Najm Saqib Bajwa, Managing Director NuqtaSol (Resume)
The restaurant businesses predominantly use paper based menu cards/books to inform the in-house customers about the available food options. This traditional method leads to some serious issues, described below, due to which the industry is underperforming.
- Limited Food information:
The paper-based menu limits the service offerings and does not provide any visual information about the food and thus the diners do not get any information about the serving size, food ingredients and special offers, which may lead to ruining the dining experience of customers in case of misinformation.
- No Review/Feedback available at the food item level:
There is no proper way of receiving feedback from the dining customers at the level of individual dishes. Generally, paper based feedback forms are collected or some online websites usually collect feedback for the restaurants. The lack of resources to collect dish specific feedback limits the restaurants to improve upon their menus and also does not provide any help to new customers to choose a dish based on the experiences of past customers.
- No means of monetizing excessive Food:
There is a lot of food wastage in restaurant industry. The restaurants do not have any medium available to dynamically offer promotions and discounts on excessive food in the paper-based menu cards.
In order to solve the above-mentioned problems, we aim to develop an e-menu platform, i.e., Peekafood, for the restaurants to better connect and develop understanding of their customers through sentiment analysis of feedback, customer behavioral analytics and machine learning based food recommendations. We mainly plan to develop Android and iOS apps to act as digital menu cards for the customers and a web portal for restaurant’s management. The customers would be able to access restaurant menu on their phones in a very visual and interactive manner, define their preferences and avail discounts/promotions offered by respective restaurants. The restaurants would be provided reporting dashboards to analyze market response, promote food items, offer discounts and to manage their dynamic food menu. We also plan to develop a novel Azure text analysis API based solution to provide restaurants with customers’ feedback and rating, Azure Machine Learning studio based implementation of food recommendation engine for the customers and augmented reality for displaying food menu. These capabilities would allow us to attract the restaurants and avid foodies from all around the country in the beginning and later from around the globe and thus capture the national and global market share of the ever-growing food industry. Moreover, we also plan to commercialize our product through a viable business plan during the course of this project.
The project is going to be conducted in close collaboration between academia (NUST) and industry (NuqtaSol), where the originator of the idea is NuqtaSol and they would be primarily responsible for shaping the ideas and the marketing of the product whereas the NUST team would be engaged in developing the products and resolving the research based challenges.