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National Restaurant Association - Smart move: Former restaurant CEO pioneers AI startup

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Smart move: Former restaurant CEO pioneers AI startup

Clinton Coleman is not your typical tech-startup entrepreneur.

An investment and restaurant industry executive whose career has included interim roles as CEO and CFO at RAVE Restaurant Group, parent of Pizza Inn and Pie Five (and on whose board he still sits), Coleman is now a leader of the artificial intelligence movement applied to restaurants.

As the co-founder and CEO of Novo Labs, a startup specializing in AI and natural language processing, Coleman is bringing his technology, operations and finance expertise to this year’s Restaurant Innovation Summit, where he will participate on a panel about kiosks and other ordering innovations.

Coleman, one of the event’s “Startup Sponsors,” is looking for feedback on Novo Labs’ work to provide restaurant operators with artificial intelligence services that can take telephone orders.

“AI will enable new ways to engage with guests,” he said. “Restaurants can use all the information and data learned about the guest to personalize interactions. And the natural language processing will create a conversation, not just a linear transaction like a chatbot.”

Looking ahead, Coleman said he sees other applications for automated voice ordering in restaurants, including drive-thrus, kiosks and utilizing assistants, like Alexa.

Coleman also wants to help stores build revenue. Using his experience as a former investment analyst, he said that the biggest challenge for the industry is growing traffic in an oversaturated market. “Whatever your initiative is, you have to prioritize traffic,” he noted. “That will have a more long-term impact than anything else.”

He added that when an operator is deciding on what technology to invest in, he or she must consider “how it helps support our customer experience, makes it easier to be our customer and attract new customers.”

Coleman is just one of the panelists slated for the Summit’s kiosk design session, and one of many representatives from startups eager to educate operators about current and future technology.

Join us for the Restaurant Innovation Summit, Nov. 7-8 in Dallas. Register now.

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