IHOP adds AI capabilities to online ordering

The family chain said the system will spotlight options that align with a user's demonstrated preferences on variables like spiciness and price.
The system is intended to customize the online ordering experience. | Photo: Shutterstock

IHOP is adding artificial intelligence to its online menu.

The family-dining chain said Thursday that its online ordering system has incorporated AI capabilities to personalize the experience for customers who want a delivered or takeout meal. The technology analyzes patrons’ past orders to spotlight selections that align with their demonstrated preferences.

IHOP cites the example of recommending the chain’s Poblano Eggs Benedict to a customer who’s shown a preference for spicy dishes.

The system can also showcase items that fit the customer’s preferred price range, according to the announcement. IHOP and competitors like Denny’s have stressed that fans of family-dining concepts are increasingly hunting for good deals. Both of those segment-leading brands have been striving to raise awareness of the bargains they offer.

IHOP says that more than 20% of its sales now come from delivery and takeout orders. Outside of family dining, many full-service restaurant chains are reporting a slowdown in off-premise business as customers resume their pre-COVID frequencies of dining out. But family-dining brands say they’re in a unique position to capture delivery sales because many of their restaurants remain open through the night and their kitchens slow down after breakfast, the busiest daypart for much of the segment. They report that their kitchens have plenty of unused capacity while casual-dining restaurants are at their busiest.

The foundations for IHOP’s new AI capabilities are Google’s Recommendations AI and BigQuery products. Google says the chain is the first within the restaurant business to use the Recommendations technology.

IHOP is owned by Dine Brands, also the parent of Applebee’s and Fuzzy’s Tacos.

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