Tuesday, 16 April 2024 10:55

AI the key to foodservice?

Written by  Jessica Marshall
Report co-author, US-based RaboResearch senior analyst Thomas Bailey. Report co-author, US-based RaboResearch senior analyst Thomas Bailey.

Could smaller foodservice operators take advantage of the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI)?

A new report from Rabobank suggests exactly that.

In its Foodservice Update for the first quarter of 2024, the bank states AI is becoming more accessible to foodservice operators of all shapes and sizes, with software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers and an increased availability of data are facilitating this shift.

“Data is the essential raw material for AI, but until recently, the foodservice industry lagged behind other sectors in terms of digitalization,” the report reads.

Yet, since 2020, consumers have shifted towards digital channels for both information and transactions.

“Companies that have digitalized their contact with consumers through kiosks and loyalty apps… now possess proprietary data, as do delivery platforms,” it states.

Report co-author, US-based RaboResearch senior analyst Thomas Bailey says current AI applications in foodservice are primarily focused on increasing efficiency, reducing staff workload, optimising marketing strategies, and improving customer experience

“Customer interactions are also being transformed through AI, with highly performing chatbots and telephone assistance software improving the customer experience and operational efficiency,” Bailey says.

“AI software can be used to improve text and images, personalise customer interaction, understand brand perception, and implement more focused pricing strategies,” he says.

However, Bailey is quick to point out that AI is a “work in progress” and “far from perfect”.

“The adoption of AI also carries potential risks, including customer alienation and technology-related issues,” he says.

The report points out that it is a necessity to define the purpose of incorporating AI and its subsequent actions.

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