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Sunday, February 25, 2024

AI bartenders that recognize regulars could be the future of dining: expert

Artificial intelligence may one day take customers’ orders at bars and even recognize regulars as the food and hospitality sectors “slowly” move to embrace integrating AI into day-to-day tasks, according to an expert. 

Glenn Tait, the product director of UK-based hospitality tech firm Zonal, outlined six ways artificial intelligence will shape the food and hospitality industry as the technology both grows in power and in use. He added that incorporating AI in the hospitality sector “is slow,” but that the tech will streamline work while helping humans “create better experiences for their customers.”

“[AI] has demonstrated its effectiveness in being able to create and analyse things that would take usually take humans days, in seconds,” Tait said in a recent thought piece provided to Fox News Digital. “Whilst AI is often still met with some scepticism, with people fearing a ‘Terminator-style’ takeover of technology, it isn’t a new concept. From using facial recognition technology to unlock our iPhones, to fully automated cars – Al is already a fundamental part of our everyday lives.”

Tait says the top six ways AI will shape the industry include: automating restaurant bookings and responses; improving stock management; forward planning and getting ahead; hyper-personalizing the customer experience; predictive maintenance; facial recognition. 

“We could also see AI being used to understand how a customer is feeling, if they look unhappy or they have been waiting too long for their main meal, technology could prompt a staff visit to the table,” he added. 

Tait, however, stressed that “AI isn’t all about robot chefs.”

Tequila

A shot of tequila being poured at a bar. (Getty Images)

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Coffee shop table

Empty tabletop in the coffee shop over defocused background with copy space (iStock)

AI in the food industry, according to Tait, will also assist with automating reservations and customer service questions, which would ease workloads for human employees and restaurant owners. While the tech will also help restaurants “better manage stock and not over order” by analyzing “what products are selling well and detect and respond to consumer demand for a specific product.”

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The U.S. has already seen some restaurants embrace artificial intelligence in recent years, most notably at fast-food restaurants. Wendy’s announced plans this year to “revolutionize the drive-thru experience with artificial intelligence” that can take drive-thru orders, while Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. already implemented their own AI drive-thru tech, dubbed “Tori,” and McDonald’s already rolling out AI-powered drive-thru windows back in 2021.

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