3 Ways to Use Restaurant Automation to Boost Sales

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Harry Maule
November 15, 2023
A sushi restaurant is using automation to deliver meals to customers via a conveyor belt.

The rise of restaurant automation is part of a wider trend that is revolutionizing many industries. From manufacturing and healthcare to transportation and retail, the automation of tasks previously carried out by humans is transforming the way businesses operate, opening up new opportunities and challenges.

There are numerous key points in the dining experience that can be enhanced by the use of automation, from customer service and ordering to consistently delivering high-quality food. In this article, we will explore how restaurant automation can streamline operations and boost sales. Let’s dive in!  

Using AI Chatbots for Restaurant Automation

AI chatbots are computer programs that mimic conversations with humans. They can be used for various purposes to improve your restaurant’s operations, such as: 

  • Customer service: AI chatbots allow you to provide 24/7 customer service support. They can answer customer questions about the menu and opening hours, take orders, and make reservations.
  • Marketing and sales: Use AI chatbots to promote new menu items, special offers, and upcoming events, as well as encouraging customer feedback.
  • Scalability: AI chatbots can be easily scaled to meet the needs of restaurants of all sizes.
  • Cost savings: AI chatbots can help restaurants save money on labor costs by automating tasks such as taking orders and answering customer questions.

In 2016, Pizza Hut launched its AI chatbot, providing an excellent example of how automation can help both restaurants and their customers. The chatbot can take pizza orders through Facebook Messenger and Twitter, improving the accuracy of orders, reducing wait times, and making it easy for customers to order their favorite pizza.

The chatbot provides customers with an email confirmation that the order was placed correctly, updates about their delivery time, and allows for increased personalization. It can also provide details about promotions and special menu items unique to customers’ local stores.

Pizza Hut has demonstrated that using AI chatbots can improve customer experience, increase operational efficiency, and increase sales by expanding its reach to the next generation of tech-savvy customers.

A restaurant customer is using their phone to chat with an online chat bot automation for an inquiry

AI-Powered Personalization

When customers visit your restaurant, they want to feel special, instead of just another number. You can provide this by using AI-powered personalization to deliver an unrivaled dining experience.

AI can be used to understand each customer’s preferences and dietary requirements. For example, it can analyze order history, reviews, and stated dietary restrictions to provide suggestions that are tailored to what customers are most likely to enjoy.

By building a picture of what your customers like and don’t like, it allows you to offer them personalized benefits, such as: 

  • Tailored promotions: Do you have a new vegetarian dish on the menu? Let this customer segment know in a targeted email.
  • Loyalty programs: Personalization doesn’t just mean what people eat, but when they eat. Have customers who dine with you every weekend? Why not reward them with a discount coupon, solidifying their status as a happy, loyal customer.
  • Personalized meal recommendations: Knowing what customers do like can give you big clues as to what they might like. Why not use your AI chatbot to suggest menu items you think they’ll enjoy.

AI enables you to know your customers better by using data analysis and feedback to enhance the customer experience, boost sales, and develop new products that are aligned with customer preferences.

A customer is using a self-serve kiosk to order food.

AI-Powered Kitchen Management for Restaurant Automation

The kitchen is the beating heart of your restaurant. Automation can be used here too, improving your processes and ensuring your customers get great-tasting food every time. Robots cooking food may seem bizarre, but as Matt Bassil of PizzaHQ says, “If it tastes good, the average consumer is not going to care how it’s made.”

Automated Cooking Appliances

One of the main challenges your kitchen faces is keeping up with demand. Automated cooking appliances use robots and AI to prepare and cook food with no or minimal human intervention.

The bottom line is that robots are able to prepare and cook certain foods quicker than humans can. For example, PizzaHQ can produce 300 pizzas an hour, while Flippy can cook 150 burgers an hour. By saving you time, such appliances can allow your restaurant to meet high-demand periods and take on larger orders, thus increasing revenue.

There are other benefits too, such as: 

  • Improved consistency and quality: Customers expect high-quality food every time, and automated appliances work so precisely that they can easily deliver this.
  • Reduced labor costs: Producing the same or more food with fewer staff can help reduce labor costs. Or you can free up your busy chefs to spend more time on cooking tasks that can’t be automated.
  • Reduce food waste: By preventing overcooking, optimizing food cutting, and controlling portion sizes accurately, automation can help reduce costly food waste.

Inventory Management Systems

Inventory management systems use AI-powered software to track and manage food inventory levels. This can allow you to improve stock visibility, create forecasts, classify your inventory, and automatically create optimal stock orders.

By keeping on top of your inventory, your restaurant will be better able to: 

  • Control costs
  • Avoid overstocking
  • Reduce food waste
  • Cope with high demand

Ultimately, automated cooking appliances and inventory management systems can save your business time, reduce waste, and increase efficiency and profitability.

A restaurant manager is using an inventory management automation platform to track trends.

Final Thoughts on Leveraging Restaurant Automation

Restaurant automation has shaken the restaurant industry to its core, impacting every corner from customer service interactions to inventory management through to kitchen operations. Heavyweight brands have already embraced it and are reveling in the riches of enhanced efficiency, reduced labor costs, improved customer satisfaction, and increased profitability.

Ready to leverage AI and automation to streamline your restaurant’s people management? Learn how Push can help

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November 2023


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