Running a restaurant can be a risky enterprise, prone to fickle culinary trends and stock overages. Moreover, up to 40% of the U.S. food supply goes to waste, according to a report released last August by the Natural Resources Defense Council. Chicago-based startup Food Genius aims to shine some light on dining trends and ingredient demand using predictive analytics, serving these insights to restaurant owners, food producers, and distributors.
As founder Justin Massa explains in an interview with GigaOm, Food Genius’s analytics are culled from a database of 100,000 menus from restaurants around the country, the dishes on which are refined down to 14,000 ingredients. This “culinary taxonomy” offers a fine-grained view of food demand and the relationships between various ingredients. In turn, food producers and distributors can predict emerging dining trends gleaned from the menus at the hottest independent restaurants, bistros, brewpubs, and the like.
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