Intelligent automation in hospitality: the future is now

A Peek Into the Automated Future of Hospitality

The hospitality industry is inundated with projections about artificial intelligence (AI) and the role of intelligent automation. Headlines and blogs are inundated with discussions about robotic chefs, automated servers, and airborne drone deliveries. 🤖

Not to mention, 57% of operators within the industry expect to increase their use of software solutions in 2024. 

So what does this mean for the future of hospitality? 

By the end of this article, you’ll know the answer to this question! We’ll show you the impact the IA is having on the hospitality industry, the trends you need to be aware of, and how to equip your restaurant with the right technology to succeed. 

First, let’s clarify what intelligent automation actually is. 

What is Intelligent Automation? 

Intelligent automation goes beyond doing tasks automatically. It involves using AI and machine learning (ML) to add a layer of intelligence, allowing systems to learn, improve, and make strategic decisions without human intervention. 

Let’s use an automated ordering system as an example, where diners order food through a mobile app.

With simple automation, an app might suggest adding sides before they finalise their order. But with intelligent automation? The app suggests personalised side recommendations based on their previous orders. 

This provides customers with a better ordering experience and increases the likelihood of ordering extra sides. 

How Can AI and Intelligent Automation Drive Better Results? 

To survive in the ever-changing hospitality landscape, restaurants need to be adaptable—and AI-powered tools can help you do just that. They make you more agile, using data to make strategic and informed decisions about your operations based on industry trends and sales performance.

Here are some of the ways you can incorporate AI and intelligent automation in your restaurant to improve operations, improve the customer experience, and boost profits. 

Streamline Operations 

The hospitality industry is naturally rife with repetitive tasks. From admin and staffing to supply chain management and payroll — it’s pretty much unavoidable. 

With an AI-powered operating system, you can streamline all of these activities and improve processes based on historical performance. As a result, staff can spend more time on other value-added activities, like serving more customers and increasing turnaround to make more sales. 

Studies have also found that restaurants can reduce their operational costs by 5-9% with automation. Streamlining tasks + reducing costs = a win-win for restaurant owners! 

Create a Convenient Dining Experience 

Today’s consumers want a convenient dining experience. It’s a trend that’s been growing over the last few years — likely as a result of increased online ordering during the pandemic — and studies are predicting that it’s not going away anytime soon. 

With intelligent automation, you can make the ordering and dining experience as easy and convenient as possible. Whether it’s through online ordering, food delivery apps, or quick-service options, restaurants need to accommodate these requests to remain competitive.

Personalise the Customer Experience

Customers are also seeking a personalised touch, which AI tools can help you deliver. For example, they can analyse spending habits and preferences to provide consumers with a tailored dining experience. 

Here’s what Conor Sheridan, Nory’s CEO, says about the impact of AI on personalisation:

“AI also excels in creating personalised experiences. By analysing customer preferences, order history, and behaviour, AI can suggest tailored menu items, special promotions, and even personalised discounts. This not only increases customer sentiment but also the average order value, boosting revenue and ensuring the customer’s need for discounted prices is met.” 

And in the current competitive landscape, personalisation can set you apart from other restaurants. It creates deeper connections with your customers, which strengthens your brand image, increases loyalty, and boosts your bottom line. 

Improve Sustainability 

Not only does improving sustainability help the planet, but it’s a priority for customers—one which they increasingly expect. In fact, almost half of diners say commitment to sustainability is an important part of deciding where to dine. 

The good news is AI can improve sustainability by optimising your inventory management. 

AI can continuously monitor your ingredient levels, triggering alerts for replenishment and ensuring you have the right amount of food to cook and prepare your meals. This means you spend less money on ingredients you don’t need and reduce your food waste

It can also predict future needs for ingredients. If you have a busy shift every Saturday night, AI can figure out that you need more ingredients. That way, you have enough to fulfill customer orders without selling out. 

Make Data-Driven Decisions 

One of the top advantages of AI is its ability to analyse large amounts of historical data to predict customer demand with near-accurate precision. It can even analyse things like location, weather, holidays, and events to forecast when and what customers are likely to order. 

Mind = BLOWN. 🤯

Armed with this information, you can improve your entire restaurant operation and deliver better service to your customers. For example, streamlining inventory management to meet customer demand and optimising staffing levels to cover busy shifts and prevent delays. 

Why We Still Need a Human Touch in an Automated World

A US study from Capterra found that over half of restaurant leaders say most front-of-house roles (like drive-through operators, baristas, hosts, and cashiers) can be easily automated with today’s technology.

So it’s no surprise that there’s growing apprehension that technology will lead to a worldwide reduction of service and gig economy jobs.

Consider a bustling restaurant or pub, where the management team dedicates over half of their time to mundane and repetitive administrative tasks. For example, performing weekly sales forecasting, devising staff schedules, tallying inventory, placing and reconciling orders — the list goes on. 

Technology can step in and improve these processes in a matter of clicks, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need people. 

Robin Gagnon, CEO and Co-Founder of We Sell Restaurants, commented on this recently

“The pandemic accelerated the implementation of technology in the restaurant business model, benefitting owners financially and in time savings. But the result of this rush to adapt could lead to an over-reliance on technology and the elimination of customer service touchpoints. Those touchpoints are important for building rapport with the consumer and long-term relationships beyond a transactional approach. Restaurant operators must ensure the human element is delivered alongside the efficiencies of high-tech service.”

Technology will boost the hospitality workforce, not eliminate it. We still need people to provide face-to-face interaction and ensure diners get the experience they’re looking for.

At Nory, we’ve made this our mission. We don’t want to replace humans to trim expenses. Instead, we want our AI-powered software to help hospitality businesses enhance productivity, make superior decisions, and drastically improve their customer experience.

Use Nory’s AI-Powered Software to Create a Personalised Future

Adding intelligent automation and AI-powered systems to your operations is pretty much a necessity for the future of hospitality. It helps you keep on top of consumer habits, ensuring you deliver the best possible dining experience. Plus, it optimises processes, improves sustainability, and reduces costs. 

Book a chat with the Nory team to get started with AI! Let us help you navigate the future of hospitality with our intuitive restaurant management software. 

If you need proof that Nory can improve your bottom line, take a look at how we helped Passyunk Avenue achieve a -26% reduction in labour costs!

FAQs About Intelligent Automation in Hospitality

How Is Automation Used in the Hospitality Industry?

There are lots of ways hospitality businesses use automation. Some of the most common use cases include streamlining internal processes, enhancing the customer experience, and improving supply change management. 

What Are Examples of Intelligent Automation?

In hospitality, an example of intelligent automation could be a system that automatically schedules shits. The software analyses previous restaurant sales to determine the ideal number of staff at certain times of the week. Then, it can create a demand-based schedule for optimal performance.