Revolutionizing Operations: The Role of Restaurant Automation

Published on:
March 8, 2024
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The market for artificial intelligence in food is estimated to be worth $9.68 billion in 2024, with a compound annual growth rate of 38.30% to $48.99 billion by 2029. Restaurants in 2024 will be able to outrun their competition, have a quicker turnaround time, and give a more personal experience using AI technology. They will be able to give discounts automatically, greet customers, make a reservation, provide meal recommendations, and much more with the help of AI technology. All of these advancements will dramatically change restaurants shortly.

Forward-thinking restaurateurs are unlocking new possibilities that not only optimize backend processes but elevate guest satisfaction through automation tools.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is now becoming standard in the restaurant industry and is greatly helping to boost the effectiveness and efficiency of restaurants.

With the utilization of AI, chatbots-driven solutions are enabling not just a one-stop personalized experience for customers but also helping to repay inventory management using predictive analytics.

All of this can be done using AI solutions and keeping up with the latest tech has never been as easy as today. The current trends in the food-service industry have also been another breed for the apparent attraction for AI solutions in the business.

However, like any new technology, it can be hard to figure out how to use it and implement it into your business, especially in a restaurant.

Fortunately, we’ve done the entire research so you can avoid going into all the exploring work. However, before we discuss the pros of restaurant automation, let’s explore the types of restaurant automation systems.

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Types of Restaurant Automation System(s)

  1. Self-Ordering Kiosks

Long gone are the days of long queues and order inaccuracies.

Self-ordering menus are an advent to the restaurant industry that allows customers to browse the menu, place orders, and even pay for remote orders. In 2020, the self-service kiosk industry was estimated to be worth $12.05 billion.

Even better is its ease of customizing orders, adding modifiers, and almost creating your menu item. Not only speeding the ordering process up drastically, but the lack of interference from those inefficient human beings allowed my order to be correct resulting in that all-important customer satisfaction.

  1. Operational Efficiency Software

Operational efficiency software is essential to running a profitable restaurant and these software solutions enable management to improve all aspects of running the restaurant. From reservation management to workflow in the kitchen & and waiter service, these restaurant automation systems will improve productivity throughout the restaurant. 

These AI tools will analyze real-time data from a host of information and enable making more informed decisions about staffing, inventory levels, and future menu offerings. With statistics on what is happening in your business, they give you the ability to make better proactive decisions using tools like automated scheduling and predictive analysis to help run a smooth and highly profitable restaurant.

  1. Dedicated mobile apps for restaurant managers and line managers

In today’s world, mobile apps are a necessity for restaurant management. Mobile apps have features such as tools for managing sale inventory, scheduling employees, and monitoring performance like never before. Managers can access real-time data and analytics from anywhere, allowing them to make quick decisions and allocate resources efficiently. Communication channels allow everyone on the team to easily collaborate. It is projected that by 2027, the usage of AI and robotics in fast-food restaurants will have increased by 69%.

Managers can execute multiple tasks in a time-efficient, effective fashion with mobile apps. Whether managers are updating menu items, inventory levels, sales trends, etc., dedicated mobile apps are enabling individuals to stay plugged into their area of control.

Benefits of Restaurant Automation

  1. Improving the Efficiency of FOH OPERATIONS:

Self-ordering kiosks and reservation systems have emerged as powerful tools for simplifying front-of-house operations.

Customers can now order and make reservations on their own, such technologies include self-ordering kiosks and reservation systems. Using these systems, customers can decrease the time they wait in front of a restaurant and optimize their dining experience. Self-ordering kiosks enable customers to look at a menu, customization to their orders and pay for their order, thus eliminating the need to manually order and expedite service.

 Similarly, the reservation systems allow restaurants to have the capacity of seating right, reducing overcrowding and minimizing the waiting time for walk-in customers.

By utilizing self-ordering kiosks and reservation systems restaurants can ease out the dining experience for their customers leading to happy and content customers, therefore, leading them to be repeat customers.

  1. Streamline BOH Activities 

Efficiency in the fast-paced restaurant kitchen environment is imperative, and inventory management systems and kitchen display systems play a large role in the streamlining of back-of-house operations and overall efficacy.

Inventory management automation guarantees prompt ingredient replenishment, lowering stockouts and diminishing over-ordering. By digitizing order tickets, KDS systems give chefs an up-to-the-minute conception of incoming orders. Chefs can then arrange tasks appropriately, ensuring optimum kitchen workflow.

  1. Increase in Tip-Out

With a restaurant automation system, restaurants can not only improve sales but they can also increase tips as well. An example would be self-ordering kiosks.

By installing self-ordering kiosks in a restaurant it allows the customer to input orders more accurately and in less time. Which means less overall wait time and increased customer satisfaction. Another would be implementing a reservation system, this allows for customers to be seated even faster, thus furthering the convenience factor. Robot work might save the fast-food sector $11 billion every year.

Allowing the restaurant to operate more efficiently and increasing wait staff incentive to give top-notch service, thus perhaps increasing the tip amount left by the customer.

  1. Improved Staff Communication

Communication is key for a restaurant to succeed and suitable automated tools allow for a smooth real-time operational pace. Automated scheduling tools can allow a manager to build a schedule that optimizes the staff based on the information in the system.

 When staff put their availability, skills, and certification in the system management can choose to optimize staff to build the schedule. This takes out human error and in turn, allows accurate scheduling patterns that take significantly less time than manually building a schedule. Moreover, Communication tools allow staff members to communicate via a platform that the employer can use for all purposes. Messaging apps, digital platforms, and more allow staff of many to tell all staff of many about different promotions, specials are other items in store in real time.

  1. Kitchen Operations and Quality Control

Maintaining quality control of a commercial restaurant kitchen is paramount. Machines that leverage artificial intelligence, bring enhanced efficiency and quality to kitchen operations in a rather creative way. This includes tasks such as prioritization, quality control measures, food safety, and regulatory compliance. 

AI tools are constantly analyzing incoming orders determining the most logical and efficient way to prepare them. By prioritizing all the different aspects of a meal from cooking time, ingredient availability, and even a customer’s desired dish. This information allows AI-powered machines to start preparing with time to spare ensuring an on-time dish. 

Implementing Automation and AI in Restaurants

Assessing Restaurant Needs

Assessing your particular needs, abilities, and challenges is the first and most essential step to implementation. 

  • You must evaluate your current operations to pinpoint where automation and AI can offer the greatest savings or benefits to your company.
  • Conduct an in-depth workflow analysis and discover where your pain points are in terms of time, accuracy, and efficiency.
  • Examine the areas for improvement – perhaps it’s the time it takes to process an order, inventory turnover, customer service efficiencies, or streamlining of the kitchen.

Choose the Right Solutions

After a restaurant identifies its specific AI and automation technology needs, the next step is to choose the right solutions. There are a few factors to consider when making this decision including scalability, integration capabilities, and user-friendliness.

 Scalability is important to ensure that the chosen technology investment can grow and evolve with the business's changing needs and goals in the future.

Integration capabilities enable connectivity between the AI and automation technologies and the other systems and processes already in use by the restaurant, reducing disruption and enhancing efficiency. User-friendliness is also important to ensure that the technology solutions can be easily adopted and used by the staff, reducing the amount of training required but also increasing productivity.

Training Staff and Management

37% of restaurant operators believe that the complexity of integrating new technology is the most significant obstacle to automation.

Implementing automation and AI systems in restaurants relies heavily on training staff and having management buy-in. Restaurant owners and managers should implement comprehensive training programs to ensure that staff members know how to use the new technology effectively. Training should not only cover the technical aspects but also the benefits of implementing automation and AI in the restaurant and how it can contribute to the restaurant's success. 

Continuous Improvement and Adaptation

Furthermore, implementing automation and AI in restaurants is not a one-time venture, but is an ongoing process of continuous improvement and adaptation.

Restaurant owners and managers should regularly evaluate the performance of automation and AI systems, gathering feedback from staff and customers, and identifying areas for improvement.

As technology evolves and business requirements change, restaurants must be flexible and agile, tweaking their automation and AI strategies accordingly. This may involve upgrading systems, incorporating new technologies, or refining processes to maximize performance and out-compete opponents.

Wrapping it Up

Restaurant Automation has become an incredibly valuable asset, benefiting both established brands and start-ups alike.

Not only does the restaurant automation system improve efficiencies and boost customer service it also provides a platform for industry compliance and can help promote standards and assist with accountability.

Xenia is an agile mobile-first solution, built for a fast-paced environment that empowers restaurant managers and staff to proactively manage their operations and unlock new levels of savings and efficiency.

Leading the industry with an extensive feature set including task and work order management, template/centralized SOP management, smart reporting and analytics, AI-powered SOPs, custom template builder, and much more.

The future role of automation has limitless possibilities that will continue to shape the way restaurants operate and bring value that has yet to be realized by any current businesses and restaurant patron.

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