AI is Set to Form the Future of Dining
The restaurant sector is drawing on a whole host of new technologies to satisfy the seismic shift in customer expectations for a great customer experience.
A new global study by Oracle, the California-based multinational computer technology corporation, entitled Restaurant 2025, has found that fast and accurate drone food deliveries, 3D printing of unappetising food into nutritious meals, voice activated responses, virtual reality and biometric diner recognition are all set to transform the dining experience.
The report highlights that consumers are most willing to engage with brands with new technology if they feel that they are still in control and enjoy a personalised customer experience. Significantly, the study found that a third of restaurant operators think that guest recognition via facial biometrics will be in use within the next five years, while one in two of restaurant guests agree that having this recognition would improve their experience.
Nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of hotel operators agree that AI-based systems that leverage guest preferences and buying history to make targeted dining recommendations will be mainstream by 2025. Half of restaurant guests said being served by a robot would not improve the guest experience and 40 per cent would visit less.
However, 64 per cent of restaurant operators say that the use of robots for cleaning is appealing. Operators are beginning to consider investing in wearable technology, with more than half of restaurants saying staff activity monitoring via wearable devices will be in use in the next five years.
3D printing will also dramatically affect the hospitality sector, with 44 per cent of restaurant operators saying 3D printing of cutlery and plates would be mainstream or in mass adoption by 2025. Printers also now have the capability to make what is currently considered unappetising or inedible into nutritious and delicious meals.
Drone technology is already being trialled, with 48 per cent of restaurant operators saying deliveries to guests’ homes by drone would be mainstream or in mass adoption by 2025.
Finally, the study highlights that 60 per cent of restaurant operators said restaurant location planning using artificial intelligence would be mainstream or in mass adoption by 2025 with potential applications also including menu planning for personalised nutrition plans, waitlist and capacity management, dynamic prep times and seating planning and forecasting.
Following the findings, the Vice President Sales - Food & Beverage at Oracle Hospitality Asia Pacific, Christopher Adams, has said that the latest study suggests that customers still desire for humans to be very much a part of the dining experience despite the emergence of new technologies and, fundamentally, customers are most likely to accept the influx of new technologies if they feel that they are in control of their experience.
As a result, Adams has concluded that technologies that make restaurants smarter, speed up service and personalise experiences are the way forward.