The power of AI for restaurants: 5 tips to enhance efficiency and customer experience
In a recent podcast episode of “Turning the Table,” Nick Markman from Evocalize and Jim Taylor from Turning the Table discussed the growing influence of generative AI for restaurants in local marketing and its potential benefits for businesses. Artificial intelligence, particularly generative AI, holds immense potential to save time, personalize marketing efforts, and deliver outstanding results.
This article delves into five takeaways from the podcast, highlighting the ways in which AI can transform marketing strategies for restaurants.
1. Overcome the blank page problem with AI
The initial challenge many restaurant operators face when creating marketing content is the “blank page problem.” Generative AI can assist by providing a starting point, generating approximately 80% of the required content. For instance, restaurant owners can utilize AI to generate social media posts highlighting daily specials, engaging blog posts about local events, or even personalized email campaigns targeting their loyal customers.
This enables marketers and local operators to save time and focus on adding human expertise, injecting brand voice, and incorporating local knowledge specific to their business.
Nick Markman explained: “Your main day-to-day job might not be to be a marketer. So less time you can spend on your marketing activities and the more time you can spend on more creative strategic thinking for your business, interacting with your customers…it’s kind of a win-win”.
2. Leverage human oversight and expertise
While generative AI can yield impressive results, it’s important to acknowledge that these systems lack domain-specific knowledge and data about individual restaurants and local markets. Human experts possess invaluable insights about customers, local conditions, and domain-specific nuances that AI might overlook.
To truly harness the power of generative AI for restaurants, it’s important to “treat it as your intern, not your boss”. By adopting this approach, restaurant owners can maintain greater control, ensure accuracy, and uphold brand adherence.
3. Compliance and legal considerations
In the world of marketing, regulatory and legal restrictions can be quite the hurdle. Take the real estate and mortgage industries, for instance, with their strict advertising guidelines. Generative AI might unwittingly propose targeting criteria that violate these rules. That’s why your human expertise is invaluable. Understand your industry-specific limitations and maintain full control over your marketing strategies.
4. Partner with technology partners
With how quickly AI is changing, it’s too difficult for restaurant franchisees to keep up on their own. To unleash the full potential of generative AI for restaurants, it’s time to embrace partnerships with technology providers. Many marketing tools, including CRM and POS systems, now integrate generative AI capabilities. By leveraging these partnerships, you can seamlessly align generative AI with your existing marketing suite. It’s all about maximizing accuracy, streamlining workflows, and achieving outstanding results.
From a corporate marketing level, check your current tools to see how they are leveraging AI. “You’re probably going to want to replace your tools because your competitors using those [tools with AI] will get ahead”.
5. Strike the balance with marketing automation
Automation is a powerful ally in your marketing arsenal, particularly when it comes to targeting programs. With AI for restaurants, you can automate the process of re-engaging customers who have already dined at your location. By automating repetitive tasks such as email marketing, social media scheduling, and content distribution, marketing teams can save time and allocate their resources more efficiently. Leverage AI’s data-driven insights to determine personalized messaging and target specific audiences.
However, Nick Markman emphasized that while AI automation is powerful, it should be complemented by human expertise and personalization. Adding a human touch to automated marketing efforts can create a more genuine connection with customers and reinforce the brand’s unique identity.
It’s also important to actively listen to customers’ preferences and feedback to make changes to your automation processes. That way, your results will continue to improve and deliver better results.
AI for restaurants presents significant opportunities to enhance marketing efforts, save time, and deliver personalized content. By adopting generative AI as “your intern” and exercising human oversight, restaurant operators can benefit from its efficiency while ensuring brand adherence, accuracy, and compliance. Embracing partnerships with technology providers facilitates the integration of generative AI into existing marketing tools, maximizing its potential for success in the restaurant industry. You can check out other ideas on how Evocalize is using AI for restaurants here.
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