The start of a new year leads to speculation about new trends but also signals an opportunity for analysts to predict major changes and innovations. And, with economists in Canada and throughout the world worried about a recession and spiralling inflation, it begs the question — how will it all affect foodservice operations?
Undoubtedly, apart from a looming recession, the foodservice industry is grappling with other serious concerns. The labour shortage being felt across all industry segments is seismic and fuels rampant speculation as to how will restaurants cope without the necessary staff.
It’s hard to plan ambitious growth if you can’t rely on a steady stream of staff to scale your business, which means many restaurants will be forced to look at AI in a more serious light. Will robotics take over restaurants? That’s a question long debated, especially where it concerns the execution of repetitive tasks. One thing is clear — while in the past, the maxim for a restaurant’s success was Location, Location, Location, today it’s Labour, Labour, Labour.
With that as an underlying and overarching concern for many operators, included in this editorial are a few predictions from the U.S-based ConverseNow.A1 company as to what the industry can expect — keep in mind the company promotes AI, however, its predictions for the year are worth considering. given our current economic climate.
- ‘Understaffed’ restaurants will not see any relief in the coming year and must adapt to maintain productivity through alternative means to stay competitive
- An uncertain economy will ease pains around the labour shortage by reducing the supply of open roles and increasing demand due to rising unemployment
- While the labour pool may be larger, staffing will remain challenging
- • Automation will remain the top priority for restaurants, driven by AI, and will continue to simplify both back-and front-of-house operations, affecting restaurant staff and guests
- Voice AI and robotics will remain the highest-growing categories within restaurant automation
- Many of the largest restaurant chains will expand their AI-driven offerings for in-store and off-premises dining, making AI more entrenched within the guest experience.
It’s expected that Voice AI will also see dramatic growth for both drive-thru and phone settings, becoming an essential service in restaurants in the same way POS systems became necessary replacements for cash registers.