OpenAI and ChatGPT are the talk of the tech pavilion at the 2023 National Restaurant Association Show, as generative AI starts to become an important tool in a restaurant operator’s toolbox, a trend that we’ve previously noted.
The latest technology leader to join the generative AI revolution is Popmenu, which just announced a new feature as part of the technology platform’s suite of capabilities that uses ChatGPT to automatically suggest, schedule and write digital marketing campaigns. Popmenu is able to “feed” crucial operator data including guest behavior, order history, and performance of previous marketing campaigns to ChatGPT, and then the artificial intelligence will spit out suggested content of social media posts, emails and texts to send out to customers and fans.
“As a human being, you don’t have to think about blinking or breathing—those are all automated things, so we try to think of, ‘what is the version of blinking and breathing on the restaurant marketing side of things?’” Brendan Sweeney, CEO and cofounder of Popmenu told Nation’s Restaurant News in an exclusive interview. “Just make it so you don’t have to think about that stuff; [the AI] really works and you can check on it to make sure it’s working properly but then you can go back to focusing on the things that are really important to running your restaurant.”
Much of the data that the new ChatGPT feature uses to create personalized social media posts and email marketing messages is captured as a natural result of using the platform, Sweeney said. So, Popmenu might know that the bacon cheeseburger is one of your best-selling dishes and will know to create a social media post based on encouraging your customers to come back and order it. Operators could ask ChatGPT to create a marketing message from scratch using a specific event (like a Taco Tuesday special) or a specific menu item, and they can choose the tone of the post (from family-friendly to witty or edgy), and then the AI will create a social media post that can be edited or reshuffled to create a completely new post.
PopMenu is also using AI to create entire monthly marketing campaigns based on the data the technology platform is already generating and some input from the operator (like how often you want to post on social media or text your most loyal guests). Based on the data and personalized input, Popmenu’s AI tool will then create a social media and digital marketing calendar that automatically creates and sends emails, texts and social media posts without the operator having to write or schedule it themselves.
“We figured out really early on that restaurants aren’t comfortable making content,” Sweeney said. “During Popmenu’s early days, I’d ask operators what they were doing about email and they’d say, ‘I have MailChimp’ but then they’d have to write it, and they don’t like doing that and they’re too busy to do that.”
Of course, ChatGPT is not perfect: accuracy and uniqueness are concerns that all ChatGPT users across many industries have. Which is why Popmenu allows and encourages operators to look over, edit, and approve content, and to input as much data as possible to create unique content that doesn’t sound AI-generated.
“The fact that we have so many points of personalization and so much data means we can make a richer piece of content,” Sweeney said. “The limitation is the input. If you ask ChatGPT just to write an email about Taco Tuesday, it’s going to sound like everybody else’s, but we’re envisioning a future where if you’re, say, doing a campaign for St. Paddy’s Day, through ChatGPT, you could create personalized email or text marketing messages for customers based on dishes they’ve ordered […] With the rise of ChatGPT, we’re going to get flooded with spam, and I think it will take rich data to help you stand out.”
Right now, Popmenu is showcasing its AI-generated social and email posts on the National Restaurant Association show floor and is giving a sneak peek to a future function called Advisor, that will offer operators advice based on performance data from digital marketing campaigns, like “your orders were down last week, consider sending out this coupon to your guests!” which will add even more automated functionality to restaurant operations.
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