Guide: Choosing the right AI for your restaurant

AI is the future of our industry

Artificial intelligence is the way of the future, doesn’t matter if you’re a butcher, a baker or a candlestick maker. And we’re not shy about saying it’s a necessary edition to the tech stack of our foodservice superstars: cafes and restaurants who want to stay competitive and profitable in this industry in the future.

If you’re on the way to choosing an AI solution, make sure you understand a few key things about what you’re trying to achieve. There’s a lot of tech out there, so make sure you’re picking the solution that works hardest to make you money and save you stress.

Vital steps before implementing AI

Not sure where to start? Before you venture into the wild worlds of new tech innovation, make sure you know these 5 things, so you’ll end up with a solution that suits you, your business and your goals!

1. Know what issues or challenges you’re hoping to solve with AI.

Seems simple but a lot of business owners we talk to aren’t sure quite where they want to start.

Do you want to reduce labour costs? Improve GP? Have better financial oversight? Improve revenue forecasting? Reduce wastage? Give your teams better tools to achieve their targets? Improve your service levels by boosting your product consistency? Just want to make better profit? Identifying your end goal is the first step to achieving it.

2. Know your data sources and what software you need to integrate with your solution.

The fact is, not all tools are going to get along. And not all tools are created equal when it comes to data. Are you prepared to manually enter or link data? Do you have cloud-based POS & accounting? Do your solutions integrate with other software? Know your stack and understand what tools are vital to integrate, before you add another one.

3. Decide what you’re willing to invest into AI implementation, both time and money.

Your outcomes with AI can only be as good as the data it’s using, which means you need to make sure the data that’s going into your system is top notch.

You’ve got to be able to put a little management energy into making sure your team is giving your AI solution the right data (of course, it’s still likely to be a lot less time than you spend trying to manage without AI). Get in the headspace of a data-driven decision-maker before making the transition to AI. You don’t have to know the math yourself, but you need to be championing your solution with your team.

4. Have an idea of what you want your return on investment (ROI) to look like.

Are you seeking a toe-dip into AI, meaning you’d be satisfied with a low investment of time and money, and an average return? Or do you want to go all-in with a higher level solution that promises a large ROI in return for a little more of your time and a higher monthly fee? Look for solutions that match your desired input and outcome.

5. Have a scale for your acceptable budget.

Of course, this is a cost-benefit analysis, and your budget will vary based on your desired ROI. So your budget will likely depend on the answer to the other four considerations above. Paying $50 a month to reduce your staffing cost by 2% sounds great … until you compare it to paying $200 per month to double your profit margin. Get an idea of your budget and then explore your options, but remember to consider return on investment as a major factor when choosing your solution.

6. Know how you want to engage with the software.

Are you a mobile-phone-only kind of manager? Want to check your data quickly from the carpark after you drop the kids off? Do you prefer an hour of solid focus time at your desk at the beginning or end of the day? Are you a laptop at your venue kind of person? Knowing how you want to engage with your data is critical, because if it doesn’t come in a format you want to engage with, it won’t fit with your life and could become just another chore.

7. Decide if you need to try before you buy.

Is a trial important to you? Do you want one for free? How long will it take you to get a good idea of the impact for your business? Are you happy to pay for a certain period, as long as you can back out later? Know where you stand, so that you’re in charge when it comes to searching, or even chatting with sales reps down the line!

And if you’re not convinced that AI software solutions are the future of foodservice, or you’re not sure how it would work … read this post by our CEO and don’t forget you can try our software (for a whole month) for FREE.

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