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Leading Foodservice Brands Tap Into Computer Vision to Improve Service and Operational Efficiency

As reported by Nation’s Restaurant News in their article 4 restaurant tech predictions for 2020 automation and machine learning will reach new levels of acceptance in 2020 as more brands adopt these technologies to improve back-of-the-house operations and enhance frictionless ordering for consumers.” Little did they realize how spot on these predictions would be with the onset of COVID in 2020.

McDonald’s, KFC, Domino’s, TGI Fridays and Sonic Drive-In are among leading brands who are already utilizing the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning technology. One of the key tools being utilized is visual intelligence, also known as computer vision.

As explained further in NRN’s article, “McDonald’s is testing automation in the kitchen to increase efficiency and reduce steps for employees amid labor shortages.”

Labor shortages are just one of the most recent among many factors putting pressure on food services companies to innovate quicker, better and more efficiently. Restaurants profit margins continue to be squeezed while customer expectations and competition continue to increase.

Computer vision can help, for example, with back-of-the-house operations improvements by monitoring anything that can be visually observed and offering real-time insights to the entire production process. Specifically, use cases can include production times by product, product journeys (or product paths), employee utilization per product, product count and detection. These product data points can be measured, analyzed and explored for modifications and enhancements to improve product development and production efficiency, as well as server efficiencies.

Process efficiencies can also be tracked, by measuring dwell time, movement and activity. This data can also be captured, analyzed and explored for modifications and enhancements to improve the overall operational efficiencies and improve the employee experience for existing processes or as part of new product development, new services or delivery models.

“In addition, computer vision can help with analyzing front-of-the-house customer experiences and improving customer retention”, says David Greschler, CEO and Co-Founder of Nomad Go. “Automated, visual intelligence is being used for measuring and analyzing key customer service KPIs, specifically speed of service. By measuring, analyzing and adjusting, food services companies can improve overall customer experience and keep customers coming back. A common focus is on dwell time, customer counts, customer movements, and as well, customer flow data and insights which is now very accessible and affordable to achieve with computer vision.”

A large chain of fast casual salad restaurants utilized visual intelligence to develop a store reopening strategy after shuttering locations during the COVID pandemic. By detecting passing foot traffic data with Nomad Go, this company's leadership was able to determine the order and priority for which store to open, insight that avoided wasted operational costs and labor.

In addition, this QSR has exceeded customer expectations with increased speed of service and continued exceptional customer experience using computer vision and AI in-store. Read full story here.

For food service companies innovating for growth, they need to be adaptive and agile, and having a system that can easily be deployed in real store environments is key.

A visual intelligence solution must be able to collect accurate, reliable data from the field without deploying significant human resources and it needs to scale the innovation process, capturing a 360-degree view of field stores so that companies can learn about hidden process efficiencies, best practices, and areas for improvement.

Leading food services companies are looking to computer vision and artificial intelligence a must-have, to grow and improve their operational efficiencies, guest experience and support the need to accelerate innovation.

For more information on how computer vision can help your restaurant organization accelerate innovation for growth, read "AI Accelerates the Pace of Innovation In Test Labs" blog post.

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