How restaurant owners can boost their sales using Artificial Intelligence

How restaurant owners can boost their sales using Artificial Intelligence

Are you a restaurateur trying to pull a unsure customer who is feeling hungry, or hanging out with friends? What if he is short on time, or has no idea what they want to eat or drink, or what kind of music they want playing at the restaurant? What if all these questions are sorted out for your customer by a hidden, secret agent? Would you be scared? Maybe. Would you be intrigued? Likely. Would you be excited? For sure. Would you like to turn this secret agent to account? If the answer is 'yes', then the trigger has worked its magic on you. Welcome to the world of Artificial Intelligence!

Restaurant business is one of the few businesses which are fast-paced and make heavy demands on both restaurateurs and their workers. Thin margins and cut-throat competition means that apparently insignificant miscalculations and minor misreading of current trends can spell huge setbacks for restaurants. One of the biggest challenges facing a restaurateur is keeping abreast of the emerging customer demands.

When dining in, customers like to be pampered, served efficiently, given a variety of items to choose from, and an enchanting environment. They also expect to be offered the new food choices they have gathered from social media in addition to their favourite ones. Whether they walk-in or drive-through, customers expect to have their orders ready. All these considerations boil down to the following few things: an up-to-date food menu, efficient staff, speedy service and enticing environment; all subsets of customer satisfaction.

Customer satisfaction drives sales boost which is also tied to how the customer feels not just about the food but also their 'experience'. The big question then becomes: How to earn customer satisfaction given diminishing margins and incremental competition. In the pre-Artificial Intelligence era, it would have meant doom for restaurants. But not so now thanks to the world of possibilities presented by this amazingly handy scientific wonder.

With Artificial Intelligence around, there is a variety of ways restaurateurs could boost sales. Consider: David is hungry but doesn't have much time to run through restaurant menus. He wants something tasty, and quick. This is here that AI comes in. In an AI conversant restaurant, the AI agent/system would have David 'profiled' already .i.e., the record of not just his previous visits and bills, but also what did he order more frequently and on what days. Based on this information, the AI agent would 'recommend' a set of food items for David to choose from. It would 'think' for David. Given this, David will likely spend more, recommend more. Sales will go up. There are other ways AI agent can help. It can track and analyze staff performances on different hours of different days and recommend duty rosters based on staff efficiency which in turn would bring customer satisfaction. These are but few obvious examples. Thoughtful application of AI can help sky-rocket restaurant sales.

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