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This is How Guests are Using Resy

This is How Guests are Using Resy

by David Klemt

Resy "Right this way" printed on wine key

Demand for in-person visits seems to be the big prediction of 2023, which means reservation platforms like Resy are crucial.

Of course, the value isn’t just the automation of reservations. Nor are these platforms just about simplifying waitlists.

Indeed, those are essentially the two functions such platforms must execute, and execute flawlessly. However, there’s more to modern reservation and waitlist platforms.

Today, guest-facing platforms should offer another feature to operators: discoverability.

This should go without saying but I’m going to address it anyway. With few exceptions, being discoverable is crucial for restaurants, bars, and hotels.

That means social media presence is crucial. Websites are still crucial. Operators ensuring they own their online review and travel site profiles is crucial.

In other words, if it’s online, has a search function, and makes recommendations to users, it’s crucial. It should also go without saying that operators need to meet potential guests where they are. And, again with few exceptions, they’re online.

As you may assume by now, Resy is a reservation platform that helps users discovers restaurants and bars. And if it’s helping guests discover these venues, it’s helping operators increase their reach and get discovered.

Reservation List Curation

The first feature I’m going to share is Climbing, which is what it sounds like.

When a tourist visits or someone moves to a new city, they tend to want to find their places. Which restaurants and bars will be their third spots, or the place they spend time between work and home?

Word of mouth is great, of course. But these days, reviews and comments are digital word of mouth. So, a curated list of “what’s hot” amongst restaurants in a given city is powerful for discoverability.

“Climbing on Resy is the only data-driven list powered by your reservations,” reads the Resy site. “Consider it a curated guide by locals, for locals.”

For ease of use, which is crucial for any platform, users can edit dates and party size within the Climbing tab.

The Hit List

Climbing isn’t the only list Resy curates on the platform. There’s also the Hit List.

This is a list Resy publishes each month for each major market in which they operate. It consists of ten venues that “should be on your radar.”

Using Philadelphia as an example, the city’s January Hit List per Resy is comprised of:

  • CO-OP Restaurant & Bar
  • Sor Ynez
  • City Winery
  • Condesa
  • Ocean Harbor
  • Fiore
  • Rittenhouse Grill
  • Forsythia
  • Second District Brewing
  • Vernick

The Hit List also includes the neighborhood or town where each recommendation is located. Again, not just discoverability but also ease of use.

Notify and More

Resy does more than just help people make reservations. There’s also the platform’s approach to waitlist management, Notify.

As the company describes it themselves, Notify is “a future waitlist.” Users can specify their date and time reference, and add themselves to a restaurant’s list.

On the operator side, they add the guest and an email or push notification is sent out. When a table that matches the waitlist user’s preferences opens up, they get an alert.

Users can also take advantage of Top Rated, New on Resy, and Book Tonight lists. Getting more granular, there are also other curated lists, such as:

  • Great Tasting Menus Under $125
  • Essential Cozy Locales
  • Splurge-worthy Dining
  • Where to Dine with a Crew
  • Date Night, Covered
  • Best Outdoor Dining

Additionally, Resy is in a partnership with American Express. So, eligible cardholders can use Global Dining Access by Resy for incredible experiences.

When considering their tech stack, platforms, and partnerships, operators need to consider an array of functions. More and more each day, discoverability is a function that needs to be top of mind.

Image: Resy

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Picture vs. Video: Datassential Weighs In

Picture vs. Video: Datassential Weighs In

by David Klemt

Vintage Rolleiflex camera

If you want to meet guests—both regular and new—where they are, it helps to know how they prefer to consume social media content.

However, I’m not talking about which platforms are the most popular. We’ll get to that, but I’m talking about the content itself.

It appears that two camps are emerging: Team Picture and Team Video. And yes, they appear to follow demographic delineations.

Veteran operators and front-of-house teams know the drill. It’s standard for a server to drop food off and phones to hover over dishes immediately.

Bartenders, of course, also know the routine. In fact, bartenders working behind the stick across the globe know chronically online guests will come seeking specific drinks because they’re “Instagrammable.”

Hey, I’m not above it—I’ve snapped pics at bars and restaurants known for their innovative drink presentations. The same can be said about certain dishes at particular restaurants.

But is that camera just rapid-fire snapping photos? Or is it becoming more common for the guest holding the phone to record video?

Luckily, F&B market research agency Datassential has data-driven answers to those questions.

Still Photography vs. Moving Pictures

Okay, I’ll admit that this subheading title is a bit lame. Whatever—I’m keeping it in.

At any rate, you know what I’m talking about here, pictures versus videos. Interestingly, Datassential suggests that our industry is already at least a bit behind in this debate.

As they say in their latest Foodbytes report, 2023 Food Trends, “It seems like the food industry only just figured out how to cater to the importance of photography and Instagram and now it’s all being replaced by video.”

Specifically, Datassential speaks about short-form video in this report. Essentially, the agency is saying that guests (younger generations, in particular) are “over” still or static images of F&B items.

Today, just like video killed the radio star, video is on a still photography killing spree. And as I mention above, Datassential’s data reveals about what people expect regarding this topic when it comes to age groups.

Unsurprisingly to some, Gen Z is most likely to consume video content. It follows, then, that 67 percent of this group has taken video of food at a restaurant or at home.

Next up, at 54 percent, is Millennials. Forty percent of Gen X says they’ve taken video of food at a restaurant at home. Just 18 percent of Baby Boomers have done so.

Where are People Consuming Video Content?

So, that’s the “who.” Now for the “where.”

According to Datassential, these are the top platforms for video consumption:

  1. BeReal: 11 percent
  2. TikTok Live: 25 percent
  3. Twitter video: 27 percent
  4. Snapchat video: 35 percent
  5. Instagram Reels: 38 percent
  6. TikTok: 41 percent
  7. Facebook Live: 41 percent
  8. Instagram videos: 44 percent
  9. Instagram Stories: 45 percent
  10. Facebook Stories: 48 percent
  11. YouTube: 77 percent

Does this mean you need to create content for each platform? Well, unless you somehow have the time or a digital marketing team, probably not.

Instead, you’ll want to pick the platforms that make the most sense for your brand and audience. There are also cross-posting tools that can save you time and simplify the process.

Takeaway

It’s up to individual operators to choose their social channels. The same is true for what they plan to post, photos or videos.

There’s a different consideration I want operators to keep top of mind. If video continues to dominate social, think about what could happen to dining rooms. It won’t be unusual for “influencers” to break out handheld lighting equipment to create videos. And I think we all know what that will do to the atmosphere in restaurants, bars, and lounges.

As strange as it may seem, operators may need to post signs banning flash photography and lighting for videos. Otherwise, the guest experience will diminish. Who pays the price for that negatively impacted experience? Not the influencer; the operator takes the hit in their reviews and traffic.

If video is here to stay, operators need to observe their dining rooms and adjust accordingly. That doesn’t just mean crafting video-worthy interiors and menu items. Now, it also means protecting the guest experience.

Image: Alexander Andrews on Unsplash

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2023 Reveal: The World’s 50 Best Hotels

2023 Reveal: The World’s 50 Best Hotels

by David Klemt

Waves crashing on beach

The World’s 50 Best Hotels launches this year, completing the hospitality puzzle as it joins the World’s 50 Best Bars and the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Mark Sansom, content director for the World’s 50 Best Bars, shares details of the new list on episode 90 of the Bar Hacks podcast. To learn more about Mark and the World’s 50 Best Bars, you can also listen to episode 82 of Bar Hacks.

This is huge news for the hospitality, travel, and accommodation sectors. Sansom and the team go to great lengths when it comes to every detail of the World’s 50 Best Bars. Indeed, the awards ceremony is truly the Oscars of the bar world. Just take a look at the video below:

In fact, it’s likely a bit more fun than the Oscars. A room full of the best bar teams and industry professionals? You know it’s a nonstop party.

I say to say this: I expect the Oscars of the hotel world for the inaugural 50 Best Hotels ceremony. And I’m confident the team will deliver on that expectation.

To see the World’s 50 Best Bars for 2022, click here. For the World’s 50 Best Restaurants of 2022, follow this link.

Who Decides?

You’re probably wondering how all of this “works.” Just who decides, among all the hotels throughout the world, which are the 50 best?

As Sansom explains on the Bar Hacks podcast, hundreds of people decide.

For 2023, the World’s 50 Best Hotels is split into nine regions. That’s likely to grow (50 Best Bars and Restaurants each have 28 regions) but for now, that’s the breakdown.

Each of those regions is headed by an Academy Chair. The global Academy Chairs hand select voters. In this case, a mix of 580 travel journalists, educators, hospitality professionals, hoteliers, and luxury travelers. The voters are tasked with highlighting their top seven hotel experiences from the past two years.

A small board of directors isn’t deciding which hotels will make the list. There’s no small group choosing the ranking. Instead, hundreds of industry pros and hotel guests will determine the best of the best.

How do They Decide?

This is one of my favorite details. When it comes to criteria…there isn’t any.

I like this for several reasons, one of which is that nothing arbitrary is limiting these awards. Don’t have a pool? That’s fine. No steam shower in the en suite? Okay.

By eschewing criteria, no concept is left out—no property is excluded. As Sansom says on episode 90 of Bar Hacks, imposing criteria means people could miss out on experiencing stunning twelve-room boutique hotel.

Therefore, this list isn’t the exclusive domain of multi-unit, multi-concept hotel groups. Certainly there will be chain properties up for consideration. However, they’ll be mixing it up with boutique and solo, independent hotels.

Sansom also reveals what’s driving them to launch the World’s 50 Best Hotels. Far from a vanity project, this list is about helping the industry.

Like hospitality, travel and accommodation are recovering from a global pandemic. Highlighting the best hotels in the world should inspire people to get back to leisure travel.

The list will be revealed in September of this year. Make sure to watch this space and connect with the World’s 50 Best Hotels for more details, including the awards ceremony host city.

Follow the 50 Best Hotels on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. To learn more, visit their website.

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Datassential: The Flavors of 2023

Datassential: The Flavors and Menu Items of 2023

by David Klemt

Basket of hot chicken wings

Food and beverage market research agency Datassential has some data-driven thoughts on the flavors and menu items that will define 2023.

Featured in their latest Foodbytes report are 20 items for operators to consider this year. There are ten food items, drinks, and ingredients Datassential predicts will be on basically every menu.

And there are another ten food items, drinks, and ingredients the agency feels could suddenly hit in 2023.

For you own copy of Datassential’s 2023 Food Trends, click here.

Prolific Performers

As Datassential refers to them in their report, these are the items “that will be everywhere” this year.

Food

  • Birria. This one makes sense as birria only appears to be capable of continually growing in popularity.
  • Mushroom. In Datassential’s opinion, we should expect more menus to feature mushroom snacks. Also, expect to see (or add yourself) lesser-known, rare, and exotic mushrooms on menus.
  • Salsa macha. Over the past four years, according to Datassential, salsa macha as grown a staggering 339 percent on menus.

Drink

  • London Fog. A compelling earl grey tea latte.
  • Mangonada. Salty, tart, fruity, and bold, the Mangonada is a flavorful frozen drink.
  • Ranch Water. Simple, timeless, and refreshing. In 2022, per Datassential, Ranch Water was the fastest-growing cocktail.
  • Soju. According to Datassential, soju is the third fastest-growing spirit on restaurant and bar menus.

Ingredient

  • Spicy maple. As the image atop this article suggests, expect spicy maple to replace or at least give hot honey a run for its money.
  • Ube. A striking purple yam from the Philippines.
  • Yuzu. Datassential predicts this citrus fruit will start showing up on many chain restaurant menus.

Promising Performers

In Datassential’s data-driven opinion, the following items need to be on every operator’s radar.

These are the items that have the potential to “hit it big” in 2023.

Food

  • Pickled strawberries. Interestingly, this matches up with Technomic’s trend prediction for the US, Canadaworldwide, really.
  • Savory granola. Not only on its own but as an element of savory, healthy bowl.
  • Sisig. A Filipino delicacy with pork belly, pig’s face, and chicken liver as key elements.

Drink

  • White coffee. As Datassential states, “there’s always room for coffee innovation on menus.”

Ingredient

  • Black tahini. The appearance of black tahini is quite striking, making for dramatic presentations. And as we know, striking presentations are perfect for social media marketing and engagement.
  • Cannabis. The legalization of recreational cannabis use in almost half of US states is leading to innovation in this space. And as more markets legalize public consumption in the form of F&B items on-premise, restaurants and bars will add cannabis-infused items to their menus.
  • Cherry blossom, or sakura. It seems that cherry blossoms are poised to take off in the US market.
  • Chestnut flower. Per Datassential, this ingredient is gaining popularity for use in winter baked goods.
  • MSG. For decades, restaurants proudly proclaimed “no MSG” or “MSG-free” on menus due to misconceptions. Now that consumers are better educated about ingredients, restaurants are proudly proclaiming their use of MSG.
  • Verjus. An ancient juice made by crushing unripened wine grapes. It can be an ingredient in a sauce, as a condiment, or to deglaze a pan.

There you have it—20 items to consider adding in your next menu update, featuring in your next LTO, or at least keeping an eye on in 2023.

Image: Scott Eckersley on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

This Year’s Big Trend: Personalization

This Year’s Big Trend: Personalization

by David Klemt

Foam art cap on top of coffee

Ripples, the beverage-top media brand, is predicting that 2023 will be the Year of Personalization with a focus on in-person interactions.

Last year, the bev-top brand behind the Ripple Maker II Pro, named moderation as one of the top trends. When we look at the ubiquity of low-ABV drinks, we see that Ripples was right. And when we consider the proliferation of non-alcohol brands, Ripples appears downright prescient.

In other words, Ripples continues to be proven right about moderation.

Three revelatory datapoints and one generation are partly responsible for the brand’s accurate 2022 prediction. First, in comparison to 2019, zero-alcohol products were up 166 percent. Second, the non-alcohol category grew four times faster than its low-ABV counterpart. Third, non-alcohol spirits have grown by over 113 percent since 2020.

The generation Ripples believes is responsible for non-alc’s growth? Gen Z. In part, this is due to social media and the generation’s aversion, speaking generally, to being embarrassed by drunken behavior in front of the world.

So, proven right about last year’s prediction, it’s wise to take Ripples’ 2023 prediction seriously.

Year of Personalization

As Ripples explains, personalization has long been the strength of digital platforms. Be it an online retail platform or music streaming service, personalization is king.

And it’s easy to see why. Using online shopping as an example, think of the typical customer journey.

A shopper signs up, they click around or search for specific items, and they make their purchases. Soon, the platform is emailing the user about sales. Then, emailing the user items they think they’ll like, based on the individual’s data.

The more the user shops, the more targeted the platform’s suggestions and interactions become. Before the user knows it, they’re signing up for a loyalty program, earning rewards, and giving the platform more of their money.

Well, personalization is no longer only shining in the digital space. Now, businesses are engaging with their customers in the “phygital” space. That is, the physical space as well as the digital one.

As Ripples states, “Nothing beats real human interaction for building connection and loyalty between brands and consumers.” One way to leverage this new relationship between consumers and brands? Experiential activations.

Ripples knows a thing or two about this type of engagement. The bev-top media company partnered with Guinness Korea for a campaign involving 100 bars. Consumers scanned a QR code, selected a design via the Ripples app, and the design was printed atop a pint of Guinness.

You Need Data

Personalization is a long-standing element of the hospitality industry. It’s one of our keys to success: we cater to guest preferences.

However, we can’t do that effectively without collecting guest data. And interestingly, Ripples’ prediction falls in line quite neatly with another 2023 prediction.

As you may be aware, 2023 is also likely to be the Year of the POS System. That is, a tech stack “revolution” is expected to take place this year. One crucial element of a powerful, worthwhile POS system is customer relationship management, or CRM.

Of course, if a POS doesn’t offer a CRM module, the best systems make it easy to integrate with the best CRM platforms.

Either way, CRM is the key to personalization in the digital, physical, and phygital spaces. It’s difficult to effectively personalize the guest experience pre-, during, and post-visit without guest data.

Regardless of whether Ripples’ prediction is accurate—and it’s likely they are—savvy operators need to make sure they’re responsibly collecting and utilizing guest data. If this is the Year of Personalization and the Year of the POS System, the reality is that 2023 is really the Year of CRM.

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Global Trends 2023: Technomic

Global Trends 2023: Technomic

by David Klemt

Shawarma stacked with fire in the background

Not content to focus solely on North America, foodservice research firm Technomic is predicting foodservice trends that will span the globe in 2023.

As the firm points out themselves, making predictions is a best-guess proposition. Many of Technomic’s 2022 predictions for Canada, the USA, and the globe have proven true. However, a handful of their trend predictions have yet to manifest.

Further, not all trends will work for all operators and their concepts. Chasing every passing fad or trend is great if you like to watch your costs spiral. Doing so is also an excellent way to confuse guests and stress staff.

So, when considering any trend, make sure it works with your concept, has some staying power, and will resonate with your guests. Speaking to that last point, this is one reason it’s crucial to collect guest data. Making important menu and guest-impacting operational decisions without data just doesn’t make sense.

When you’re done with this article, take a look at our examination of Technomic’s other predictions. The firm’s Canadian predictions are here. And you can read the American trends by clicking this link.

For your own copy of Technomic’s international trends report, click here.

Operations

For 2023, Technomic is making predictions that certainly appear plausible. A number of them pertain to operations.

Kicking things off, sustainability. Driven in part by the global impact of the pandemic, the health of our planet is top of mind for many people.

For example, Canada’s single-use plastics ban is now in effect. England plans to move forward with a similar ban by October of this year.

Alongside such bans, Technomic believes operators—small independents and global chains alike—will implement entire sustainability strategies. These will range “from packaging and restaurant operations to marketing and menu development.”

Does your concept have a dedicated pickup window? Perhaps a takeaway counter? Maybe even a drive-thru? If not, 2023 may be the year you make that change. Not only that, you’ll likely want to position them front and center.

Per Technomic, many consumers are done with delivery. From rising costs outweighing convenience to delivery failures, pickup may become more appealing. Pickup is still convenient, it’s less expensive, and the consumer is in control.

Additionally, many people are well aware of how costly third-party platforms are to operators. In fact, Technomic identifies these platforms and their fees as “the biggest industry villain” of 2023.

Menu

One of Technomic’s predictions is particularly enticing: Lebanese street foods. To clarify, the firm believes all manner of street foods from around the globe will perform well in 2023.

However, they feel Lebanon’s street foods will stand out from the rest. So, think shawarma, labneh, kibbe, and pickled vegetables. That last item, by the way, follows Technomic’s prediction that pickling and fermenting will be hot trends in the US and Canada.

Of course, there are other items that Technomic thinks will shine in 2023. If the firm is correct, there’s a new “holy trinity” to keep an eye on and consider for your menu: sushi, poke, and ceviche. According to Technomic, each performs very well when it comes to takeout.

Interestingly, the research firm suggests that this particular holy trinity will spawn new virtual brands. If Technomic’s predictions prove accurate, some of these brands will focus on fried chicken or plant-based versions.

Speaking to that last point, Technomic is predicting that plant-based will “evolve” in 2023. This evolution will focus on more traditional meat counterparts. Providing examples, Technomic suggests that avocado, modern takes on black bean patties, cauliflower, tofu, tempeh, and seitan will be this year’s plant-based rock stars.

Are this year’s 2023 Technomic predictions going to prove accurate? It’s far too early to tell. However, one thing I can say with confidence is this: their predictions are rooted deeply in data. When Technomic makes a “guess,” it’s always an informed one.

Click here to read Technomic’s report in its entirety.

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American Trends 2023: Technomic

American Trends 2023: Technomic

by David Klemt

Pink pineapple against pink background

Foodservice research firm Technomic has some interesting predictions for the hospitality industry in the United States of America this year.

On the topic of operations, Technomic foresees more negotiating power among workers. Additionally, the firm looks at both the economy and pent-up guest demand.

When it comes to food, the US and Canada have a trend prediction in common. And as the image atop this article signifies, a particular color may be a hit on menus in 2023.

Before we jump in, Technomic’s 2023 Canadian trend predictions are here. Last year’s Technomic predictions for America are here. Curious readers can review the firm’s 2023 predictions in their entirety here.

Okay, let’s go!

Think Pink

I want to address this prediction first. According to Technomic, pink is going to be the F&B color of 2023.

As they explain, the color is fun, nostalgic, and photogenic. Yes, operators must still consider the Instagram-worthiness of their menu items. That may change one day, but it’s not today.

Per Technomic, pink also signals that a food or drink may have antioxidants.

Some of the items the research firm names specifically: pink pineapple, pink salt, pink celery, cara cara oranges, and schisandra berries.

Pickle It

This is the culinary trend that, per Technomic, Canada and America will share in 2o23.

Along with fermenting, pickling gives the kitchen and bar teams a unique experimentation method to explore. So, encourage these teams to get creative and add pickling and fermentation to your next menu update.

Of course, that’s not the only reason to consider putting pickling front and center. For many, these preparations indicate a healthy F&B choice. Think kombucha, as an example.

As we know, healthy choices continue to be top of mind for many guests.

One more note: Technomic suggests being transparent and identifying the pickling and fermenting processes your team leverages to produce each menu item.

Economics

For those looking for a bit of optimism in these trying times, Technomic may have what you’re looking for. This year’s report, What We Foresee for 2023, says the following about the possibility of a recession:

“There is reason for optimism in the coming year, however, as any recession is expected to be relatively mild.”

Yes, that’s just one source’s opinion. However, Technomic is known for their voraciousness when it comes to data. So, if this firm is optimistic it could be a solid sign that things are looking up in 2023.

“Pent-up consumer demand” and variations thereof have been making the rounds since 2o21. However, it’s still a relevant phrase.

As it pertains to 2023, Technomic believes on-premise dining may “bounce back” this year. In fact, the firm suggests that people want to socialize and dine in person now more than ever.

Also, delivery and pickup times appear to be growing. So, plenty of people will see in-person dining as the more appealing option in 2023.

Operations

In part due to legislation addressing minimum wage and workplace conditions, employees may have the upper hand this year.

Add the fact that many people seeking work know many operators are dealing with a labor shortage and their negotiating position looks even stronger.

So, we could finally be in for a significant change when it comes to how the industry looks at compensation. More and more workers—and the guests they serve—are taking issue with tipping. Instead, many people outside and inside of the industry want to see operators pay staff a competitive, living wage.

Of course, there are also the hospitality professionals who prefer tips to minimum wage. In 2023, the industry could experience the start of a sea change. Time will tell.

For more predictions and this Technomic report in its entirety, please click here.

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We Ask ChatGPT About Robots and AI

We Ask ChatGPT About Robots and AI in Restaurants

by David Klemt

Vintage toy robot face and torso

Earlier this week we had “a conversation” with ChatGPT, the now (in)famous chatbot from artificial intelligence research and development company OpenAI.

For my first time interacting with this type of tool, I keep things simple. I attempt to phrase my questions correctly, focusing on the topic of AI and robots in hospitality.

Initially, I receive a response that probably isn’t much of a surprise. But as you’ll see, the chatbot highlights an item or two that aren’t always top of mind with this topic.

Below you’ll find ChatGPT’s responses to one request and two questions.

Please write 400 to 500 words about robots and artificial intelligence working in restaurants, from the perspective of robots and AI.

“Robots and artificial intelligence (AI) are becoming increasingly prevalent in the restaurant industry. This is in part due to the many benefits that these technologies can offer, such as increased efficiency, improved safety, and reduced labor costs. However, it is also important to consider the perspective of the robots and AI systems themselves, and how they are integrated into the restaurant workforce.

One of the main ways that robots and AI are used in restaurants is through automation of tasks that would otherwise be performed by human workers. For example, robots can be programmed to cook food, mix drinks, and serve customers. This can help to improve the efficiency of the restaurant, as robots are able to work faster and more accurately than humans. Additionally, robots can be designed to perform tasks that are dangerous or difficult for humans, such as handling hot oil or sharp knives. This can help to improve safety in the kitchen and other areas of the restaurant.

However, the use of robots and AI in restaurants also raises some important ethical and social issues. Some people may worry that robots will take jobs away from human workers, especially in an industry that already has high turnover rates. Additionally, there may be concerns about the social and emotional impact of having robots as a major presence in the workplace. For example, some people may find it uncomfortable or strange to interact with robots in a social setting, such as a restaurant.

The robots and AI perspective, they are programed to perform their task efficiently without any error. They don’t have any emotions or preferences hence they are not impacted by the same issues that human employees may face like fatigue, stress or burnout. They can work in any environment without needing breaks or vacation days, this can help reduce labor costs, as restaurants can operate with fewer employees. However, it also means that human workers may need to be trained in new skills that allow them to work alongside robots and AI systems.

In conclusion, the integration of robots and AI in the restaurant industry can provide many benefits, including increased efficiency and improved safety. However, it is important to consider the ethical and social implications of these technologies, and to ensure that they are implemented in a way that benefits both the restaurant and its employees. With proper planning and training, robots and AI can be an [sic] valuable asset to restaurant workforce.”

Can you explain to me, in 300 to 400 words, what the ethical implications are for restaurant, bar, and hotel operators using artificial intelligence and robots to complete tasks?

For the most part, ChatGPT repeats talking points from our first interaction. This is likely due to the phrasing of my question. Also, this chatbot is still in its “infancy.”

However, ChatGPT brings up a few new points, and expands on others.

“The use of artificial intelligence (AI) and robots in restaurants, bars, and hotels raises a number of ethical implications that should be considered by operators. One of the main concerns is the potential for these technologies to displace human workers. In an industry that already has high turnover rates and relatively low wages, the use of robots and AI could make it even more difficult for human workers to find and keep jobs. This could lead to increased unemployment, reduced income and work-life imbalance among the impacted employees.

Another ethical concern is the impact that these technologies may have on the customer experience. For example, some customers may find it unsettling or uncomfortable to interact with robots in a social setting, such as a restaurant or hotel. Additionally, customers may feel that the use of robots and AI detracts from the human element of the service experience, and could harm the overall reputation of the business. There may also be concerns about how the data collected by these systems is used and protected, raising question about data privacy and security.

Additionally, some concerns about the way these AI and robots are designed and how they make their decisions, there could be potential for bias, especially when the systems are provided with data that is not representative of the whole population. This could lead to unfair treatment of customers, employees and other stakeholders.

There are also concerns about how the maintenance and repair of these technologies are managed and who is responsible for any accidents or malfunctions that may occur. This is particularly important for safety critical tasks, such as cooking or cleaning. Operators need to ensure that the AI and robots are designed and maintained to the highest standards to prevent any harm to employees or customers.”

Are there risks that human designers and engineers will introduce bias to customer-facing artificial intelligence and robots?

Since ChatGPT mentions bias in response to my first question, I run with that train of thought.

Below is what the chatbot has to say about that topic as it relates to AI and robots.

“Yes, there is a risk that human designers and engineers may introduce bias into customer-facing artificial intelligence (AI) and robots. This can happen in a number of ways, including:

  1. Data bias: If the AI system is trained on a dataset that is not representative of the population it will be serving, it may make decisions or predictions that are biased towards certain groups of people. For example, if an AI system used in a hotel is trained on data from primarily white and wealthy guests, it may have difficulty understanding and serving guests from other backgrounds.
  2. Algorithm bias: The way an AI system is designed and the algorithms it uses can also introduce bias. For example, if an algorithm is designed to prioritize certain inputs over others, it may make decisions that are biased towards certain groups of people.
  3. Human bias: Human bias can be introduced into AI systems through the decisions made by designers and engineers about what the system should do, how it should work and how it should interact with people. For example, if a designer and engineers decide that the robot should be more polite to older customers, it may be less polite to younger customers, or if the system is designed to recognize only certain languages, it may not be able to understand and serve customers who speak other languages.

It is important for human designers and engineers to be aware of the potential for bias in AI systems, and to take steps to minimize it. This can be done by using diverse and representative data when training the AI system, being mindful of the potential for bias in the algorithms used, and involving stakeholders from diverse backgrounds in the design and testing process. Additionally, monitoring and audit the system performance regularly, and providing ways for users to provide feedback on the performance and make adjustments accordingly.

It is important to remember that this is an ongoing process and it requires continuous monitoring and adjustment as the data and environment changes. There is also a need for more research in the field of explainable AI, which would allow human designers and engineers to understand why the AI system is making certain decisions, which can help to identify and mitigate any biases that may have been introduced.”

Takeaways

Obviously, I don’t think ChatGPT “speaks” for the machines. And I don’t think the chatbot was attempting to convince me of anything. There’s nothing overtly nefarious afoot here—this was mainly an entertaining exercise with a newsworthy tool.

That said, I’m not entirely certain how I feel about my interaction with ChatGPT. On one hand, the answers in favor of AI and robots are what one expects: efficiency, speed, consistency, cost reductions, improvements to safety.

But what about what ChatGPT says about biases, programming, representation, and human interactions with tech? To alter a phrase, “Who watches the programmers?”

Hospitality is about the human element. It’s about service and the guest experience. Personally, I don’t think the world will be in a better place if we reduce human interaction.

Dropping baskets into hot oil? Slicing and dicing? Sure, send in the robots…maybe. Reducing the human element in the name of efficiency and profits? I don’t see a benefit worth the risks.

Image: Rock’n Roll Monkey on Unsplash

by krghospitality krghospitality No Comments

KRG Makes First Addition to Team for 2023

KRG Hospitality Makes First Addition to Team for 2023

KRG Hospitality Licensing Program logo

Jared Boller joins the KRG Hospitality team, serving as the agency’s in-house beverage educator, trainer, and menu developer.

TORONTO, ONTARIO—Today, KRG Hospitality is delighted to announce a new addition to their team. Jared Boller, a professional mixologist with two decades of experience, will be available to the agency’s clients for beverage menu development and training. He’ll serve as KRG’s master mixologist for North America.

Boller’s creativity, passion, and humility as a professional mixologist have led him on a journey around the globe. He has established himself as an industry leader, developing award-winning beverage programs in restaurants, bars, hotels, and casinos in several markets, including Denver, New York, Florida, Toronto. Throughout his career, Boller has won several cocktail competitions, educated teams for brands and industry organizations, and appeared in numerous publications.

“Restaurants, bars, hotels, and hospitality are in dire need of not only great employees but educated employees who can execute an owner’s vision,” says Boller. “I look forward to the next stage of my hospitality career with KRG, helping to inspire the future generations in everything related to beverage. My life’s journey has led me to the perfect opportunity with the team at KRG to collectively build future and existing brands.”

Additionally, he was the featured guest on episode 12 of the Bar Hacks podcast. People curious to learn more about Boller can listen to his Bar Hacks episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts.

With a growing list of accolades and numerous publications to his name, Boller most recently spent three years as the national whiskey ambassador for Proximo spirits. He prides himself on educating consumers and future bartenders on artistry behind the bar and providing history lessons to everyone that will listen. Boller is eager to share his extensive knowledge of spirits, cocktails, menu development, beverage innovation, and service.

“It’s an exciting time for KRG Hospitality, adding to the team just days into 2023,” says David Klemt, director of business development at KRG. “With Jared on the team our beverage programming, menu development and curation, training, and consulting will be even stronger. I know we’re all looking forward to our clients having the opportunity to work with Jared.”

About KRG Hospitality

KRG Hospitality is a storied and respected agency with proven success over the past decade, delivering exceptional and award-winning concepts throughout a variety of markets found within Canada, the United States, and abroad since 2009. Specializing in startups, KRG is known for originality and innovation, rejecting cookie-cutter approaches to client projects. The agency provides clients with a clear framework tailored to their specific projects, helping to realize their vision for a scalable, sustainable, profitable, memorable, and consistent business. Learn more at KRGHospitality.com. Connect with KRG Hospitality and the Bar Hacks podcast on social: KRG Twitter, Bar Hacks Twitter, KRG Media Twitter, KRG LinkedIn.

Image: KRG Hospitality

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Canadian Trends 2023: Technomic

Canadian Trends 2023: Technomic

by David Klemt

Tortilla with beans, cotija cheese and egg

Restaurant, bar, and hotel operators will find this year’s data-driven trend predictions from Technomic for 2023 insightful.

Interestingly but perhaps not surprisingly, some operators may be looking beyond North America for inspiration.

Per Technomic, Central and South American cuisines could influence menus in Canada this year. Other food trends that might take hold are “retro” health items, and all manner of pickled foods.

Of course, not every Canadian trend prediction involves F&B. According to Technomic, tech and the guest experience will play important roles.

To review last year’s Technomic predictions, click here. Now, let’s jump into Technomic’s 2023 predictions.

Guest Experience

Certainly, the guest experience should always be top of mind for operators, their leadership teams, and their staff.

In this instance, Technomic isn’t suggesting that the guest experience in general will be a trend. Obviously, with as important as it is to the success of any business, it’s a cornerstone.

Rather, Technomic predicts that guests will continue to feel the need to rein in their spending due to ricing costs and prices. However, the foodservice research firm also believes there’s still heavy desire for social interaction.

So, both those financial and social influences translate to the following: overdelivery.

Operators and their teams must ensure they position their brands well; make guests feel special every visit; and really dial in the guest experience. Specifically, Technomic suggests focusing on younger generations and menus with at least a couple specialty items that aren’t easy for a guest to replicate at home.

In other words, do whatever it takes to entice guests with memorable experience and quality menu items, and keep them coming back for more.

Technology

Multiple industry sources believe that 2023 is the Year of Tech for the hospitality industry. In particular, some sources believe that POS systems will receive significant attention from operators looking to upgrade.

Compellingly, Technomic sees the situation a bit differently. In particular, they’re suggesting that QR code menus may find themselves on the sidelines. Traditional menu, according to Technomic, will make their comeback this year.

Also making a (possible) resurgence? Per Technomic, in-person ordering for carryout and in-person dining.

As far as tech innovations that Technomic expects to take off this year, they see the following as standouts:

  • loyalty programs;
  • enhanced/upgraded cooking equipment;
  • automated inventory software/platforms; and
  • digital menu boards for back of house.

Culinary

As hinted at above, Central and South American cuisines are expected to take off in Canada, per Technomic.

The research firm provides specific—and delicious—examples:

  • Honduras: Baleadas tacos
  • Dominican Republic: Wasakaka sauce
  • El Salvador: Curtido slaw or relish
  • Peru: Aji amarillo and rocoto peppers
  • Bolivia: Saltenas, similar to empanadas

Another culinary trend Technomic predicts will perform well in Canada? Pickled everything.

Okay, maybe not everything. However, Technomic expects “pickling, fermenting, dehydrating and freeze-drying” to “increasingly pop up on menus.” The firm expects that operators will offer a wide range of “unusually pickled items outside of the typical veggies, including proteins and seeds.”

So, if you’re an operator reading this, it may be time to motivate your back-of-house staff to get creative with their pickling ideas.

Finally, pandemic-driven, health-based trend foods like turmeric and ginger may start to fade in popularity. Instead, predicts Technomic, items with “classic” health descriptors such as “natural,” “real,” “free,” “reduced,” and “lower” will get attention from guests looking to eat and drink healthier.

For your own copy of this Technomic report in its entirety, click here.

Image: Roman Odintsov on Pexels

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