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AI in Restaurants: A No-Nonsense Approach

Let’s delve into the practicalities of how AI is reshaping restaurants for the better.

In the restaurant industry, technology isn’t merely an option – it’s a necessity. Beyond the hype, Artificial Intelligence (AI) emerges as a game-changer, specifically in accurate sales forecasting, inventory management, and the optimisation of restaurant operations. Let’s delve into the practicalities of how AI is reshaping restaurants for the better.

AI in Action:

AI-based demand forecasting is transforming how restaurants predict and manage future sales. By automatically analysing past sales, combined with making localised adjustments based on customer behaviour and external factors, AI provides highly accurate sales forecasts, often reaching an impressive 98%+. This precision is at the core of optimising operations, saving time, reducing food costs, and boosting profits. Lets learn how:

Simplified Inventory Control:

Teaming up AI-demand forecasting with real-time inventory control offers a comprehensive view of a restaurant’s stock. Mobile-guided stock checks empower staff to instantly update inventory, minimising the risk of stockouts or overstocking. This efficient process allows for more frequent and accurate stock checks with minimal disruption to core duties. It’s a game-changer that improves accuracy and enables informed decisions about menu offerings, promotions, and supplier relationships based on actual stock.

Efficiency Boost with Automated AI:

With accurate sales forecasts and real-time inventory data, AI helps automate purchasing, saving time and ensuring consistent stock levels. The system not only provides intelligent suggestions for optimised purchasing decisions, considering factors like supplier reliability and order lead times but also streamlines the purchasing process for increased efficiency.

In the production arena, AI supports automatic prep plans based on demand patterns. Envision a scenario where, during different day parts, the system seamlessly guides kitchen staff on precisely what to prepare. No longer do managers need to spend valuable time planning ahead, removing the hassle and potential errors associated with human-dependent forecasting. This automated approach ensures that the kitchen is precisely aligned with anticipated demand, reducing over-preparation and minimising wastage. Staff members benefit from data-driven insights, allowing them to focus on the hands-on execution of food preparation. The result is increased operational efficiency and a reduction in food waste and associated costs.

Beyond inventory and production, AI plays a pivotal role in optimising staff scheduling, especially during peak hours, using historical sales data and predicting future demand. This not only streamlines labour costs but ensures the right staffing levels during high-traffic periods, contributing to an overall enhancement in operational efficiency.

The Missing Link: Unified Tech Base:

The true power of AI emerges when your front and back of the house seamlessly operate on one unified code base. Envision a scenario where sales data informs inventory levels, triggering alerts for timely stock checks and resulting in automatic purchasing suggestions. Picture prep plans generated in real-time based on demand, optimising kitchen efficiency and minimising waste. Staff members receive immediate alerts for necessary actions, whether it’s accepting a shipment or conducting a stock check. This continuous cycle propels operations towards self-sufficiency. This synergy is only achievable when your tech is unified and streamlined, eliminating data discrepancies and communication mix-ups between apps and fractured stacks. It’s about having one synchronised tech platform that handles the entire process end-to-end. Syrve UK’s unique system architecture and design offer this advantage today.

Shaping the Future: AI’s Evolving Role in Restaurants

As the restaurant industry embraces the transformative power of AI, a future where establishments anticipate your dining preferences before you do is also on the horizon. This shift is highlighted by entrepreneur Danny Meyer, envisioning a restaurant that intimately knows each guest’s preferences, from favourite dishes to preferred dining durations, as reported by Fortune in February 2024(1).

To date, the focus on AI in restaurant interactions has primarily revolved around tools recommending add-ons to orders, a trend seen in major chains like McDonald’s and Sweetgreen. AI-driven tools, spearheaded by IBM, are not just limited to suggestive selling; they aim to reduce friction in customer service, greatly enhancing order automation rates and providing more sophisticated recommendations than ever before (1).

As we look to the future, the potential applications of AI in restaurants are expansive. This includes experiments with voice-enabled AI drive-throughs, like those tested by Yum! Brands, and AI recommendation technologies for online ordering, exemplified by IHOP’s collaboration with Google Cloud. These initiatives focus on enhancing efficiency, providing personalised service, and capitalising on the shift towards off-premise dining, a trend accelerated by the pandemic (1).

Smaller chains are also leveraging AI for creative purposes. BangBang, a Thai-style restaurant in Nairobi, exemplifies the fusion of AI and creativity. Using generative AI tools, the restaurant’s founder, Shamim Ehsani, crafted a fictional character, designed logos, and determined colour schemes for the establishment (1).

Looking ahead, the role of AI in restaurants seems poised for exponential growth. From personalised dining experiences to streamlined operations, the integration of AI is paving the way for a future where technology augments creativity, enhances efficiency, and redefines the guest journey.


The AI revolution in restaurants isn’t a distant dream; it’s happening now. From optimising daily operations to shaping future interactions, AI is at the forefront of the industry’s evolution. Restaurants that embrace this transformative technology today aren’t just keeping up with the times; they’re defining the future of dining. The question is not whether to adopt AI but how to leverage it to unlock unprecedented efficiency, personalisation, and success.

(1) Fortune, February 15, 2024 “AI means restaurants might soon know what you want to order before you do” by John Kell