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AI in Restaurants: How to Use AI to Elevate Your Restaurant

Daniil Klubov Founder & Ceo of spoon.tech
Audri Adhyas Paul
March 30, 2023
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Restaurant Customer Service Training

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been making headlines for quite some time, but even more so recently, especially with the advent of generative AIs such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT. It is natural for restaurateurs to wonder what the implications of AI are for their restaurant businesses. So, as I asked ChatGPT to write me how…Just kidding, I wrote this by myself (mostly). In this article, we will share how you can leverage AI to help take your restaurant business to the next level.

What is AI?

Artificial intelligence is a field of science concerned with building computers and machines that can reason, learn, and act in such a way that would normally require human intelligence. It is a set of technology that can analyze vast amounts of data to make decisions, predict outcomes, and improve performance, and has a wide array of applications in various sectors.

AI in the restaurant industry

In the restaurant industry, AI technology can be leveraged to automate various processes in the front and backend, processes ranging from customer service and menu recommendations to inventory management and restaurant staff training. The benefits of AI are numerous, including improved efficiency, enhanced customer experience, cost savings, data-driven decision-making, and personalization.

  • Improved efficiency

At restaurants, many of the staff members have to spend a lot of time on repetitive manual tasks. AI can help to automate many such repetitive and time-consuming tasks in your restaurant, freeing up staff to focus on other essential areas of the business. For example, AI-powered systems can help streamline the ordering process, reducing wait times and increasing throughput.

  • Enhanced customer experience

AI can help personalize the customer experience, improving customer satisfaction and loyalty. Chatbots can provide 24/7 customer service, answering customer queries, taking orders, and making recommendations.

  • Cost savings

AI can help reduce costs by optimizing inventory levels, reducing waste, and streamlining operations. Predictive ordering can ensure that you always have the right amount of inventory on hand, reducing waste and spoilage.

  • Data-driven decision making

AI can analyze vast amounts of data, providing insights that can help inform critical business decisions. By analyzing data on customer preferences and behavior, you can make better decisions about menu offerings, pricing, and marketing.

  • Personalization

AI can help personalize the customer experience, offering personalized menu recommendations and promotions based on customer habits.

Use Cases:


Restaurants can enhance customer experience by being present for them 24/7, using AI chatbots. AI chatbots can be integrated into any of the restaurant’s communication channels such as website and social media handles. The chatbots have the capability to respond to customer inquiries and offer customized suggestions. Many small and large restaurants and chains have successfully integrated chatbots, for instance Domino’s launched Dom, Starbucks launched My Starbucks Barista, KFC went one step further to create an AI-enabled voice chatbot.

  • Delivery

AI-powered delivery platforms can optimize delivery routes and predict delivery times. For instance, Postmates has developed an AI-powered delivery system that uses data analytics and machine learning algorithms to optimize the delivery route and time, which can save up to 15% on delivery costs.  

  • Reservation

AI can analyze data to predict table availability and optimize reservation times. Companies like OpenTable and Resy are a reservation platform that uses AI to optimize reservation availability for restaurants.  

  • POS

AI-powered POS systems can analyze sales data to optimize menu offerings and pricing. For instance, Presto creates an AI-powered voice assistant for drive-thru restaurants which is used by many notable chains such as Del Taco, Applebee’s, Red Lobster and more.  

  • Self-Ordering Kiosks

AI-powered kiosks can provide personalized menu recommendations and streamline the ordering process. Many QSR restaurants and chains worldwide, such as McDonald’s, Burger King etc. use self-ordering kiosks. By incorporating AI in kiosks, restaurants can provide customers with personalized recommendations based on their order history and customer data.


  • Inventory

With AI integrated inventory management, restaurants can predict demand and optimize inventory levels more accurately, thereby significantly reducing waste. AI can help restaurants analyze previous purchase and inventory data to assess trends and recommend exactly what to buy, how much to buy and when to buy so that waste is minimal.

  • Marketing

Personalized, targeted ads and marketing has always been one of the biggest use areas of AI, regardless of sector. Restaurants can also use this to reach the right customers with the right tailored message, offers and promotions on any marketing platform it operates in, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Larger players such as Starbucks use AI to personalize mobile app experiences and provide customers with tailored offers and promotions. This way they can also uses AI to predict customers’ preferences and suggest menu items accordingly.

  • Menu

AI offers a wide range of applications for restaurants in menu design. Starting from simple methods such as asking ChatGPT for ideas and inspirations, to generating menu images – as done by the restaurant tech startup Lunchbox in collaboration with OpenAI’s Dall-E. But there can also be a more advanced use case, such as using AI to analyze customer data and preferences to create a more optimized menu layout, pricing, and even personalized recommendations.

AI can predict labor demand and optimize staffing schedules. For instance, 7shifts is a company that creates AI-integrated auto-scheduling tools. This allows restaurants to create and track efficient schedules in a compliant manner.  

  • Process Systemizing

Restaurant processes are highly dynamic, and one of the key challenges restaurants face is that the processes are not systemized or documented. Even if they are documented, it is done so in wordy, text-based documents that no one actually reads. AI can automate tasks and streamline processes, reducing the likelihood of errors and improving efficiency. For instance, spoon.tech uses AI to turn these word-based documents into systemized, engaging contents.  

Last but not the least, AI can help restaurants save time, cost and efforts of employee training and develop a capable workforce. An example of such service is spoon.tech, which uses AI to turn restaurant processes into gamified training contents for all employees to learn across multiple locations.

Challenges and Drawbacks

Despite the benefits, AI implementation in restaurants can also present some challenges and drawbacks. It's important for restaurant owners and operators to consider these potential obstacles before implementing AI technology in their business.

  • Implementation and integration

Implementing AI technology in a restaurant requires proper integration with existing systems and processes. It may be difficult and time-consuming to integrate new AI systems with legacy systems, and there may be a need for new hardware and software. This can cause disruptions in operations and result in downtime.

  • Cost

While AI technology can provide many benefits, some of it also requires a significant financial investment. The cost of implementing AI can be high, and there may be additional costs for maintenance and upgrades.

  • Dependence on technology

While AI can improve efficiency and streamline processes, it also creates a dependence on technology. If AI systems fail or experience downtime, it can negatively impact operations and result in lost revenue. Additionally, there may be a learning curve for staff who need to adjust to working with new technology.

It's important for restaurant owners and operators to consider these challenges and drawbacks before implementing AI technology in their business. However, with proper planning and implementation, these challenges can be addressed and overcome.

Best Practices for Implementation

To ensure a successful implementation of AI technology in a restaurant, there are some best practices that owners and operators should follow. These include:

  • Identify business needs and choose the right tool

Before implementing AI technology, it's important to identify specific business needs that can be addressed by AI. This will help ensure that the investment in AI technology will have a positive impact on the business. There are many different types of AI technology available, and a restaurant doesn’t have to implement an AI technology just because competitors or known players are using it. For instance, self-ordering kiosks using facial recognition as used by KFC may not be necessary or even financially feasible for many companies to implement. Thus, it's important to choose the right technology for specific business needs that needs improvement or that can add value. This may involve researching different options, consulting with experts, and conducting pilot tests to determine which technology works best.

It's important to provide staff with adequate training to ensure that they can effectively use the new AI technology. This may involve providing training sessions, tutorials, or user manuals. It's also important to involve staff in the implementation process to ensure buy-in and support for the new technology.

  • Optimize and monitor performance

After implementing AI technology, it's important to continually monitor its performance and make necessary adjustments. This may involve conducting regular audits, analyzing data, and identifying areas for improvement. It's important to ensure that the technology is meeting the intended goals and providing a positive return on investment.

  • Address ethical and privacy concerns

The use of AI technology raises ethical and privacy concerns that must be addressed. This may involve establishing policies and procedures for the collection and usage of customer data. Ensuring that the technology is not used in a responsible and ethical manner. It's important to communicate these policies and procedures to staff and customers to ensure transparency.

By following these best practices, restaurant owners and operators can ensure a successful implementation of AI technology in their business. They can reap the benefits of improved efficiency, enhanced customer experience, and data-driven decision making, while also addressing potential challenges and drawbacks.

In conclusion, AI technology is a game-changer for the restaurant industry, with the potential to revolutionize operations and enhance the customer experience. While there are certainly challenges and drawbacks to implementing AI in restaurants, the benefits are numerous, including improved efficiency, cost savings, and data-driven decision making. By following best practices such as identifying business needs, choosing the right technology, training staff, optimizing performance, and addressing ethical and privacy concerns, restaurant owners and operators can ensure a successful implementation of AI technology. As competition in the restaurant industry continues to increase, it's more important than ever for businesses to embrace new technologies and stay ahead of the curve.

If you're looking to take your restaurant business to the next level with AI tools and other advanced features, spoon.tech can help. To get in touch with us, you can: fill out our contact form, alternatively, you can call us via phone at (+43 670 655 56 82) Or email us at hello@spoon.tech.

Daniil Klubov Founder & Ceo of spoon.tech
Audri Adhyas Paul

Hi, I'm Audri, a Master's student in Digital Economy at Vienna University of Economics and Business, and an enthusiast of the food and hospitality sector. Digital transformation in the hospitality sector is an intersection of my practice and passion, and I love to write on that topic. Let's connect on LinkedIn to chat more!

Audri Adhyas Paul

Hi, I'm Audri, a Master's student in Digital Economy at Vienna University of Economics and Business, and an enthusiast of the food and hospitality sector. Digital transformation in the hospitality sector is an intersection of my practice and passion, and I love to write on that topic. Let's connect on LinkedIn to chat more!

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