Updated: May 16, 2019
Is Elon Musk creating an artificially intelligent cashless restaurant that makes the perfect drink, serves a perfectly cooked steak and is 99% controlled by robots?
Nope! Elon Musk isn't working on an AI based restaurant but artificial intelligence for restaurants is slowly and quietly creeping into the industry. NO I'm not talking about walking, talking sci-fi robots. I'm talking about really useful machine intelligence. The kind of intelligence that can help us make real business decisions, help us to better understand our customers and save us thousands. The type of intelligence that integrates with our current restaurant systems, is affordable and can change an industry forever!
The reality is that the restaurant industry is one of the slowest industries to adopt change and we can only guess why.
Maybe it’s because too many owner-managers will OVER SIMPLIFY what it takes to run a successful restaurant or they simply don’t like or feel the need to change. Other times, profits are just so low that the restaurant literally, can't afford to invest in anything beyond inventory and labor.
Despite any of the above reasons, the restaurant industry has been one of the primary targets for the adoption of artificial intelligence because of its low margins, high employee turnover and fast paced environment. The restaurant industry is perfect for machine intelligent programs (not robots)!
Whether you’re in the restaurant industry or not, we’ve all heard about the on-coming advances in artificial intelligence. Robots taking over our jobs creating cashless, server-less environments that cost a fraction of what it cost to hire a real person. But where are they??? Is artificial intelligence just a bunch of hype that will have marginal affects which are mostly limited to autonomous cars and talking bots that reminds us of appointments and answers general questions.......
Don’t get me wrong. I do believe that one day we’ll get to the point in which we’re in a restaurant and a robot is our waiter, our hostess and our cook. Heck I even believe that more than 50% of your restaurant business strategy will be based on artificially intelligent suggestions in the very near future.
As a matter of fact, I believe that the restaurant industry as a whole will be the first to make ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE apart of its everyday business model.
Don’t believe me???
Stop for a second and think of the typical restaurant back in the 1980’s. POS systems were being introduced but for the most part, if you owned a restaurant, you used a cash register and unless your restaurant was a small family owned restaurant, you were probably losing tens of thousands of dollars!! Then one day, someone figured out a way to make cash registers smarter and all of a sudden, you could get rich owning restaurants!
I believe that we’re now about to hit a new wave of technology that will make a similar impact that occurred when the industry went from the cash register to the POS. The industry that’s slow to adopt almost any new form of technology could be the industry that leads the way when it comes to artificial intelligence (only surpassed by the car industry).
Nope, I’m not talking about robots taking orders or talking boxes that greet you at the door. I’m talking about real world decision making tools that looks at a wide range of data and presents you with the options that are designed to help your restaurant succeed.
· What should I order?
· When should I order?
· How much should I order?
· Who should I order from?
· Who should I schedule?
· Who should I hire?
· Will I be profitable today?
· If I won’t be profitable, why not?
· Where am I losing money?
· How am I losing money?
· Should I expand?
· Will my customers like this product?
· Why are my customers coming from?
· How will the new restaurant next door affect my sales?
· Why are my customers not returning?
· More, More, More
Mark Cuban recently mentioned in an article that individuals who don’t understand artificial intelligence are at risk of being left behind. We would be so bold to say that ALL restaurants, at some point in the near future, will be run primarily based on suggestions driven by artificial intelligence and for those restaurants who insist on not changing, will be simply left behind!