Interview: The Turnkey Tech Enabling Personalized Menu Experiences That Resonate With All Diets
We spoke with Scott Sanchez, the founder and CEO of THE.FIT, an AI-powered menu personalization technology that works across various digital touchpoints so guests can be properly served according to nutritional and dietary needs
Restaurants and food providers across the board are increasingly interested in accommodating the plethora of diets and lifestyles that their customers follow, from gluten-free and paleo to vegan and raw. However, the complexity and price of communicating the compatibility of their menus with customers can be daunting, especially for smaller or entrenched franchises.
This is something software as a service (SaaS) platform THE.FIT is aiming to change, offering a streamlined solution for operators of various food establishments and across a multitude of digital touchpoints. Using advanced personalization technology, THE.FIT creates QR codes for restaurants to provide their patrons with, which they can access via mobile, choose their dietary needs or preferences and view a completely tailored menu, ultimately streamlining their selection process while also helping restaurants increase the visibility of their options.
PSFK caught up with CEO and founder Scott Sanchez to find out about the advantages to both restaurants and their patrons that AI personalization can provide, increasing margins while directing hungry customers to the best options for them:
Where would you rank guest loyalty in terms of importance when it comes to improving CX?
Guest loyalty and customer experience are linked. When one metric rises or falls, the other often does the same. Said another way, declining loyalty can be due to a poor customer experience, and an improved customer experience can lead to better loyalty. THE.FIT helps restaurants deliver a better customer experience, and improved guest loyalty to their brand is the outcome. We've written about this on our blog as well: Five Benefits of Restaurant Personalization Technology—Improving Customer Experience (CX).
You list the improvement of guest loyalty as one of the five benefits of personalization technology. How important is preserving guest loyalty in a restaurant industry that has to accommodate a growing number of dietary needs and requirements?
Guests with dietary preferences or food allergies have an increasing number of speciality restaurant choices that just didn't exist at a wide scale a few years ago. Traditional restaurants with a menu designed to serve the broad population can use THE.FIT to create personalized menu experiences for these guests to bring them in and keep them coming back, or they can keep their static menu that doesn't resonate with that guest, which will lead that guest to take their hunger and wallet down the street to a restaurant better able to serve their needs and dietary preferences.
Why is AI better at the personalization game than humans?
THE.FIT's Personalization AI can take an unlimited number of data sources as inputs to generate recommendations, and it can do that all day long, without ever getting tired or making the same boring recommendations, because the recommendations in an AI-powered system get better over time. For as long as there have been restaurants, there have been questions to staff from guests about what to order. Unless a restaurant employee is also an expert on dietary preferences, food allergies, and also on the nutritional composition and financial margin of every ingredient on the menu, THE.FIT's Personalization AI has the potential to create a better menu for the guest and better margin for the restaurant operator.
How important is menu optimization on the restaurant-side to ensure THE.FIT's personalization is properly serving guests?
Optimization and personalization on menus are different things entirely, and often confused as a result of how they're marketed. We wrote about the difference between optimization and personalization in a recent blog post. In short, menu optimization should provide a more efficient, more profitable menu for the restaurant, and has become table stakes for any digital menu platforms. Menu personalization goes beyond optimization and is about giving your guest a menu that makes them as happy as possible to spend their hard earned money with your brand, in that exact moment. Put simply, THE.FIT Personalization AI brings restaurants more profit AND happier guests.
How far away are we from a reality where all 100 million Americans who have specific dietary preferences are being served by personalization AI?
This isn't some promise of the future—THE.FIT Personalization AI exists today. The only barrier for restaurants to better serving those 100 million Americans is the adoption rate of new technology by restaurant brands and operators.
Where does THE.FIT see itself in helping to accommodate those millions of preferences?
THE.FIT's Personalization AI is an easy add-on to the existing technology investments restaurants are already making. For example, restaurants can add our Personalization AI to any (or all) of their digital interfaces with their guests, right now. Examples of where a restaurant can add THE.FIT's Personalization AI include self-ordering kiosks, digital drive-through experiences, digital menu boards, mobile apps, tablets, websites, point of sale systems, delivery marketplaces, reservation platforms and anywhere else that they have a “digital” touchpoint with their guests. The future of restaurants will be personalized, and THE.FIT is helping the industry deliver on that reality!
Brands can integrate THE.FIT’s menu customization to their stores in a matter of weeks. Ultimately, SaaS hopes to lower the barrier to entry for all restaurant operators looking to implement AI personalization tech that consumers are increasingly coming to expect from their retail experiences across all verticals.