ORANGE, Calif. (KABC) -- Of all the industries hurt by COVID, the restaurant business was among the hardest hit. Now that the pandemic has passed, many restaurants are looking for new ways to operate while facing a new struggle: the rising costs of food and labor
Some restaurants like Rodrigo's Mexican Grill in the city of Orange are utilizing technology, like handheld devices, to combat these issues.
"Handheld devices that we can take directly to the table makes things a lot quicker for turnaround for our customers," said Rod Fraser. "It means once the orders are placed, it goes directly to the kitchen, straight to the cooks and they can make it immediately."
Popmenu is a company helping restaurant owners utilize technology. A new Popmenu study researching U.S. restaurant leaders and consumers finds that restaurant revenue is steady or growing, but there is a 34% average increase in their labor costs.
"An AI phone system like we have at Popmenu allows the restaurant to answer 3-400 phone calls at the exact same time," said Tony Roy, COO, Popmenu. "They can do reservations, and they can do revenue generating activities without having to disturb what might be an already stressed labor force."
Many business owners may be struggling to find employees. Roy says AI technology isn't used to necessarily replace workers. It can be utilized to make things more efficient. He says AI technology can be used for posting automatically on a restaurant's social media, answering customers' questions and more
"We now have a greater insight into peak ordering times, or when people are making reservations, or when calls are happening at the most frequent basis, or are catering gigs most likely being ordered on Tuesdays and Wednesdays," said Roy.
More consumers are dining in or getting take out but convenience is a huge key.