AI technology has an increasingly important role within the food and beverage industry. So much so that PRNewswire reports how the need for artificial intelligence is expected to grow by 43% in the next four years. The market for this software is currently worth $5.6 billion as more companies are investing in it to improve their organization’s operations. This is why modern business leaders across all industries are trained in AI, with universities in particular focusing on increasing business leaders’ horizons through new technology. Maryville University’s business administration program represents how modern courses are designed to help entrepreneurs succeed in this rapidly changing world through teaching them the latest trends. And for many of those going into the hospitality industry this rapid change relates to the adoption of AI technology.
While this technology certainly has a multifunctional role within the hospitality industry, one of the many aspects of operations it can lend a hand to is drive-thrus. Due to labor shortages and mishandling by management, CNN explains that drive-thrus have now become a liability for several restaurants since they cause order backups and bog down operations. This is why more drive-thru owners are turning to AI.
Efficient Order Taking
Our article on ‘Driving Revenue Through Automation’ highlights how AI can replace people when it comes to ordering taking at drive-thrus. They can provide better efficiency than their human counterparts while committing fewer communication errors. As one of the first companies to scale AI across many stores, we at Hi Auto have observed how voice ordering technology provides a more streamlined flow for workers, while cutting down food waste and generating more income through upselling for the business. Since one of the biggest selling points of drive-thrus is the fact that patrons can be in and out in an instant, integrating AI will shorten their waiting time, making them more satisfied with your restaurant. The hope is that AI will cut down waiting times, which jumped from 190 seconds in 2003 to 234 seconds in 2018. A cut down in time would make for much more efficient order taking.
Consistent Customer Service
Customer service is a key pillar of any drive-thru as it will determine if the customer will return. Automating the ordering will not only speed up the wait times but also reduce any chance of human error. Hi Auto is a conversational AI solution being used by Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken Restaurant, Checkers and Rally’s, as well as other brands — with the technology greeting customers and suggesting additional items based on the order. This helps boost revenue as it was found that human employees would only suggest items 1 out of 20 times compared to Hi Auto which did it as often as possible.
Ease in Predicting Consumer Behavior
A study published in the Food Engineering Reviews journal explains how the main way AI are used within the food industry is through data collection. When they are being used to take orders, AI can record which food items your customers regularly buy and during which time of day. With this, you will have a better understanding of your patron’s behaviors and know when to have stock of which meals, which menu items you should keep extra, and which are bought least. Keeping track of your drive-thru inventory in this way ensures that you won’t run out of your best-selling meals and keep customers satisfied with your store, in turn, boosting sales. This also helps reduce food waste since you won’t have too much surplus of the meals patrons are not ordering.
AI is the key to increasing profits through better efficiency, customer service, and behavior prediction. Integrating them into your drive-thrus is also the best way to alleviate administrative challenges and create a better flow for your workers.
Writer Ashla Lewis