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How to Boost Restaurant Marketing and Sales Performance with AI

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Marketers for restaurants, dining chains, and hospitality groups have a problem.

In an era where consumers expect Netflix-style personalization, how do you understand customer preferences and improve performance in real time at physical store locations and through online ordering?

It's a challenge humans can't tackle alone. That's where artificial intelligence comes in.

Presto is an AI-powered platform for restaurants that helps marketers improve guest experiences. The company's AI capabilities collect data on transactions, customer segmentation, and customer feedback, then use that data to make actionable recommendations and predictions that increase business.

We spoke with Presto founder and CEO Rajat Suri to learn more.

In a single sentence or statement, describe your company.

Presto is transforming the restaurant industry by offering innovative, enterprise-grade technologies. Its platform enables operational efficiency and data-driven insights while enhancing guest experience. The highly customizable platform includes powerful solutions for guests (pay-at-table, kiosk, mobile SDK), staff (server handheld, line buster), and managers (computer vision, wearable, AI and analytics).

Founded in 2008 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and now based in Silicon Valley, California, Presto is currently used by the majority of the top 20 restaurant chains in the U.S. including Applebee’s, Chili’s Grill & Bar, Denny’s, and Outback Steakhouse.

How does your company use artificial intelligence in its products?

Using discreet cameras and artificial intelligence technology, Presto Computer Vision can measure line lengths and processing times in real time. This enables restaurants to quickly identify bottlenecks, reduce opt-outs, trigger manager notifications, and get in-depth insights across restaurant chains.

Presto Computer Vision allows operators to make objective decisions to improve performance. Presto Artificial Intelligence allows restaurant operators to leverage highly granular transaction data, customer segmentation, and a large volume of integrated customer surveys. Operators can receive actionable recommendations and predictive modeling to boost business. The speech recognition technology in Presto enables speedy service and streamlined processes to get hungry diners in, out, and on their way. It enables smarter recommendations, personalization, and satisfaction measurement based on a real time analysis of the voice.

What are the primary marketing use cases for your AI-powered solutions?

An effective personalization system uses artificial intelligence and collected data to give intelligent and relevant meal recommendations to guests. Ecommerce websites are able to determine what people will like based on their past favorites. Presto’s goal is to bring this possibility into the restaurant industry, help customers expand their horizons, and enable them to try something they may not have tried before. The Presto platform stores dining preferences of guests who opt in, and allows marketing teams to send guests personalized offers to entice them back.

What makes your AI-powered solution smarter than traditional approaches and products?

Many restaurant operators perform labor and sales forecasting based only on the current day, previous week, and year. But if you think about the wealth of check data that they have, they are only looking at 8 days worth of historical data each time they try to figure out the labor schedules and sales for the next few weeks.

By instead training neural models on the full range of check data, Presto technology can improve the error rate of those predictions by 30 percent. By layering on further data like current events, weather, and sports game schedules, technology can improve that accuracy even further.

Real-time data is especially relevant and important to the restaurant industry. To meet this need, all of the Presto devices that produce data are able to publish that data to a restaurant events stream. That means multiple devices can act as sinks—which means they can receive data—to that event stream.

Who are your ideal customers in terms of company size and industries?

Enterprise-grade restaurant chains, hotels, and hospitals.

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