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In what ways will AI affect restaurant operations?

A new wave of industrial revolution is here --- AI (artificial intelligence) will change everything we do. Undoubtedly, AI can improve restaurant operations.   

Menu Engineering and Quality Control 
AI can provide insights into a restaurant’s menu offerings and pricing strategies based on consumer data and market trends. Restaurant owners can adjust the recipes/menu and price accordingly. 
AI can help restaurants monitor food temperature, cleanliness, and safety procedures, ensuring they comply with health and safety regulations. For example, AI can remind a sushi chef to replace a sushi plate that has been “sitting” on the conveyor belt for too long with a more popular item.  
Consumer Experience
AI can help restaurants create location-based, personalized marketing campaigns to reach specific and targeted customers at the right time. Then, AI-empowered chatbots, reservation, and table management systems can help restaurants answer customer inquiries, manage reservations, and optimize seating arrangements. 
Many restaurants have already asked customers to place and track orders with an app or tablet, reducing the processing time and human errors. Consumers also feel more engaged when interacting with the app or tablet. Finally, restaurants can use AI to analyze consumer reviews for areas for improvement and consumer sentiments. 
Talent Management
AI can help with forecasting and scheduling. Managers can generate optimal schedules and work hours based on anticipated demand. Employees will find managing food and service quality easier when AI triggers reminders for potential issues (e.g., food temperature and wait time). Finally, AI can analyze employee morale and level of engagement, enabling restaurant owners to develop more effective retention strategies.
Inventory Management and Cost Control
AI can help predict demands based on historical data, weather, holidays, local events, and other factors. Moreover, AI can monitor real-time inventory. Automatic orders can be placed when inventory becomes low. A just-in-time inventory management system can help restaurant owners optimize inventory and reduce food waste. 
Additionally, AI can help analyze energy/water usage, control lighting/AC, etc. Restaurants can also manage labor costs more efficiently with an AI-empowered talent management system. 
Other Areas
Financial security is crucial. Besides tracking abnormal consumer behaviors and food quality issues, AI can identify suspicious transactions, too.  
Is that all? What other areas do you see AI will benefit restaurant owners? 

Note: This article is also available on Hospitality News Magazine


  1. I really enjoyed reading this article as it pertains to our society today. We very much live in a technological society and it makes perfect sense that we are slowly incorporating AI into our hospitality businesses. I think it's a great idea to utilize AI for finding market trends, figuring out pricing strategies, managing reservations, scheduling, and so many more. My only concern with AI is that it also takes away jobs for humans. I personally don't enjoy the AI robot servers we have in some businesses. I think this takes away from guest interaction and the ability to make tips. I'd like the AI presence in a hospitality business to be helpful, not take away jobs.

  2. AI has the potential to transform aspects of restaurant operations. For example it can elevate customer interactions by offering suggestions based on orders or preferences which can enhance customer loyalty. In the kitchen AI powered robots could support chefs by taking care of tasks such, as chopping or mixing leading to preparation times and reducing physical strain on workers. Additionally AI has the capability to contribute to sustainability initiatives by analyzing data to minimize energy usage and waste production. Furthermore through maintenance enabled by AI businesses can anticipate equipment malfunctions in advance preventing down times. The integration of AI into the restaurant sector not promises efficiency but also signifies a significant step, towards innovation and sustainability. Leo Carter

  3. Dr. Kwok,
    Before reading your article, I was unaware of just how involved artificial intelligence could be in a restaurant's operations. When it comes to using AI, I have the philosophy that it should be used to assist human operations; not to completely replace it. Using AI can provide negative consequences if abused so it makes me feel better to know that it's being used in a responsible way. When I was thinking of other ways in which AI could assist in a restaurant operations, the first thing that came to mind was employee selection. An AI software could easily pick out the best candidates for any restaurant job.
    - 04/16/2024

  4. Thanks for sharing the article. Before reading your article, I knew AI was going to be powerful, and more people would lose their jobs. However, I didn't realize it was already so incredibly powerful, especially in helping owners manage almost everything. I feel like because of AI, restaurant owners can reduce the number of employees needed. The only experiences I've had with AI is when a robot delivered food to my table at the restaurant, Haidilao in Rowland Heights 4 months ago, and when a robot delivered some items to my room at a hotel in China last year. Another thing that surprised me was the emergence of restaurants opening with no employees present. You can simply walk in, place your order, and the robot will cook for you and bring the food to your table. After eating, you can just walk out without paying because when you entered the restaurant, they already scanned your face and connected it to your information on Alipay (similar to Apple Pay in the US).

  5. I thought this was a very interesting article to read. I already knew that AI was used in scheduling and inventory management since I did my blog post assignment on the use of artificial intelligence in hotels. However, I didn’t know that it was also usable for changing menu items. The use of AI in not just hospitality, but in business in general is definitely going to be a major source of discussion. Personally, I believe it is going to depend on how the restaurant uses this technology. As for how it can be used in other ways, I believe AI could be used in tracking if customers have certain menu items they like or special requests.

  6. AI has indeed brought about a new era in restaurant operations, offering transformative solutions that enhance efficiency, customer experience, and profitability. Menu engineering and quality control are just the tip of the iceberg; AI's predictive capabilities can optimize inventory management, talent scheduling, and even maintenance of kitchen equipment, ensuring smooth operations and cost savings. Moreover, AI-driven consumer insights enable personalized marketing campaigns, bolstering customer engagement and loyalty. With AI's ability to analyze data in real-time, restaurant owners can make informed decisions across various fronts, ultimately driving growth and success in an ever-evolving industry.(yufeng zhao)

  7. Honesty AI is quite fascinating due to so many changes it adds and honestly, it's exciting to see some of these changes. However, I do hope that with these changes, it does not end up taking too many jobs or just being bad in general for the workers. For the consumers it will be great for us, but I can definitely see some negatives. Other than that, though seeing how AI has evolved. There was a robot that could move boxes into shelfs and something similar could happen where a robot can manage to cook and monitor many types of food saving some time for chefs. There is infinite potential, and we will have to see how A.I changes.

  8. I find AI to be very intriguing as there are many benefits to the overall infrastructure of it being implemented within the Hospitality industry. However, I do worry about the negative effects that may happen due to this. Many people rely on these jobs to support themselves for a living and implementing AI may bring a more competitive outlook in the industry with specific jobs being limited. However, this can bring about even new opportunities as it may create new jobs for maintenance of these machines. AI certainly allows more efficiency and the evolution of it being implemented has been phenomenal.

  9. I find AI to be very intriguing as there are many benefits to the overall infrastructure of it being implemented within the Hospitality industry. However, I do worry about the negative effects that may happen due to this. Many people rely on these jobs to support themselves for a living and implementing AI may bring a more competitive outlook in the industry with specific jobs being limited. However, this can bring about even new opportunities as it may create new jobs for maintenance of these machines. AI certainly allows more efficiency and the evolution of it being implemented has been phenomenal.

  10. This article was very fascinating to read. In our society I hear so many of the negative affects of AI in the industry I hardly hear anyone speak about the benefits it offers to the industry. The world is going AI in such a rapid pace that our industry is trying to catch up to the new trends. As I read your article it seems as our industry for the most part is still using AI for a way of support and not dependency. What I mean by that is we are still doing things manually just with a little help of AI to make it easier and faster. However, we aren't relying on it as a whole where we are replacing humans for Robots to be workers. I believe AI has come a long way in helping the Hospitality industry but I don't believe it will replace humans. The social aspect and interaction is such a crucial part in hospitality and AI cant easily replace that. I do believe however, AI has other potential in the industry to make more of a difference as its doing now.
    -Michelle Martinez

  11. My initial thoughts on AI before I read this article was more on the negative side. The main thought I had was that people could lose their jobs due to the trade-in with AI. After reading the article I realized that there could be more positive reasons than negative ones. Scheduling and forecasting can make managers' lives easier with AI. AI could have a positive impact on managers and employees in a hotel by limiting stress and increasing labor activity. AI can help set up goals and tasks which can allow employees to focus on personalized guest interactions. That standpoint alone, there will always be more positive than negative outcomes when it comes to AI and how it can help the hospitality industry.
    - Michelle Wright

  12. AI is a huge part of our society and is prominent in so many different careers. I never thought of many ways that AI has been implemented into restaurant operations but this article highlights the variety of services it has to offer. Although I think AI could potentially put increasing numbers of employees out of work, reading this article demonstrated the side of AI that enhances employee productivity. I think this is a really positive aspect because the benefits that AI can offer such as estimated seating and wait times and reminding chefs of food that needs to go out, all provide efficient restaurant operations. Along with this comes increased customer satisfaction and a smoother workplace environment, which is what the hospitality industry is all about.

    1. Hey Sarah, I agree with your statement. AI has become a part of us and it has helped us a lot, but if I am being completely honest, we need AI up to a certain extent, we have people trying to use that to scam other people and I really hate that, however, AI has helped operations in the Hospitality industry run quicker. So like I said we need it up to a certain extent

  13. After reading this article, I have to say I am very impressed with it, very detailed and it overall it was good. When it coms to AI, AI has taken over a lot of things besides the hospitality industry or operations. It has taken over music, writings, I see kids use it to write a complete essay and turn I in as their own. Now the way I see it, AI has some pros and cons. The pros is, it is a quick way to learn something, and it can help you with anything that you need, and it can speed operations up. The cons is that we will depend on it, and maybe other things can occur that we would not like. Almost a month ago, I saw a AI bot deliver door dash food in Los Angeles, that’s how fast and quick it has evolved. So overall, it impacted us in a good and bad way, and we need it to a certain extent.
    -Nicholas Vasquez

  14. I think that with any new invention, they all have their pros, and their cons. AI can certainly be incredibly useful and help simplify everyday life, but we have already seen its negative effects. For example, many people in creative fields such as film and art have begun to lose their jobs because customers are not inquiring their services due to AI's ability to create "art pieces". Film studios used AI during the writers' strike that took place a few months ago and afterwards claimed that there was a high possibility that employees would not be returning to their jobs because artificial intelligence was cheaper than paying human beings. In contrast with the hospitality field, more specifically the food and beverage area, it would be incredibly hard to replace certain positions such as chefs. As mentioned in this post and from my point of view, AI would be a very beneficial tool to help simplify and improve one's job. By implementing this resource, less energy can be spent on trivial tasks that can be easily handled by artificial intelligence, and hospitality professionals can spend more time on important tasks. -Karime Garcia


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