Artificial Intelligence Is Helping Restaurants Stay Afloat

For restaurants, survival during a global pandemic has depended on razor thin margins that determine whether they succumb to the circumstances and shut down or are able to keep their collective heads above water to make it through another day. Being able to make rent, labor, and food costs while dealing with drastic changes to their business models and slashed income from prohibited dine-in measures have been harrowing times for restaurant owners. 

Such circumstances have forced them to explore different solutions to help them stay afloat, which have come in the form of adapting to technology that addresses potential holes, mitigates cost, and keeps revenue streams steady. 

The latest episode of Foodbeast’s The Katchup podcast delves into the benefits of alternative technology for restaurants, giving them more options beyond the feeling of being forced to depend on third-party delivery apps just to make it by. One of which is Numa, a ground-breaking service that acts as a concierge for the restaurant, whether it be answering phone calls, messages, or streamlining operations.


I spoke with with Tasso Roumeliotis, co-founder and CEO of Numa, and Lex Gopnik-Lewinsky, owner & founder of Augie’s Montreal Deli in Berkeley, CA to talk about the benefits of alternative technology beyond third-party delivery apps and how they could be the next wave in restaurants taking advantage of different solutions to serve their customers.

However, there are other forms of technology that restaurants are implementing to help them get through the precarious situation of restaurant ownership during quarantine. Here are four that can help disrupt businesses’ reliance on third-party delivery apps.

4. Numa

Imagine your restaurant having a built-in concierge service. With Numa, this is a reality. The service connects to an existing business phone and answers incoming calls, texts customers and answers their questions, and provides team coordination tools which help streamline operations, amongst a host of other features.


3. Belly Melly

Recently there have been an ease of dine-in restrictions in parts of the country, which has led to some solutions needed for as much of a touch-less experience as possible. A company like Belly Melly is now available to offer a touch-free tech-enabled dining experience. The tech was specifically created for restaurateurs by restaurateurs as a free tool. Its technology allows for a zero-contact dining experience in which customers can pull up the restaurant’s menu, order their food, and pay all from the safety and convenience of their smartphones.

2. ChowNow

Founded in 2011 by Christopher Webb and Eric Jaffe, ChowNow is a unique tool for restaurateurs in that it lets their business individually build out and customize its own fully branded app. What's more, ChowNow has advantageous features that let consumers order from restaurants directly from Google search results and even from businesses' Instagram profiles.


1. Touchless Dining

As restaurants throughout America continue to ease restrictions on dining in, a new trend of a touch-free and tech-enabled experience has taken shape. Such tech, specifically created for restaurateurs, is available through new tools like BellyMelly and Order For Me. The advantage here is that both allow diners to view menus, order, and pay for their meals all via their smart phones.