Jan 28, 2022, 9:00am PDT
It's the year 2022, and one would think that instead of visiting my favorite restaurant or having that scrumptious burger delivered to my door, I could have the replicator in my kitchen make it appear. We are not there yet, but what will technology and automation look like for restaurants this year? Does automation mean replacing staff with robots and drones delivering the goods? Maybe in some places but not for most.
The acceleration of automation and AI in the restaurant industry is primarily a result of efforts to alleviate the devastating pandemic and the challenges that continue to emerge from it. As the great resignation, omicron, and supply chain shortages continue to crush owners' hopes, the ongoing increase in food and labor costs will shutter even more businesses.
Restaurants will need to satisfy consumers' demands, who've come to expect automated mobile ordering, entertaining digital experiences, and increased service speed wherever they go. Automation and AI are already being used to help restaurants operate with less staff and better support those holding the line. It's easy to understand how robots can automate simple tasks without ever calling in sick or picking fights with staff members, but how else can restaurants benefit from automation technology?
Computer vision technology and the accurate information it provides have already become a daily part of our lives. A hospital visit to get a CT scan or an X-ray uses the technology to automate the analysis of the images. The vision technology can also monitor a busy intersection or detect which parking spaces are available to temper our nerves. Even accelerating your checkout at the grocery store is made possible with computer vision.
To put it simply, computer vision is a subcategory of artificial intelligence that enables automated systems to see. Its goal is to identify visual information to take appropriate action. It processes images or videos to make sense of the visual data for a meaningful outcome.
It's hard to fix something when you don't know what's broken. If knowledge is power, the analytics computer vision provides will be essential for restaurants to navigate these turbulent times. Even before the labor shortage crippled restaurants, it's always been difficult to determine which part of their operations did not contribute to their customers' happiness. When is the line at the drive-thru too long? How often do guests receive an incorrect order? Why can't staff monitor food inventory with everything else going on?
To answer these questions, let's take a closer look at the technology. Computer vision uses cameras placed in key locations throughout the restaurant. Real-time monitoring of vehicles, order assembly, or food levels can be tracked and analyzed to provide instant feedback to take immediate action. This alleviates staff from such tasks to focus on more important ones and provides valuable information from a system that never gets tired or frustrated from inconsiderate guests.
Imagine a pilot trying to fly their plane with only one type of measurement. Why should restaurant operators do the same? Computer vision uncovers multiple dynamic metrics to determine the best outcome. The system can immediately alert staff to deploy line busters in the drive-thru when the line gets too long. Cars are recognized to provide loyal guests with personalized recommendations. Orders become more accurate when incorrect items are flagged during the assembly process. Low food levels are identified before they can become a hindrance. These benefits help restaurants make better operational decisions to be more efficient with less overhead.
Traditional priorities such as quality of food and guest experience are no longer enough to determine the longevity of a restaurant. Automation will redefine hospitality, and computer vision will allow data-driven restaurants to do more with less while preparing them for the challenges ahead. Implementing automation to augment labor shortages and using the type of data computer vision offers won't be recognized as tech upgrades, but rather foundational requirements for the industry.
Restaurants need to innovate fast and look beyond traditional solutions to get ahead of the labor shortage and prepare for the challenges to come. Many restaurants have already integrated vision technologies, and about half of U.S. operators expect to deploy automation technology in the next two to three years. Presto Vision is enterprise-grade technology that uses powerful AI algorithms to make your drive-thru smarter, improve makeline order accuracy, and provide rich in-store analytics. Please contact us here, and we'll gladly explain why you shouldn't wait to start a pilot.
Presto overlays next-gen digital solutions onto the physical world. Our enterprise-grade touch, vision, and voice technologies help hospitality businesses thrive while delighting guests. With over 100 million guests using Presto each month and 300,000 systems shipped, we are one of the largest technology providers in the industry.
Founded at M.I.T. in 2008, Presto is headquartered in Silicon Valley, Calif. with customers including top 20 hospitality chains such as Applebee’s, Aramark, Chili’s Grill & Bar, Denny’s, and Outback Steakhouse.