AI-powered dietary tool aims to amp up restaurant margins, satisfy customers –

A menu personalization engine for restaurant customers is promising to help operators increase their ticket sizes and beef up margins by helping guests create customized meals from any brand’s menu. 

THE.FIT is designed to simplify things for diners who have specific dietary mandates, including those suffering from gluten intolerances and food allergies as well as people who follow keto, vegetarian or keto diets. The company said in a news release that without the use of its tool diners must read the dietary symbols on the menus and in fine print or consult with the kitchen for ingredients information. 

How it works

The engine automates the process via the customer’s phone camera without using an additional phone app.  

  1.  Customers scan QR codes (read from signs provided to restaurants by THE.FIT’s QR code) to open that restaurant’s fully branded page, allowing diners to specify their dietary preferences with several selection taps on the interface shown in the image, including options for needs like gluten-free and low-carb. 
  2. THE.FIT instantly generates that brand’s menu options based chosen dietary preferences, but also optimized for restaurant margin and operational capabilities. 

In an interview with QSRweb, THE.FIT CEO Scott Sanchez provided an example of how the engine’s automated intelligence pulls all the elements together for a customer with special dietary preferences like gluten intolerance and carbohydrate avoidance. 

“For example, if you select Gluten Free and Low Carb at the taco shop, our Personalization AI might suggest you order the steak burrito bowl, with no rice, no beans, extra veggies, and add avocado for a $2 extra charge, because avocado is delicious and helps boost the restaurant’s ticket sizes and margin,” Sanchez said. 

Sanchez said the company has focused on both established and emerging brands with 10 or more locations for cloud-based software as a service subscription tool. He said prices started at $100 a month per location with no long-term contracts and no additional hardware or software purchases required. 

“We’re scheduling our first store rollouts now with a number of notable restaurant brands and expect to be live in these initial stores later this month,” Sanchez said, though he did not provide the names of the brands involved. “As a fully cloud-based solution, onboarding and launching new brands and restaurant locations takes days, not months or years. Because implementing our technology is low-risk and presents few hurdles, we’ve found that brands are intrigued by this opportunity.”

During customers’ subsequent visits to a restaurant, THE.FIT uses AI to collect data around ordering habits, demographics and social engagement to improve the customer experience through enhanced personalization.

“More than 100 million Americans are now watching what they eat, and food allergies are on the rise,” Sanchez said. “THE.FIT puts the actual person back into personalization and solves a massive pain point for diet-conscious consumers while creating a revenue opportunity for restaurants.”

Sanchez said restaurants can roll out the tech in stores in “a matter of weeks” in a four-step implementation process that includes:

  • Onboarding: THE.FIT “ingests” each restaurant location’s menu and key nutritional information into THE.FIT’s AI system.
  • Fine-tuning: THE.FIT reports a breakdown of menu items to restaurant management, validates assumptions made about ingredients, reviews AI-generated personalized menus and calibrates to maximize margin and overall ticket sizes.
  • Testing: THE.FIT is introduced in three to five test locations and begins generating recommendations for guests. THE.FIT team works closely with the restaurant brand and local operators to make any final revisions to the Personalization AI.
  • Wide rollout: Once corporate management, local operators and guests are satisfied with the implementation and performance at the test locations, a rollout plan for remaining locations is developed.

Following implementation, restaurant brands and operators receive detailed monthly reports showing their customers’ usage and personalization trends so they can optimize menus and operations accordingly. 

Inset photo: Provided