Perfect Pairing: Food & Tech

By Katja Schroeder, Expedition PR

Last night, tech writer Jon Brodkin of Ars Technica tweeted “Did you know there are still people who take photos of every meal they eat and post them on Facebook?” Having just celebrated the launch of Falansai, a new Vietnamese restaurant in Brooklyn, which included the set-up of its social media channels, I could not help but thinking that sharing pictures of food is a good thing. While I might not want to see every single meal my friends are devouring, I trust their taste buds.  Sites like Yelp that are packed with consumer reviews and pictures of dishes help me and others decide where to grab the next lunch or dinner.

According to the 2011 State of the Social Media Survey NM Incite, 60% of social media users create reviews of products and services. That includes restaurant reviews, often with pictures.

Technology has created new visual and consumer-content driven marketing tools for the food and hospitality industry. A great picture of an amazing meal posted by a guest can be a restaurant’s best word of mouth.

At last week’s NY Tech Day, the world’s largest startup fair, a number of startups used technology to innovate the food services industry. Here are three of the companies who exhibited at the show.

Culinary Agents:  When stopping at the booth, the Culinary Agents team positioned their service as a “LinkedIn” for people who work in the food industry.  Right now, most of the LinkedIn users are some type of knowledge worker. Very few cooks are to be found on LinkedIn. Culinary Agents is building a community of talent from all walks of the food and beverage industry to feed a robust job search/match tool that drastically improves the process for both talent and talent seekers.

Plated:  Frustrated with having to think of recipes and to shop for all the ingredients to make a delicious meal? Plated is out to change that. This e-commerce platform provides gourmet dinner kits. Customers can cook delicious meals at home without the need for meal planning, recipe hunting or grocery shopping. This is how it works: Plated features a variety of new chef-designed meals each week. Choose the meals you want and order online. No need to grocery shop or recipe hunt (they do it for you).

FoodtoEat: FoodtoEat  proposes a new way to order food online from restaurants and food trucks.  The company created a common online hub for customers and vendors alike. Customers can customize their dining experience through a large selection of vendors that can be combined for one order. I immediately envisioned myself ordering a couple of my favorite foods from Williamsburg’s Smorgasburg to my home.

From POS systems like Breadcrumb to new types of food delivery services, technology is creating new ways to produce, serve and enjoy food – and share these experiences with others.

And congratulations to FoodtoEat. They are the winner of Expedition PR’s NY Tech Day raffle.