Zomato Cooks Generative AI with Microsoft Azure

“Because the people are lazy,” said Vaibhav Bhutani, the head of generative AI at Zomato, in the first ever episode of Azure Innovation Podcast.
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Zomato has been aggressively investing in generative AI so much so that it now has a dedicated role – head of generative AI – led by Vaibhav Bhutani, where he is working on couple of interesting use cases, including a multi-agent system for suggesting food options and enhancing user engagement and experience and more. 

Zomato believes that it is on a mission to “power India’s changing lifestyles.” With three main divisions—Zomato, Blinkit, and Hyperpure—the company is dedicated to providing better food experiences for more people. From revolutionising instant commerce to tackling malnutrition through its feeding arm, Zomato’s mission is multifaceted, aiming to cater to diverse aspects of society.

Bhutani discussed at the first episode of Azure Innovation Podcast with Ross Kennedy, VP of Digital Natives, about how Zomato uses generative AI to provide different customer experience. (see below)

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People need convenience because they are lazy

“People are lazy, and it’s very hard to have a conversation these days,” said Bhutani emphasising that having conversations is the only way to collect data, and he said that it should become easier. This is one of the metrics that Zomato is chasing with generative AI. 

“Is chasing a chatbot an everyday use case, or is it not. And while building all these bots, one of the biggest learnings that I have had is that the UI of these bots is what truly matters,” said Bhutani highlighting that the company focuses and critically thinks about UI and UX design a lot. 

Bhutani said that he had a ton of options about how he would use generative AI. He emphasised that Microsoft and OpenAI’s GPT through Azure emerged as the natural choice, given Azure’s robust commitment to data privacy and security. The LLMs provided on Azure OpenAI Service became the foundation of Zomato’s generative AI architecture.

Bhutani further explained the adoption of a multi-agent system, where AI agents communicate with each other to offer comprehensive responses for the customers. The integration with Zomato’s ecosystem involves creating functions that seamlessly leverage generative AI contributing to a cohesive user experience.

“For me, adopting generative AI is a more personal journey,” said Bhutani. Drawing from personal experiences at Spyne, a SaaS AI photography tool, where he recognised the potential of generative AI in enhancing Zomato’s capabilities. The journey began with the creation of Recipe Rover at Blinkit—an AI-generated recipe tool featuring thousands of recipes, images, and text, using GANs and the company’s proprietary data. 

Bhutani believes that because of the amount of experimentation that Zomato has already done with generative AI, it is definitely going to be a copilot for our company. “we’re working with different teams who need high impact co-pilots so that we can enable large fleets of our team to make much better decisions and faster decisions,” he said. 

Generative AI in Food

In September, Zomato released its Zomato AI Buddy. Going beyond the limitations of traditional chatbots, Zomato AI stands as an intelligent and intuitive foodie companion, dedicated to understanding and satisfying users’ ever-changing preferences, dietary requirements, and even their current moods.

One of the standout features of Zomato AI is its multiple agent framework, which equips it with a diverse range of capabilities to serve customers at any given moment. The framework provides Zomato AI with a variety of prompts for different tasks and activities. 

For instance, if you’re craving a specific dish, the AI will swiftly present you with a widget listing all the restaurants that serve your desired meal. If you’re uncertain about what to order, Zomato AI can suggest a list of popular dishes or restaurants, eliminating the guesswork from your meal selection.

Zomato’s competitor, Swiggy, another food delivery platform in India, started using generative AI in July. Amitkumar Banka told AIM that the company is using generative AI to create customised food images based on specific requirements on their platform, and this is helping them serve millions of customers. “We are using generative AI to put the name, description, and image of food items to individual users based on browsing behaviour not only on Swiggy but on the entire internet,” he said. 

Similar to Zomato, Swiggy also recently unveiled a new feature called ‘WhatTo Eat’ that allows users to explore options based on their mood and cravings.

Mohit Pandey
Mohit dives deep into the AI world to bring out information in simple, explainable, and sometimes funny words. He also holds a keen interest in photography, filmmaking, and the gaming industry.

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