Cutting-edge technology has arrived in the restaurant industry. In response to pandemic-era labor shortages, many restaurant chains are beginning to explore at least one innovative technology: artificial intelligence.
Who’s Using AI?
Dozens of different chains have been experimenting with AI, primarily in these two ways:
1. AI ordering. Chains like White Castle, Taco Bell (YUM), Del Taco (JACK), Carl’s Jr., and McDonald’s (MCD) are all implementing AI voice bots in drive-thrus. Additionally, Chipotle (CMG), Doordash (DASH), Wingstop (WING), and Domino’s (DPZ) are using similar technology to field phone orders.
2. Robotics: Chipotle is also using AI to power two kitchen-based robots: Chippy, a robotic fry cook, and AutoCado, an automated avocado slicer. Chick-fil-A is also experimenting with robots, mainly to help run food to guests.
Right now, most chains are testing these AI innovations at just a few locations. But if the new tech proves successful, these eateries could adapt the new systems nationwide.
The AI boom comes at the perfect time for an industry plagued by labor shortages and high turnover. According to the National Restaurant Association, roughly 58% of restaurants plan to use tech and automation to overcome labor shortages.
Restaurant chains that implement AI tools on a large scale have a unique opportunity to gain a competitive edge, saving money while also offering an enhanced customer experience.
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