Artificial intelligence isn't just the future of the foodservice industry; it's the present.
Dickey's Barbecue Pit, the nation's largest barbecue chain, has customer-facing AI in the works that will allow guests to place online orders and ask questions hands-free through a chatbot. The update will roll out some time in the next year, together with the brand's website revamp, and could potentially be rolled over to in-store kiosks in the future.
The conversational AI platform is available to all operators, but isn't required, which is crucial in making sure that operators are comfortable in their units, says Dickey's Barbecue Restaurants, Inc. CEO Laura Rea Dickey , who was formerly head of the brand's tech team.
"Our center point is: How can we use big data to make better barbecue? There's a tendency in tech to be drawn to what's new or shiny, but we focus on the end-user benefit," she says. "We're looking for ease of use. We let our operators choose if they want to adopt the tech or not."