As AI begins to make its way into everyday life across the globe, one market that has been slow to adopt it, is the food and beverage.
Fears about the technology taking over jobs and affecting privacy have circulated since the release of platforms like ChatGPT, but John Fan, Co-Founder of Stackdin Technologies, is an optimist, and sees a positive impact for the restaurant and foodservice operator to embrace AI.
Distinguishing Features of Stackdin’s AI
While ChatGPT simply answers questions, Stackdin’s AI program is solving specific, concrete issues, that are industry specific the restaurant sector. The innovative new solution offers advanced features for both restaurateurs and customers that maximize the guest experience. First released in 2021, the Stackdin mobile app describes itself as a “smart ordering ecosystem.” It began as a way to promote safe, contactless ordering during the pandemic, and since then, it’s evolved into so much more.
The user experience begins with a QR code: partner restaurants have them on each table, and once they’re scanned, users are presented with the restaurant’s menu. The Stackdin menu of features includes detailed ingredient list and corresponding photographs of each dish. But the fun starts when the dish is ordered: after an order is made, the AI system gets smarter, and it eventually gives customers recommendations based on taste profiles and dietary restrictions, which is especially useful for those unfamiliar with the cuisine.
“We are essentially bridging this knowledge gap,” Fan said, which not only enhances customer satisfaction but has the potential of creating loyal customers since it’s more likely they will have eaten something that they really liked.” Loyal customers are also offered rewards after each order which may be used towards future purchases.
Benefits for Employees and Restaurant Owners
The app is also useful for employees and restaurant owners in terms of both employee safety and tracking ingredients, dish success, and overall growth. It had an initial focus on working with Asian restaurants in New York City. Fan describes Asian cuisine operations as “extremely complex” in terms of ingredient quantities, and after hearing friends and family in the industry speak about common struggles regarding ingredient tracking, he and Co-Founder Marg Rajpara felt a calling to create a technology that would make ingredient tracking easier.
Ingredient Tracking and Data Insights for Growth
At many Asian restaurants, “the number of ingredients and stations involved can be really difficult to grasp with current tech,” Fan said, but the Stackdin app helps any restaurant, of any cuisine, accurately track all ingredients involved in a dish. This ensures that staff are familiar with the restaurant’s menu, but it also allows customers to review each ingredient that is used — an especially important detail for those with allergies and restrictions.
Along with ingredient tracking, Stackdin offers employers crucial data that may help with both short and long-term restaurant growth. According to Fan, one partner restaurant in New York City’s Chinatown had “no idea of which dishes were their best-selling ones,” before working with Stackdin. Now, with access to Stackdin’s monthly reports and pricing suggestions, they have knowledge that will assist them greatly going forward.
Stackdin also has the flexibility to supplement or replace an existing POS system. However, making the switch may not always be an easy process, Fan said, so the company has begun integrating into some preexisting POS systems and plans to collaborate with ones such as Toast and Square.
Unique AI Recommendation System of Stackdin
But the recommendation system is what really makes the Stackdin app stand out, especially in a world in which AI technology is so seemingly diverse. “There are currently no other AI recommendation systems out there that have our vision,” Fan said. And while it seems like a costly technology, Fan argues that it’s quite affordable: there are no hardware, subscription, or flat fees, only a commission-based transaction fee which changes based on the credit or debit card a customer uses.
The first step to becoming for a restaurant or foodservice operator to partner with Stackdin is scheduling an internet check-up date to sort out wiring on the restaurant premises. The second step is scheduling a picture day, where an inhouse photographer visits the restaurant and takes photos for free. The final step is a quick staff training which ensures that everyone understands the software, and after that, businesses are prepared to use Stackdin to its fullest potential.
Prioritizing Customer Privacy and Cybersecurity
With access to a restaurant or foodservice operator’s customer info, Fan and Rajpara have built cyber protection features into Stackdin’s DNA. Stackdin’s is able to keep customer data private as it provides customized recommendations for guests. “Stackdin only collects data that customers consent with a focus on what you like to eat rather than sharing where you live,” Fan said. In addition, he said that the company has partnered with several of the most established names in cyber security corporations to provide secure ways of handling sensitive information.
Going forward, the company has plans to hire a full-time sales team in NYC. “We plan to aggressively roll out our product,” Fan said. Stackdin has already opened a 3 million dollar investment round, gained a few interested investors, and have opened up a tech office in China, proving that the limits to this smart technology are endless and that its effects will surely be seen all over the world as more restaurants hop onboard.
For more information on contactless ordering to loyalty rewards and improving workflow, and how Stackdin can unlock the potential of AI for your restaurant or foodservice operation, visit the company’s website.