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A.I. Restaurant Technology May Not Be So Intelligent After All

According to a new survey, A.I.-powered restaurant technology has a tendency to fall short of expectations for both operators and customers.

Robots and A.I. have been cropping up quite a bit in the restaurant space as of late. Every day the foodservice industry is presented with a new technological trend, whether it be self-driving cars, drone delivery, or, most recently, artificial intelligence.

Some of the biggest players in the QSR and fast casual segment, including Sonic, Chick-fil-A, Chipotle and Domino's have implemented A.I. technology in some form or fashion, whether to identify food safety issues, streamline operations or generate orders via voice assistance. In January, the restaurant tech company Presto launched its Presto AI system to provide real-time data around restaurant operations, producing actionable recommendations and predictive modeling so operators can make better decisions.

In March, McDonald’s spent $300 million to acquire Dynamic Yield, a company focused on personalization and decision logic. Last month, McDonald's agreed to acquire 2-year-old Silicon Valley-based Apprente, an early-stage, a voice-based conversational technology startup that can automate voice-based ordering in multiple languages. The acquisition comes after McDonald's began testing voice-activated drive-thrus and deep-frying robots in June

While the technology appears revolutionary, according to a new IDC survey, 25% of companies report up to a 50% failure rate for their AI projects. This could spell trouble for franchisors, as technology malfunctions can result in privacy threats for diners and reputational risks for restaurants. 

Although A.I. restaurant technology has the potential to streamline operations and speed-up food service, it looks like there may still be a few bugs to work out before robots are the ones taking our meal orders.