“This year, 16% of restaurant operators plan to invest in artificial intelligence, including voice recognition, according to a survey from the National Restaurant Association. Most of the big spending comes from large chains, which have the capital and scale to make the technology work for their businesses.

Even before the pandemic, labor costs had been rising for restaurants, leading operators to look to technology to boost their profit margins. Then Covid came, which not only accelerated labor costs but also led to a shift away from dining rooms and toward drive-thru lanes. California’s decision earlier this year to hike wages for fast-food workers to $20 an hour has only made operators more inclined to embrace technology to cut their labor costs, which has so far helped mostly in the automation of back-of-the-house tasks.”

From NBC News.