business news in context, analysis with attitude

Axios has a story about how "Wendy's, IHOP, Chipotle, Sweetgreen and other quick-serve restaurant chains are rapidly adding AI to their front- and back-of-house operations … while monitoring for embarrassing boo-boos and Big-Brotherish intrusions."

According to the story, "From the restaurant industry's perspective, these technologies are labor-saving at a time of worker shortages (which are steadily improving), and can goose the bill by encouraging people to order more.

"From the customer perspective, AI can — theoretically — cut down on human error (like those walnuts you didn't want in your salad).  Or it can frustrate and annoy people, prompting them to complain on TikTok about, say, a rogue McDonald's drive-thru that thought they wanted 28 orders of Chicken McNuggets or nine sweet teas."

Axios points out that "consumer-facing technology is just the tip of the iceberg of how restaurants are using AI. Most deployments occur behind the scenes, in inventory management, worker scheduling and food safety."

KC's View:

The National Grocers Association (NGA) has once again asked me to curate/facilitate the technology/innovation track at its 2024 show, and from all the early conversations I've been having, it becomes clear that AI is a component of almost every technology advance.  And the inners will be the retailers that figure out how to use it to get closer to shoppers, to serve their customers better while serving their own business interests better.