Fresh Bites - Top Restaurant Trends To Watch

Fresh Bites - Top Restaurant Trends To Watch
Brian McHale
Fresh Bites - Top Restaurant Trends To Watch

From AI bots to AI generated menu items…restaurants are racing to incorporate AI into their operations to improve their bottom line and create a more enjoyable and memorable dining experience for their guests. More than just a buzzword, AI is shaping up to make big changes in the restaurant space…today, and in the future. As AI becomes integral in running a restaurant, here are a few emerging themes to keep an eye on:

1. ChatGPT:ChatGPT is a state-of-the-art language model developed by OpenAI that can understand and generate human-like text. Here’s some of the latest developments in the Restaurant space:

  • Generate menu items Check out this cocktail from Raven Bar. Using ChatGPT, they crafted this new "signature cocktail" and called CraftGPT – admittedly ChatGPT is not yet a master mixologist but it’s certainly interesting to see how this develops as a tool for menu ideation.
  • New copy ideas Ask ChatGPT to write your menu descriptions, google search ad headlines, or translate your advertising into different languages. You can also ask it to generate keyword rich content to improve SEO rankings. Or if you’re writing content for your website or blog post, ask the bot to rewrite the content for you to be more keyword friendly and SEO rich. Stumped on what to write for your next post or ad? Give ChatGPT a prompt and have it generate copy – in the tone of your brand.

Why it matters: ChatGPT can help you ‘go pro’ with a series of tools to master writing, ideation and more. In certain applications like repetitive or predictable tasks that don’t require professional judgement, AI can be faster and more cost efficient. However, while AI has its pros, it’s not going to replace strategy development, industry expertise, creativity, and human touch. There are also risks of plagiarism, as some tools use pre-existing design elements or templates.

2. Canva is re-imagining the design process by bringing AI-powered design tools that make simple content creation easier and more seamless. Launched on March 23, users have access to a curated selection of personalized templates, recommendations for images and layouts, and tools to automatically match video footage to a soundtrack, PLUS a content generation tool that creates content from a prompt in seconds.

Why it matters: As restaurants grow, maintaining and scaling a brand consistently can be challenging. Canva’s new tools can help restaurant marketers empower their franchisees or LSM reps with access to tools and templates to design local content that is on brand, impactful and avoids the bottlenecks. The key to success is strategic planning, creating guidelines for use, and proprietary templates, as Canva templates are often overused and based on trends (over 30 million users). There are also concerns over ownership rights. If you use design elements from the Canva library, you may be subject to usage rights from third parties.

3. More than 60% of customers state order accuracy and service speed are the primary reasons why they come back to a restaurant. Be on the lookout for these AI enhancements aimed at improving accuracy and speed.

  • AI Bot Drive-Thru Orders: The National Restaurant Association stated that 78% of restaurant operators did not have enough employees and associates are “bumper-to-bumper in a drive-thru lane”. AI bots are attempting to fill the gap and several QSR brands are testing them to take customer orders (Panera, McDonalds, Taco Bell, Wendy’s) to improve not only speed, but accuracy. Though growing in popularity – the technology still has some improvements to make (check out the TikTok AI ordering mishaps below.)

  • Video AI and a side of fries – Be on the lookout for AI overhead cameras in restaurant kitchens and expo areas that can spot over 85% of order errors, calling attention to the errors before workers serve the food.

Why it matters: Foodservice operators continue to heighten their focus on digital solutions to create efficiencies, catch errors and ultimately increase guest satisfaction. As more businesses embrace AI, guest expectations will increase and brands that deliver on speed and accuracy may move ahead.