The future of Artificial Intelligence in restaurants

As AI becomes more commonly used in the hospitality industry, Brian Voelzing, Founder and Managing Director of Beluga Hospitality, looks at ways in which venues are currently utlising the tool and how AI will be used in the future of restaurants.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) I is now one of the hottest topics and it’s being used across all sectors of business, education, healthcare and of course hospitality.

The future of artificial intelligence remains a mystery and many top advisors speculate we may be using this advanced technology too frequently and openly in our day-to-day to life. Many people hypothesize which jobs will no longer be required to be filled by human beings in the future or will their current jobs be replaced by artificial intelligence.

In the hospitality sector alone many AI tools are being used with the introduction of chatbots, energy and inventory management, guest preferences and many more. Will we reach a point where working staff are no longer required in restaurants? I don’t believe so, not in all restaurants at least. AI has already proven itself as very valuable in restaurants by reducing manpower, finding new customers, and reducing errors, but we as humans like human interaction. Part of the dining experience is engaging with a server, listening to the daily specials, hearing a brand’s story, and having them be part of your experience.

AI is a powerful tool and has its place in making the lives of staff easier at work, but it cannot replace the creativity and emotional connection that working staff provide to diners. Artificial intelligence cannot provide guests with ambience, empathy and pairing suggestions and in-depth explanations of menu items. AI cannot prepare delicious meals quality checked by the chef on the pass, yet.

So where will AI be used in the future of restaurants?

I believe more restaurants will use artificial intelligence to create menus based of guest preferences. AI is valuable for collecting guests dining preferences and I believe this will be used in most restaurants to provide chefs with a direction on where to take the menu and what items to put on the menu. AI is currently being used by procurement teams and I believe in the future most establishments will use these tools to guarantee better pricing, knowing what is available and how quickly items can be received.

Food delivery services are utilizing AI by planning delivery routes and using GPS to find riders. Delivery times will become faster as more advanced algorithms are developed for riders and restaurants to synchronized with their timings.

Will there be restaurants with no humans in the future? Probably. I believe these restaurants will serve as a novelty, offering a limited set menu and act more as a vending machine than a restaurant.

As AI continues to improve restaurant operations, I don’t believe that the human element will ever be replaced in dine-in restaurants. We seek connection with other human beings and value the experience people bring to dining. Creativity, quick thinking, and culinary art cannot be replaced.

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