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Food & Wine has a piece about how Union Square Hospitality Group founder Danny Meyer - who has launched restaurants ranging from Eleven Madison Park to Shake Shack - views AI's uses in his business.

Some excerpts:

•  "Meyer predicts the three areas where AI can positively impact any food service business: labor, efficiency, and customization.  He makes the case that AI can help on both sides of hiring: Restaurants can identify candidates with the right qualifications and employees can anticipate what the hiring company is seeking. USHG is well-known for its focus on HR — Meyers authored the New York Times bestseller "Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business" and USHG’s Hospitality Quotient arm fosters leadership development for hospitality businesses in any field, from restaurants to travel and retail. Meyers evangelizes that customers can feel the energy of humans who like their workplace."

•  "Meyer was an investor and board member at the pioneering reservations platform OpenTable in the '90s, which opened his mind to the possibilities of tech enhancing restaurant operations. Today USHG uses 7shifts software to schedule employees, tech that accounts for weather and traffic with real-time communication to fill shifts, as well as three reservation platforms: OpenTable, Resy, and SevenRooms.  'You want to be recognized when you go to a restaurant,' Meyers acknowledges. 'What if the person can welcome you back by name and make you know that we expected you?'"

•  "'If AI can help us to increase our revenue because we can know more about who people are, how they like to spend, and market the right things to the right people, that's incredible,' he says. He adds that data on what customers order can help segment marketing, like only emailing customers who drink wine about a corkage fee promotion, which is a use case USHG learned the hard way.  'What if we could actually use technology to predict when your meal's going to be done to get your coat ready?' Meyer asks, indicating his desire to eliminate the coat check number we all often lose.

"Perhaps most compelling is Meyer divulging that USHG will introduce contactless payment soon so diners can leave after a meal as easily as we exit a ride share."

KC's View:

Love all of this use of AI to get closer to customers, and especially the last one, which would eliminate all sorts of friction for patrons.