementary item for the customer’s order. For instance, if a customer orders a burger, the voice assistant can instantly suggest “Would you like fries with that?
The power of voice AI-powered food ordering systems
As the restaurant industry continues to evolve, voice AI-powered ordering systems are becoming increasingly vital for businesses looking to stay competitive and provide the best possible experience for their customers. By automating tasks and improving efficiency, these systems can help restaurants increase revenue while reducing costs, freeing up staff to focus on other important tasks, such as customer service and sales. Voice AI-powered systems enable customers to place orders using natural language, which improves the ordering process, increases efficiency, and reduces the need for manual labour.
SoundHound’s voice AI system is an innovative technology that transforms the way restaurants operate. This system allows restaurants to handle multiple orders simultaneously, increasing efficiency and reducing waiting times for customers. The system’s natural language processing capabilities make it user-friendly and easy to navigate. SoundHound’s voice AI system integrates seamlessly with existing phone systems, saving restaurants money on costly upgrades. The system works by processing customer orders through a voice-enabled interface. The orders are then transmitted to the restaurant’s kitchen or order fulfilment system. Using SoundHound’s voice AI system enables restaurants to improve their bottom line and provide exceptional service to their customers.
VOICEplug AI is another example of a voice AI-powered ordering solution designed to help restaurants streamline their ordering process and provide an interactive customer ordering experience. The solution is integrated with the restaurant’s phone system, call centre, drive-thru, and ordering system, allowing customers to place orders using natural language. VOICEplug AI uses advanced natural language processing algorithms that help the system understand the customer’s voice commands, even if they are made in a noisy environment. One of the unique features of VOICEplug AI is its ability to identify websites, apps, and systems that need to be voice-enabled. Once identified, the system runs its AI algorithms to seamlessly integrate with the restaurant’s existing apps, content, and transaction flows. This ensures that the restaurant’s ordering system is fully voice-enabled, and customers can easily navigate the ordering process. VOICEplug AI has proven to be a cost-effective solution for restaurants, with a 75 per cent reduction in per-order costs reported among its users. The system has also shown a 90 per cent reduction in customer abandonment rates and lost orders, making it an ideal solution for busy restaurants looking to improve their efficiency and customer experience.
By using voice AI solutions for placing orders, restaurants can also increase their average order value by 20-40 per cent. This means that AI can help suggest higher-priced items to customers who are likely to buy them, which in turn helps improve margins. Imagine a voice assistant scanning the menu items and suggesting the perfect complementary item for the customer’s order. For instance, if a customer orders a burger, the voice assistant can instantly suggest “Would you like fries with that?” This way, restaurants can also leverage AI’s ability to recognise and act on upsell and cross-sell opportunities that may go unnoticed by employees.
Machine learning takes the guesswork out of restaurant menu pricing
Restaurant professionals are also increasingly turning to machine learning to optimise menu pricing. Dynamic pricing strategies not only help adjust prices with changes in customer psychology and market demand, but they also allow restaurants to stay competitive in the local market. However, understanding what customers want and what price they are willing to pay can be a challenging task. That’s where machine learning comes in — by analysing data on customer behaviour, preferences, and feedback, restaurants can accurately quantify these variables and use them to create pricing strategies that maximise profitability and customer satisfaction. With the power of machine learning, restaurants can unlock a world of possibilities and take their pricing strategies to the next level.
Imagine having a tool that can harvest data from thousands of customer interactions, analyse it using machine learning algorithms, and provide accurate, data-driven projections about theoretical purchasing scenarios. That’s exactly what FB Menu does. The system integrates with existing POS systems and collects data from thousands of customer interactions. It then internalises this information to develop detailed insights into customers’ psychological profiles. FB Menu can also weigh every menu item to determine its capacity to increase in price and discover potential options for profit within your menu. The machine learning program also runs revenue-rich menu items through the ‘customer empathy filter’ created by the hybrid data scientist/psychologist, which can then generate a list of risk-reduced menu item price suggestions. FB Menu can automate competitor price analysis as well, eliminating guesswork. All you need to do is choose a menu item from the risk-reduced list and adjust the radius of your target market. The tool then generates a competitor price list — including automatic alerts whenever a competitor changes its prices — which can help you make informed decisions on how to increase yours, without taking risks.
The robot bartender is equipped with the latest in artificial intelligence technology, can recommend drinks based on your preferences, suggest food pairings, and even engage in small talk.
Interactive robot bartender mixes your favourite drinks and tells jokes
Get ready to meet the newest addition to the bartending scene — Cecilia.ai, the world’s first interactive bar bot. This cutting-edge technology is changing the game when it comes to serving up drinks. Imagine walking into a restaurant or bar and being greeted by a sleek and modern-looking robot, the size and shape of an arcade console game. As you approach, a digital screen comes to life, displaying the image of a woman behind a bar busy cleaning glasses, wiping down her virtual countertop, and ready to take your order. And Celia is not just any woman, but a strong and influential one. A pioneer. The bartender bot was named after Mary Louise Cecilia ‘Texas’ Guinan, an actress and entrepreneur famous for running bars and nightclubs in the US in the roaring ’20s. Cecilia.ai is equipped with the latest in artificial intelligence technology. She can recommend drinks based on your preferences, suggest food pairings, and even engage in small talk. With her advanced programming, Cecilia.ai is constantly learning and improving her interactions with customers, making her a valuable addition to any restaurant or bar. You simply walk up to her and tell her what you want to drink. She can tell you when a certain ingredient is unavailable and suggest another option. Once she’s prepared the drink, it is delivered through a slot in the machine. Cecilia.ai can be deployed at events, on cruise ships, at sports stadiums or airport lounges, or anywhere a joke-cracking, cocktail-making assistant would be welcome.
Augmented reality menus make meals come alive
As if touchscreen ordering wasn’t futuristic enough, some restaurants take providing efficiency another step further by offering their customers augmented reality menus. Imagine looking through your phone’s camera and seeing your food come to life right before your eyes. That’s the power of augmented reality. With this cutting-edge technology, diners can clearly see the differences between all of the various dishes on the menu and get a better understanding of what they’re ordering. As the diner moves their phone, the perspective of what they see in real time changes, making for an interactive and engaging experience. As we know, dining is a multi-sensory experience and we really ‘eat with our eyes’ first. AR menus are, therefore, the perfect way to help us choose the tastiest meal. While some chains have already started implementing AR technology in creative ways, such as turning pizza boxes into virtual arcades for playing games, the potential for AR menus is vast. As the technology continues to develop and evolve, it will become another valuable tool for restaurants to deal with labour shortages, increase customer engagement, and streamline operations. Combined with the aforementioned new self-service ordering options, AR menus will enable customers to engage with restaurants more effectively and more entertainingly by enabling dishes to almost come to life. Bob Vergidis, founder of pointofsale.cloud, says: “AR menus are great for creating the mouth-drooling experience that leads to guests actually trying new things. How many times have you been to a restaurant and didn’t order something new because you weren’t sure what it was going to be like?”
San Francisco opens the world’s first fully-autonomous robotic restaurant
The San Francisco-based startup Mezli, founded by a team of engineers from Stanford, has opened a fully-autonomous restaurant — the first in the world — where robots will serve customers a complete menu of hot meals. The idea behind the concept was to provide customers with healthy, affordable, and convenient food options without any need for human intervention. This makes the building and running of a restaurant many times cheaper than traditional fast-casual restaurants, and results in a much smaller carbon footprint per establishment. The engineers partnered with Michelin-star chef Eric Minnich to develop the robotic culinary innovation that offers made-to-order, fully-customisable hot meals. The menu will offer more than 60.000 variations of Mediterranean-themed grain bowls, depending on the add-ons, substitutions, or sides ordered. Installed in a shipping container-type building, the Mezli food units contain a high oven and robots that heat up prepared ingredients that are combined in various ways. The customer selects from one of the digital screens — for instance, a bowl of turmeric rice and hummus, vegetables with spiced lamb and tzatziki, or a falafel dish. Then, the robots inside the unit heat up the ingredients and place them into a bowl. Minutes later, the order is dispensed from a pickup window where the customer can collect it. The only human element in this entire process is the pre-preparation of the ingredients, which is done by a team of cooks in an off-site kitchen, and according to food safety guidelines. Alex Kolchinski, Mezli’s CEO and co-founder says: “The nice thing is that these [machines] are agnostic to what they serve. So it really is a matter of updating the ingredients that are delivered in the morning, and the software that lets people order, and you can have a whole new menu”.
The restaurant industry is undergoing a technological revolution, with innovative technologies transforming the way food is prepared, served, and consumed. Voice AI-powered ordering systems are becoming increasingly vital for businesses looking to stay competitive and provide the best possible experience for their customers. These systems can help restaurants increase revenue while reducing costs, allowing staff to focus on other important tasks, such as customer service and sales. By automating tasks and improving efficiency, these systems enable customers to place orders using natural language, which improves the ordering process, increases efficiency, and reduces the need for manual labour. The industry is also embracing AI-powered robots that can handle all kinds of kitchen-related tasks, like dishwashing and cleaning. Some tech startups even go so far as to open fully-autonomous restaurants where robots serve customers a complete menu of hot meals. The future of restaurants is more daring and creative than ever, with a growing emphasis on delivering unique and memorable experiences that leave diners returning for more. With technology at the forefront of this transformation, the possibilities are virtually endless, and the stage is set for a new generation of entrepreneurs to take the industry to exciting new heights.