If you thought machine learning was limited to the IT sector or to the high-tech industries, you will be surprised to learn how quickly it is making in-roads into the restaurant industry. For the uninitiated, machine learning is closely related to artificial intelligence, and is rendered on an application that helps existing or new systems to learn and improve from experience. Machine learning allows computer systems to learn from data, construct and use algorithms to make predictions about the data, and arrive at useful insights.
Observing customer behavior and learning from it gets very easy, thanks to machine learning. Although it is not very common among restaurants to use machine learning, and it is certainly out of reach for very small restaurants, many larger entities have already begun to use the technology. In the coming months, we expect machine learning to become more accessible and affordable, paving way for even smaller restaurants to make use of it.
In this article, let us take a look at how machine learning can enhance guest experience.
1. Shared guest notes
An increasing number of restaurants have begun to enter notes about their guests for further use. If such notes were to be shared on shared platforms, it helps restaurant partners to predict what their guests want. Machine learning applications are particularly useful in these scenarios, where a system can learn individual habits of each customer and recognize when the guest is in the restaurant, and cater to their individual tastes and preferences. This is particularly useful when it comes to handling customer food allergies and health conditions. For example, if someone has a shellfish allergy, you wouldn’t have to confirm personally but the machine learning algorithm will do it for you the moment they enter your restaurant.
2. Alert customers
Many guests feel disappointed when they are not able to book tables at your restaurant, and when they need to wait for your call to know if a table is finally available. While very loyal customers may wait for tablets to become available, others may simply go to another restaurant where tables are available. Machine learning enables alerting customers as soon as tables are about to get free, so that they can plan ahead. In addition, using machine learning to send push notifications related to orders, table availability, dish of the day, etc. are all possibilities that restaurants need to look at.
3. Enhance operational efficiency
A restaurant POS or CRM that is equipped with machine learning capabilities will also provide for better coverage during shifts. The technology learns how quickly tables turn at a restaurant, and how furniture can be altered and positions changed in order to enhance guest experience. Most importantly, machine learning ensures that walk-ins never go back disappointed, which is particularly important if you want good reviews on social media websites. Machine learning also helps your systems to learn shifts, pacing, and generate reports regularly that helps you track performance. All this helps you to enhance operational efficiency at your restaurant.
4. Learn customer habits
Machine learning comes with the unique ability to learn from situations and predict future outcomes. This is particularly useful when it comes to making customers happy in restaurants. You can use machine learning to identify individual preferences and learn from customer habits. These habits and preferences can be studied and analyzed over a period of time, in order to generate algorithms that accurately predict what certain categories of customers want. Even meta data related to customer habits can be processed and analyzed to a deep level in order to arrive at useful insights.
5. Emotion recognition
Emotion recognition is a huge component of both artificial intelligence and machine learning. With machine learning implemented across your systems, you will be able to recognize when customers are happy, disappointed, surprised, sad, etc. You will not only be able to recognize emotions but will also be able to predict what actions will help enhance position emotions among guests. If a guest is frowning in a corner and you are not able to identify that personally, a machine learning tool will be able to alert you and help you ameliorate their mood by offering a free dessert, for instance.
Machine learning will change the way restaurants operate
As you can see, machine learning has a number of potentials to help restaurants improve guest experience. If you are a member of restaurant networks, guest notes can be shared well in advance seamlessly to provide excellent customer service to the guest. You can also use machine learning to send appropriate alerts and push notifications to guests, so that their time isn’t wasted. Most importantly, you will be able to enhance operational efficiency and learn from customer habits. Finally, machine learning has a huge potential when it comes to guest emotion recognition, which can have far-reaching implications when it comes to enhancing guest experience.