if you build it, they may come — AI eateries

Lucille Ball

Photo Source: Clown Ministry

Prototype: Making Fast Food Even Faster

By Michael Fitzgerald, 28 Oct. 2007, New York Times/ Technology

See pre-AI technology: The Candy Store — I Love Lucy: YouTube

“It took four years, for instance, for HyperActive Technologies, which makes a system that uses artificial intelligence to predict customer order flow, to have a restaurant chain buy the product. And it took three years for Exit 41, a developer of call-center software, to make its first significant corporate sale. HyperActive Technologies started selling its system, HyperActive Bob, in 2003 and had a few sales here and there. But not until January this year did it land a corporate customer, when Zaxby’s Franchising, a chain of 400 restaurants based in Athens, Ga., approved the system for use in all its franchises.

“And, this month, Swiss Chalet, a 190-restaurant unit of Cara Operations in Scarborough, Ontario, bought a new version of Exit 41’s software.

“Call-center technology is well established in most industries, and the restaurant business in general would seem a huge opportunity. There are an estimated 195,000 fast-food and 80,000 casual-dining restaurants in the United States, according to the National Restaurant Association. Most have adopted new technology only to a degree – computerized cash registers, for instance, or high-speed networking technology.

Interest is growing in restaurant technology companies. Venture capitalists have invested almost $650 million in 27 such businesses [emphasis by Newcomb] …” (full article)

Article Source: Michael Fitzgerald New York Times

Image source: Clown Ministry

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