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3 Ways AI is Transforming Fast Casual

Imagine if every employee had an answer to even your most difficult business questions. From employee attendance records to KPI tracking, there is really no limit when it comes to artificial intelligence (AI) — all you have to do is “feed the beast!” The number one requirement for successful AI is having data — data is how the system learns and evolves. No data, no AI. 

If you are not already creating a technological backbone for your restaurant(s), it’s not only a good idea to get moving, it’s a must for survival and exactly why our team at Square Roots Kitchen has based all of our operations around our proprietary Ordering and Kitchen Management System (KMS). We made it not only fast, accurate, customizable and ultimately helpful to the user, but also a machine that never stops working towards a stronger infrastructure for our team.

Here are three ways that AI will be a transformative influence on the fast casual space and the restaurant industry as a whole.


1. Ordering

Google Home, Alexa and other technologies such as chatbots are now being used as a way to order from favorite fast casual restaurants. These devices make it easier than ever to reorder your favorite meal or to answer the age-old question of “What should we do for dinner?” You now have a true eating companion that never forgets your preferences when it comes to diets, allergies and even the levels of spice that will hit your taste buds just right. Fast casual restaurants have a huge opportunity to become the go-to spot for families across the U.S. by embracing the shortest path to a good meal, AI.


2. Kitchen Efficiencies

AI doesn’t stop at the customer. Fast casual restaurants that embrace AI can create major efficiencies in the kitchen. By using historical data, AI has the ability to predict business on a day-to-day basis. Here is an example: It’s June 1, 2018, your system tells you that based on this date, the weather and any other local events historically scheduled at this time, you better prepare at least 530 chicken wraps, 612 steak wraps, 250 chicken salads, etc. This can help management to properly order and ultimately eliminate waste. The same holds true for dry goods and other supplies. Ding, ding, ding — the traditionally low-margin industry just got a little bit sweeter. 


3. Operations & Management

Traditional restaurants count on alcohol to offset the minimal margins on food so where does that leave fast casual? It leaves a race to find new paths to a successful formula. Many of the points we discussed above lead to what we call “operational efficiencies.” 

AI has an opportunity to become not only an acting general manager of each location but the hub of everyday business by taking on responsibilities of all sorts, from revenue forecasting and KPI analysis to employee management and scheduling.  


Square Roots Kitchen's Jason White

What was your first job? 

I started from the bottom at my father’s electrical contracting company doing anything from sweeping the parking and weeding to stocking the shelves. 

Who inspires you? There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about what exciting news I can share with my father. Not only do we look, stand and act very similarly, we both have that entrepreneurial fire to create our own successes in life.

What are your hobbies? 

Fishing, hunting, hitting the gym, traveling with my wife and hanging out with my pup. I basically love the outdoors and anything that comes with it.

What technologies excite you? Artificial Intelligence and blockchain are on the top of my list. It is truly the next wild west and applicable to just about every vertical out there.

Sage Advice: Adapt or get left behind. Technology is not going anywhere and it will only become a bigger and bigger part of our everyday lives. Consumers have no shortage of options when it comes to food. Speed, accuracy, customization, and ease of ordering are the new standards.

What is one other job that you would like to try? Trader

What is one goal that you would like to achieve in your life? I want to create a platform that helps first-time entrepreneurs achieve their goals in both product and funding.

What is your favorite vacation spot? Greece


Jason White is the co-founder and CTO of Square Roots Kitchen (SRK), a tech-enabled, fast-casual restaurant that’s positioning itself at the cutting edge of the food industry.  

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