AI in Restaurants: Using ChatGPT to Write Menu Descriptions
Jun 23, 2023
The restaurant industry has always thrived on creativity, innovation, and adaptability. But in the digital age, artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming a key ingredient in the recipe for restaurant success.
For starters, AI technology like ChatGPT can dramatically reduce the time restaurant management spends on common marketing tasks. You can leverage AI to generate social media posts, Google Ads, review responses—even your marketing plan—in a matter of seconds.
In this post, we'll show you how to prompt ChatGPT to take care of another time-consuming chore: writing effective menu descriptions. We encourage you to check out ChatGPT as you follow along so you can experience the power of AI in restaurants firsthand.
What is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is a computer program developed by OpenAI that uses machine learning to generate human-like text. It generates responses by predicting what should come next based on the input it receives.
Its primary applications include drafting emails, writing code, creating written content, tutoring in a variety of subjects, translating languages, simulating characters for video games, and even creating poetry. It's also used to power virtual assistants and answer queries.
Best of all, it's extremely easy to use. You don't need to be a programmer to start benefiting right away. You just need to know how to "prompt it"—a.k.a., ask it for what you want. Below, we show you how to do just that.
Please remember to avoid sharing confidential information or trade secrets in conversations with ChatGPT to ensure data security and protect sensitive intellectual property.
Using AI in restaurants to write menu descriptions
We all know how critical menu descriptions are for selling menu items. As an AI language model, ChatGPT has been trained on a broad range of data, including a vast array of food-related language. It can assist in writing creative, engaging, and mouth-watering menu descriptions that can make dishes more appealing to customers while saving you valuable time. Here's how:
- Ingredient highlighting: ChatGPT can elaborate on the ingredients used in each dish, emphasizing the quality and freshness of these components to elevate the perceived value of the dish. It can also highlight exotic or unique ingredients that might intrigue customers.
- Culinary techniques: Whether your dish is slow-roasted, pan-seared, or sous-vide, ChatGPT can articulate these culinary techniques in a way that illustrates the care and expertise that goes into each dish.
- Sensory descriptions: ChatGPT can craft descriptions that appeal to customers' senses, painting a vivid picture of the dish's taste, texture, aroma, and presentation.
- Storytelling: If your dishes have a story – perhaps they're based on a grandma's recipe or inspired by a chef's travels – ChatGPT can weave these narratives into the descriptions to create a more engaging dining experience.
- Personalization: Based on the style and tone of your restaurant – be it upscale and sophisticated, casual and homey, or modern and innovative – ChatGPT can tailor the descriptions to match, helping to reinforce your brand identity.
However, while ChatGPT can be a valuable tool for drafting menu descriptions, it's important to review and fine-tune the AI-generated content. This ensures that the descriptions accurately represent your dishes and resonate with your specific audience. A chef or someone with deep knowledge about each dish should also review the descriptions to ensure accuracy and authenticity.
Writing a successful prompt for menu descriptions involves including key elements that allow an AI language model like ChatGPT to generate creative, engaging, and descriptive text. Here are the main elements to include:
- Type of restaurant: Detailing the type of restaurant (Italian, farm-to-table, vegan, upscale, etc.) allows the AI to understand the context and tailor the descriptions accordingly.
- Dish details: Provide a brief explanation of each dish, including main ingredients, cooking methods, and any unique features. This gives the AI the necessary information to generate a detailed description.
- Tone and style: Describe the desired tone of the descriptions (formal, casual, playful, etc.). The tone should align with the restaurant's brand identity and the expectations of its target customers.
- Emphasis points: Highlight what you want emphasized in the description. This could be the quality of ingredients, the chef's expertise, the dish's origin, health benefits, etc.
- Sensory appeal: Ask for descriptions that appeal to the senses. Good menu descriptions often create a vivid mental picture by appealing to the senses of taste, smell, and sight.
- Length: Indicate how long you want the descriptions to be. Too long can be off-putting, while too short may not convey enough information.
Example prompt for menu descriptions
"Imagine you are creating a menu for an upscale, farm-to-table restaurant that focuses on locally sourced, organic ingredients and innovative, creative dishes. Write descriptive and enticing menu entries for the following dishes:
- Pan-seared sea scallops served with a parsnip purée and garnished with microgreens.
- Slow-roasted, herb-crusted rack of lamb served with a red wine reduction and a side of garlic mashed potatoes.
- Vegan lasagna made with house-made pasta, seasonal vegetables, and almond ricotta, topped with a rich tomato sauce.
Remember to emphasize the quality of the ingredients, the skillful preparation, and the unique flavors of each dish."
Resulting AI-generated menu descriptions
- Ocean's Bounty: Dive into a taste of the sea with our Pan-seared Sea Scallops. Each morsel is carefully seared to golden perfection, bringing out the natural sweetness and succulence of the scallops. Paired with a creamy, subtly sweet parsnip purée and garnished with vibrant microgreens sourced from local farms, it's a captivating blend of oceanic and earthy flavors.
- Herbivore's Delight: Experience a feast for the senses with our slow-roasted herb-crusted Rack of Lamb. The lamb, locally sourced and ethically raised, is slow-roasted to preserve its juicy tenderness, then encrusted with a blend of aromatic herbs that complement its rich flavor. Served with a robust red wine reduction and a side of velvety garlic mashed potatoes, this dish is a testament to our commitment to quality and flavor.
- Garden Harvest Lasagna: Who said vegan dishes lack flavor? Our Vegan Lasagna defies expectations. Freshly made pasta sheets layer with seasonal vegetables harvested at the peak of freshness and creamy almond ricotta. A hearty ladle of rich, house-made tomato sauce adds the final touch. It's a colorful, nutritious, and delectable ode to the bounty of the garden.
Those are great descriptions, but let's say you'd like to make them more concise. In your next prompt, just ask ChatGPT to "limit these to 20 words or less."
Revised AI-generated menu descriptions
- Ocean's Bounty: Savor succulent pan-seared scallops paired with creamy parsnip purée and garnished with local, fresh microgreens.
- Herbivore's Delight: Taste slow-roasted, herb-crusted lamb served with a robust red wine reduction and velvety garlic mashed potatoes.
- Garden Harvest Lasagna: Enjoy our vegan lasagna with house-made pasta, fresh seasonal vegetables, almond ricotta, and rich tomato sauce.
If you're unhappy with the results, click the "Regenerate response" button, and ChatGPT will rewrite the descriptions.
Start using AI in your restaurant today
The digital age has brought innovative solutions to the restaurant industry, including artificial intelligence, particularly ChatGPT. Leveraging this powerful tool can revolutionize your marketing strategies.
Just remember, artificial intelligence is not a replacement for human creativity and insight but a tool to enhance it. Embrace this technology to refine your marketing efforts, attract a broader customer base, and elevate your restaurant business to new heights of success.