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Restaurants implementing AI, self-ordering kiosks in 2024

A new report shows that baby boomers are less than thrilled by new technologies restaurants might implement this year.
Restaurants implementing AI, self-ordering kiosks in 2024
Posted at 1:43 PM, Mar 27, 2024

Many restaurants in the U.S. say they plan to implement more technology this year, including voice recognition and self-service electronic kiosks. 

In a report released Wednesday by the National Restaurant Association, 16% of restaurants reported that they plan to integrate artificial intelligence, including voice recognition, into their businesses this year. 

Additionally, 1 in 4 restaurants plan to utilize self-ordering and payment kiosks this year. Nearly half of restaurants surveyed said they plan to use tech and automation to help with labor shortages.

"Restaurant operators have tremendous entrepreneurial spirit, and they are constantly innovating – sometimes through new dishes or flavors, and sometimes through new business practices,” said Michelle Korsmo, president of the National Restaurant Association. "More than 3 in 4 operators say technology gives them a competitive edge, and this research will also help operators find the right technology fit for their restaurant and their customers. In addition to valuable research on restaurant operator outlook, our research on the technology landscape in restaurants provides insights on consumer expectations that operators need to confidently evaluate their tech investments." 

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Meanwhile, younger diners say they are more amenable to using tech in restaurants. The new report indicates that 46% of adults believe utilizing technology at full-service restaurants creates a more positive experience, compared to 23% who say technology creates a negative experience. 

The data shows a sharp divide between young and old on implementing technology. 

The National Restaurant Association found that 64% of Gen Z and 66% of millennial adults find that using technology creates a more positive dining experience. Just 19% of baby boomers say new restaurant technology is positive. 

While about half of millennials say they would like to see more technology at restaurants, just 9% of baby boomers want more tech. 

Some national chains have said started implementing more AI into their business models. For instance, Wendy's has started rolling out automated speaker boxes at drive-thrus using its FreshAI platform. The company has also said it will use AI to implement dynamic pricing, which could cause prices to differ throughout the day. 

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