When Food Meets Tech: S'pore's First AI-Powered F&B Brand Uses Analytics To Craft Its Menu
Meals is near the guts of many Singaporeans. And for one thing that has such an inexplicable energy to make us really feel pleased, it’s normally ready with an considerable serving of the human contact.
Consider cooks and hawkers who lovingly excellent their recipes in order that they finally get to see a smile on their buyer’s face.
Being within the enterprise of feeding individuals is kind of a private affair.
So when F&B group Ebb & Circulate dropped us an e-mail about their newest idea, Wrap Bstrd, a number of months in the past, I used to be intrigued by their unconventional strategy.
What piqued my curiosity was that this new meals model was nearly totally a product of synthetic intelligence.
Introducing Wrap Bstrd
On the floor, Wrap Bstrd is an edgy model that’s taking a spin on wraps with its distinctive and adventurous flavours.
Of their lineup you’ll discover wrap flavours you by no means anticipated, like char siew rice, tacky bulgogi beef, and spicy rooster Indomie — their greatest hit.
Past the meals, the model additionally enhances its uncommon menu with a powerful angle.
Its mascot is a roughed-up rat sporting an eye fixed patch, a lacking tooth, and a mischievous grin. It additionally dons a pair of overalls and wears Crocs with socks — the last word assertion to say he frankly doesn’t give a rattling what individuals suppose.
In case you related wraps with a wholesome (and typically boring) weight loss plan, Wrap Bstrd makes it completely clear that they aren’t taking part in in the identical house.
“Not a fxxxing salad wrap,” they proclaim on all their social media pages.
It might be simple to imagine that this was an concept dreamed up by a gaggle of younger, cheeky foodiepreneurs, who merely like to experiment with loopy meals mixtures and need to share them with the world.
However let’s dive in to what Wrap Bstrd actually is.
Utilizing Tech To Construct What Customers Need
We acquired to talk with Philipp Ok. Helfried and Ian Chapman-Banks, two of the individuals who headed the creation of Wrap Bstrd.
Philipp is the chief funding officer at Ebb & Circulate Group, a Singapore-based technology-driven F&B firm, whereas Ian is the co-founder and CEO of SQREEM Applied sciences, an AI and information analytics agency.
SQREEM’s position on this venture was to collect and provide client behavioural information to assist form an idea that folks would get pleasure from.
They analysed over 200,000 particular person information factors, which Ian says have been gathered by means of “digital actions from search to publicly out there social content material”.
A few of the key observations they drew of individuals within the CBD have been that they get pleasure from native consolation meals like hawker dishes, but in addition most popular to devour meals conveniently.
I discussed earlier that the model was nearly totally created by AI, and that is the place it blends with human effort.
With the entire information mapped out, Ebb & Circulate then got here in with their workforce of analysts and cooks to create a menu tailor-made to shoppers’ wants.
The involvement of AI went even so far as “informing [their] ingredient selections”, nonetheless, it was nonetheless right down to the cooks so as to add their contact of creativity and resolve what to do with these steered substances.
In addition to the menu, even the id and tonality of the model was developed based mostly on their information.
Basically, they didn’t simply faucet into what shoppers want to eat, but in addition how they want a model to work together with them.
Digitisation Is Inevitable
In all their earlier work, Ebb & Circulate has at all times taken a technology-first strategy.
Being a technology-driven firm means acknowledging that the digitisation of companies is inevitable, and that it’s fascinating in a traditionally conventional business reminiscent of F&B the place most processes are nonetheless handbook.
Philipp Ok. Helfried, chief funding officer of Ebb & Circulate
To this point, they’ve primarily carried out expertise into their operational processes.
Every of their manufacturers, just like the underground speakeasy Chinese language restaurant The Dragon Chamber, and burger joint Love Deal with, are powered by the order administration techniques and stock monitoring options the corporate develops in-house.
They’re additionally making these options out there to different F&B corporations by means of licensing and white-labelling.
In distinction with every part they’ve carried out to this point, Philipp explains that Wrap Bstrd is the primary model they’ve ever tried to create counting on AI from the very begin.
“We imagine that that is really game-changing, because it proves that expertise can be utilized not solely in an operational context, but in addition help within the growth of enterprise and product technique,” he says.
One query that popped into my head was whether or not this strategy meant that it prices much more simply to get issues began.
Surprisingly, Ian shares that it truly helped to “save among the giant prices related to operating a restaurant”.
An enormous benefit of utilizing AI and information analytics was that the time it took to conceptualise, take a look at their concepts, and take them to market was drastically shortened.
Whereas this could normally take as much as six months for conventional companies, it took them lower than eight weeks, thus saving money and time on the R&D course of.
The Supply-Solely Technique Proved Apt Amid Covid-19
One other first for Ebb & Circulate was the choice to launch Wrap Bstrd as a delivery-only model out of their Darkish Kitchen Lab.
This too was influenced by SQREEM’s information which highlighted that customers needed handy takeaway choices within the CBD, coupled with their statement that the meals supply house introduced a possibility for progress.
Though the model was launched in February this yr, their delivery-only technique grew to become much more related because the Covid-19 pandemic worsened months later.
Upon launch, Wrap Bstrd did higher than anticipated, surpassing its gross sales targets by “greater than 65 per cent”.
In lower than two months, they began getting requests from clients past the CBD, which pushed them to prioritise increasing their supply capabilities.
Wrap Bstrd managed to roll out islandwide supply by means of GrabFood, Deliveroo and Oddle in time for the circuit breaker, and even noticed orders enhance by 25 per cent week-on-week.
With a wider viewers to feed now, they’ve additionally gone again into extra analysis to know the wants of various teams of shoppers past the CBD crowd.
“Now we have constructed a complete database of geographic and socio-demographic information mapped throughout Singapore, to higher perceive vital elements reminiscent of inhabitants and restaurant density,” says Philipp.
It’s been lower than half a yr, however Wrap Bstrd has to this point confirmed the success of merging expertise with artistic F&B ideas, and being a digital participant has helped the model keep resilient towards closures.
For Ebb & Circulate, this implies extra AI-driven darkish kitchen manufacturers will likely be within the pipeline all through the remainder of 2020.
Featured Picture Credit score: Ebb & Circulate / Wrap Bstrd