Technology has been the bedrock in transforming eating experiences to a digitised experience, including at corporate cafés and restaurants. Food technology start-ups have revolutionised the way Indians consume food. Artificial Intelligence can help to track, analyse, and predict how the entire food ecosystem runs right from sourcing of goods, its preparation to its consumption.
Revolutionising the corporate cafeterias and food courts and with a vision to drive disruptive innovations across them, Bangalore-based HungerBox is solving the problems faced by the key stakeholders in the institutional F&B segment.
Analytics India Magazine got in touch with the founders of HungerBox to understand the tech behind it. Founded in 2016 by Sandipan Mitra and Uttam Kumar, HungerBox is an institutional FoodTech company offering end-to-end F&B operations management for the clientele.
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HungerBox clocks more than 650,000 daily orders across 535 ‘digital’ cafeterias that the company manages for 158 clients in the corporate, education, healthcare and leisure sectors in more than 25 cities.
The company has acquired funding of $16.5 million from investors like Paytm, Sabre Partners, Kris Gopalakrishnan, Neoplux and LionRock Capital. HungerBox considers companies like Food@Work, Elior India, Sodexo and Compass as its potential competitors.
How Is It Driving AI & ML
The HungerBox platform pivots around four key elements-
b) Food safety
c) Unmatched operations rigour and
d) A proactive partnership approach to food vendor curation.
Recently, the company launched HungerBox ‘COVID-19 Safe’ solution, which helps in making cafeterias COVID-safe. The HungerBox ‘COVID-19 Safe’ solution follows a five-pronged approach that envelops aspects such as technology, user connect and communication, WHO-prescribed supervisor training, and enhanced protocols for kitchen and cafeteria operations. The platform includes rigorous checks on operations personnel and a tech-led monitoring system that encompasses a 360-degree view of cafeteria operations.
Mitra stated that HungerBox had launched this platform using an AI/ML-driven robust solution which makes the cafeterias COVID safe. In this specific use case, the HungerBox platform is using AI/ ML to regulate user flow into cafeterias and enables decongestion and enables enhanced crowd management.
This ensures that users visit the café only when it is safe and social distancing can be maintained. The company also provides personalised recommendations to the employees through its AI-driven technology setup, health mode for the health-conscious employees, etc., among other features.
The company has also launched an app-based solution that helps staff at workplaces conform to social distancing norms at their office cafeterias. HungerBox Safe Cafe Suite has launched Proximity Alert Smart Bands to provide corporates, educational institutes, etc. to maintain the social distancing protocols in their premises.
According to Mitra, using AI and machine learning, eleven different records would be maintained at partner kitchens, including several logs for sanitisation, cooking temperature, cleaning checklists for premises, transport, etc. HungerBox AI/ML-enabled system also helps customise the menu assortment for each food dispensing machine using the sales history and user behaviour.
How This Stands Out
To this question, Mitra said, “Our technology platform is a key prong that leverages our decade long experience in the food-tech space in order to provide value across the ecosystem. Not only do we afford a seamless ordering experience to the employees, but also we produce a host of benefits to our partner vendors.”
He added, “The biggest benefit that we have brought to the partner vendors is the reduction in cash pilferage from the earlier 15-22 % to 0% through the use of the HungerBox solution technology. No other player in the market has been able to provide such benefits across the ecosystem with such efficiency.”
Core Tech Stack
The tools and techniques that HungerBox use are mentioned below-
Language: Python, PHP, Swift, Java
Framework: Laravel, Angular, ionic
Database: MySQL, Pgsql, Redshift, Redis
Applications: AWS, NewRelic, BrowserStack, SumoLogic
In the next five years, the company is planning to cement its position as the leader in the institutional food tech space in India and also want to establish a global footprint.