This article was written for Hospitality Technology by Mark Calvillo, SVP of Product at Restaurant365.
In the restaurant industry, AI can be used for filling voids for operators who are struggling to find staff.
The buzz of advanced AI tools like ChatGPT has a lot of people asking how it will impact their industry and their jobs. A recent study found that AI could affect or eliminate one-quarter of jobs in the United States in the next decade.
In its own description, ChatGPT is “an AI-powered chatbot developed by OpenAI, based on the GPT (Generative Pretrained Transformer) language model. It uses deep learning techniques to generate human-like responses to text inputs in a conversational manner.”
The future of AI & restaurant jobs
Whether a restaurant operator is experimenting with new menu items or looking to enhance a location’s marketing efforts, ChatGPT will often give some insight that couldn’t be found elsewhere. Unlike a Google search, which ultimately take a user to a single source, AI uses multiple sources including Wikipedia, books, news articles, and scientific journals to blend ideas together.
While the application of AI may seem to be endless, it isn’t likely to replace a chef or waitstaff anytime soon. In the restaurant industry, rather than replacing humans, AI can be used for filling voids for operators who are struggling to find staff. Operators can continue to grow their business, even when understaffed, by automating many redundant, time-consuming tasks.
Beefing up menu items and descriptions
One of the more interesting – and addicting – parts of ChatGPT is that there are no bounds for what it can be asked. The tool can be used to create a restaurant menu based on user inputs and generate appetizing descriptions to help sell the items.
Assisting in drive-thru orders
Voice assistants are anything but new, as anyone who has dealt with a customer service line would know. But as they become more sophisticated, AI-powered voice assistants are now able to handle more complex tasks like taking drive-thru orders.
In late 2022, restaurant chains like Del Taco and Panera Bread piloted AI assistants in their drive-thru’s. The technologies can take customer orders, send them to the store’s POS, and even offer upsells to customers without human intervention.
Analyzing & responding to customer reviews
Restaurants rely on customer reviews more than almost any other industry. AI can help manage a brand’s online reputation by analyzing conversations on social media and reviewing sites like Yelp, Facebook, and Google. It then uses those reviews to identify any patterns to alert operators to problem areas like customer service or food quality.
ChatGPT can also help generate content to deliver personalized, relevant responses to each reviewer, enhancing the customer experience and brand reputation.
ChatGPT is an effective way to increase a restaurant’s marketing efforts. It can help with targeted email campaigns by creating targeted lists and generating promotional copy based on customer’s ordering preferences – boosting both sales and customer satisfaction.
It is also an effective tool for creating blog posts, newsletters, press releases, engaging in social media, and optimizing a website’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which is critical to ensure the restaurant turns up in relevant Google searches.
Supporting human resources
AI and ChatGPT can save a lot of time and effort in the human resources department by automating almost every step of the hiring process. Job descriptions can be autogenerated, candidates matched based on skill, and background checks run to de-select unqualified candidates. Once the best candidates have been selected, these tools can also streamline the creation of employee handbooks and training materials, onboarding, performance management, and employee engagement.
Restaurants hold a special place in our hearts. It is a place where people gather with loved ones for dining experiences to celebrate special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, and promotions. Neither AI nor ChatGPT can replace the human touch required in the restaurant industry. It can, however, change our industry by saving operators time and money by improving efficiency and streamlining repetitive tasks.