Photo: Lynne Cameron/PA/Getty

As of late, T.G.I. Friday's — that American stalwart of strip malls and airports — has a surprisingly modern engine behind it: artificial intelligence.

What's going on: As researchers keep pushing AI forward, increasing types of businesses are experimenting with basic forms of the technology to cut costs, resolve problems efficiently — and achieve a little wow factor.

The big picture: To hear Friday's tell it, few aspects of its global enterprise haven’t been injected with AI.

  • Algorithms help managers order ingredients, deal with food waste, schedule staff members, and identify fraud.
  • By analyzing staff tips and the average check of the tables they wait, managers get automated recommendations for who gets what shift.

The company is also experimenting with micro-targeting to lure customers more often, Sherif Mityas, chief experience officer at Friday’s, tells Axios.

  • An experimental system can identify frequent customers by their phone. Staff can then greet them by name and lead them to a table where their favorite cocktail is already waiting.
  • Combining cellphone location information with data on who has connected to restaurant wi-fi can allow Friday's to nudge people within a 5-mile radius to come in for dinner.
  • The system starts small, and ramps up its micro-targeting if it gets positive feedback. "You're messing around with guests, so you want to be very careful," Mityas said.

The bottom line: This is a far cry from futuristic robot restaurants in Beijing and Tokyo, but the algorithms at Friday’s reflect the mundane ways AI will soon pervade business.

Go deeper: More on AI-powered micro-targeting at T.G.I. Friday’s (WSJ)

Go deeper

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Driving the news: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are ready to move to confirm Trump's nominee before Election Day, just 46 days away, setting up one of the most consequential periods of our lifetimes, the sources say.

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Democratic and Republican lawmakers along with other leading figures paid tribute to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Friday night at age 87.

What they're saying: “Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature," Chief Justice John Roberts said. "We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn, but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her — a tireless and resolute champion of justice.”

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The big picture: Ginsburg had suffered from serious health issues over the past few years. Her death sets up a fight over filling a Supreme Court seat with less than 50 days until the election.