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How will AI like ChatGPT Change the Restaurant Industry?

Nate Lozier
Nate Lozier
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How will ChatGPT change restaurants? It’s a question I asked ChatGPT to write this article for me.

While the response wasn’t sufficient (for now), the buzz of advanced AI tools like ChatGPT have a lot of people asking how it will impact their industry and their jobs. And while ChatGPT isn’t likely to replace your chef or waitstaff anytime soon, AI is already driving an impact in many areas of the restaurant industry.

Here are a few ways AI is already being implemented in restaurants.

Food Photography

You’ve just created a new menu item and you’re dying to get it out to your diners on social media and GrubHub. In the past, you’d need to schedule a photographer to come shoot your creation with a fancy camera and lenses. But today, many restaurants are turning to AI to generate images of their new menu offerings. OpenAI, the startup behind ChatGPT, is also the company behind DALL-E, a lesser-known cousin of the chatbot that can generate images from just a few words. The company recently partnered with online ordering company Lunchbox to bring the tool to restaurants in need.

Still in its early stages, DALL-E has very few filters and will allow you to create any combination of food, even ones we probably wont see on a menu anytime soon. A case in point from the inputs “tuna” + “pizza”:

DALL-E’s applications go beyond just images of food. Chefs have also used the AI image generator to design menu and décor for their restaurants.

Voice Assisted Drive-Thru Orders

Voice assistants are anything but new, as anyone who has dealt with a customer service line can tell you. But as they become more sophisticated, AI-power voice assists are now able to handle more complex tasks like taking drive-thru orders.

In late 2022, restaurant chains like Del Taco and Panera Bread have piloted AI assistants in their drive-thru. 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. A company called ChatMeter is aiming to help restaurants, amongst other brands, manage their reputation online.

The company uses AI to analyze conversations about brands on social media and review sites like Yelp, Facebook, and Google. It then uses those reviews to identify any problem areas like customer service or food quality. ChatMeter can also create content to respond to written reviews.

The Never-ending Uses of ChatGPT

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, social post, or entire business plan. And while you probably don’t want the chatbot in control of the more sensitive areas of your business like drafting an employee handbook, the applications seem to be endless.

Like the rest of us, restaurants can turn to the tool for inspiration. Whether you’re experimenting with a new menu item or looking for ways to reward your employees, ChatGPT will often give some insight you wont find elsewhere, including a Google search, which ultimately takes you to a single source. Instead, AI uses multiple sources to blend ideas together.

The Future of AI & Restaurant Jobs

AI is already starting to impact every industry and restaurants are no exception. A recent study found that AI could affect or eliminate one-quarter of jobs in the United States in the next decade.

Many of these jobs will be within the hospitality industry but may be a welcome addition for many restaurant operators who are struggling to find staff. While many see AI as replacing jobs, for restaurants, it will be filling a void.