Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the restaurant industry has experienced a shift from traditional, brick-and-mortar restaurants to virtual kitchens. A virtual kitchen, also known as a ghost kitchen, relies entirely on online ordering to connect with consumers. Considering that 38 million Americans are using food delivery apps, there's no question that the virtual kitchen trend is proving profitable.
If you plan to open a ghost kitchen of your own, it's important to find ways to make yourself stand out. Many ghost kitchen owners are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to improve their productivity and provide a positive experience for customers. AI, which is already being used to plan kitchens and dishes ahead of time, is proving to be the key to restaurant innovation. Here are some of the ways AI can transform virtual kitchens.
Efficient Supply Chains
Unless you have your own farm, you probably get ingredients delivered from a warehouse. AI can manage the transportation of your ingredients, from the moment they're shipped to the warehouse to the moment they wind up in your kitchen. Connecting these different processes together through technology can reduce the risk of ingredients getting lost, helping save time and money.
Another advantage of AI-based supply chains is that they can reduce food waste. Many ghost kitchen and restaurant owners are using AI to determine the popularity of different meals, which influences how much of each ingredient they order. Optimizing your food ordering saves money on ingredients and reduces how much food ends up in the trash.
In some restaurants, AI is being used to simultaneously reduce costs and enhance the customer experience. For example, EKIM, a start-up pizzeria in France, uses robots as staff. Not only does this save money on hiring servers, but it also creates a unique customer experience that can boost your brand awareness. Customers are more inclined to discuss a restaurant that employs robots as its servers than they are to discuss a regular restaurant. Moreover, having a unique angle that differentiates you from other restaurants can help boost social media presence.
Robot servers are just the start of what can be done with artificial intelligence. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are already experimenting with using robots to replace chefs, which would allow restaurant owners to sell dishes at lower price points.
Improved Staff Experience
Some people fear that the automation capabilities of AI will lead to job losses. However, many ghost kitchens are actually employing AI to improve the staff experience and make jobs more fulfilling. Some duties that AI can perform include:
- Filling out forms
- Updating records
- Handling transactions
Whether you're a CEO dealing with paperwork or an entry-level employee handling financial transactions, AI can help with your job. Taking care of these tedious (yet necessary) tasks gives managers and staff the time to focus on food, customers and the work environment.
Whether you run a brick-and-mortar restaurant or a ghost kitchen, food delivery is essential to your business. If you're not working with third-party delivery applications to send meals straight to your customers' doors, you're losing out on an instrumental demographic.
Some restaurants are improving the way they deliver food through artificial intelligence. Methods include:
- Smart food delivery
- Drone delivery
- Streamlining orders
Here's a closer look at how each of these AI-based delivery systems work.
Smart Food Delivery
Smart food delivery is designed to reduce the time customers spend waiting for their meal, resulting in higher satisfaction rates. Through this method, customers can schedule their meals ahead of time rather than wait until they're ready to eat. Not only does this benefit customers, but it also helps you plan your schedule more strategically.
Drone delivery is another method designed to shorten delivery times. While it's not as commonplace as smart food delivery, more and more restaurants are experimenting with using drones to deliver meals as opposed to drivers. While a drone may seem like a big investment, it can save money in the long-run by eliminating the costs spent on drivers.
When working with multiple delivery applications, it can be difficult to manage incoming orders from each one. Fortunately, there is high-quality restaurant tech available that lets you streamline those orders, resulting in a simpler, more efficient process. One example is Cuboh, a platform designed to scale your virtual kitchen by providing real-time insights. Not only can it streamline your orders, but it can also connect with your printer and restaurant SaaS system.
Embrace The World of AI
Technology is being used to improve the restaurant industry every day — if you ignore it, you risk falling behind. From reducing delivery times to improving customer satisfaction rates, artificial intelligence can take your restaurant to the next level. Set yourself apart by incorporating technology into your business today!