The personal food brand helps us manage our food and drinks. It knows what we have in stock. It knows what new products are available. Gives us suggestions when we ask “What shall we have for dinner tonight?”, and then will take care of it too: have a pizza delivered? Make a quick meal ourselves? Or take our time to make a real nice dinner? Our personal food brand will also advice us on wine. It knows what we like and what our friends like, and constantly comes up with tailor-made suggestions. And don’t worry about allergies: our personal food brand guards us anywhere in the world. Very convenient!
Restaurantsite Urbanspoon now has an UrbanSpoon iPhone application which recommends a random restaurant in your immediate area by shaking the iPhone. To make this possible the application uses the GPS and movement sensors that are a standard part of the iPhone. This lets you experience a sense of surprise by a random choice.
Future vision by Erwin Van Lun
A few developments are hidden in this.
Firstly, brands are going into a dialogue with consumers and use their eyes, ears and antennae to do this. It’s not just about what the consumer clicks, types are presses, but also what’s said, how they look and how they move. It’s all feedback in the conversation and brands are slowly learning to deal with this. It might seem like a gadget now, but soon all brands will do it.
Secondly, there’s another trend hidden in this. Coaching brands, new brands that can find anything across the whole world, can surprise the consumer. But then knowing what the consumer doesn’t want. That’s the next step: that you can exclude what you don’t want. Just like with a master chef: just do something as long as it doesn’t contain blue cheese or coriander. This is also true for music, for media, for vacation destinations, for books.
In the London-based restaurant Inamo you can order food from your table, play games with other people in the restaurant, pay or order a cab. A beamer which projects images onto the black table surfaces makes it possible and through the use of a mouse visitors can browse through the menu and view images of the food. After placing your order you can view how your food is prepared using the 'chef cam'.
Future vision by Erwin Van Lun
Two structural developments are hiding in this example. Firstly this kind of development will lead to the creation of a next generation entertainment place where you can also eat. Like arcades arose from technology, technology in the restaurant kitchen will develop. Furthermore the delivery of additional service will definitely be given a shot. Soon automatic payment will be so smoothly arranged that we won’t even check the receipt. We’ll be recognized when we enter, get the suggestion of the month tailored to our wants, and we’ll just as easily walk outside again and money will be arranged for us. Also in large restaurants, also in other branches of those restaurants. That’s how the dialogue can bind people to the (restaurant)brand and this is an example of a development in that direction.
Supercook puts together a recipe based on the ingredients in your home. You look at what's in your fridge, pantry or kitchen cupboards, add your ingredients and the search engine will find recipes that allow you to make a meal immediately. Useful when you want something quickly and don't have time to go to the supermarket (or when it's closed).
Future vision by Erwin Van Lun
Brands will assist us with everything. Currently with what’s in our home, soon these groceries, recipe databases and our preferences will be combined. In your car on your way home from work you can consult with your food coaching brand to go out, have something delivered, pick up a meal or ingredients yourself or making something based on what you’ve got at home. Because soon your food coaching brand will have access to your kitchen cupboards and will read your supply through small (rfid) chips that will be in every product sooner or later. Then food coaching brands can grow into a complete brand. We’re truly at the beginning of what’s about to come.
At Kaap Hoorn, a restaurant in the Dutch city Haren, visitors can now order and pay through their cell phones. A visitor can look up the menu on their cell phone and place an order. It's paid up front by RaboMobiel. The receipts are printed after payment is received.
Step by step we’re saying goodbye to paper. Not just customer passes, not just magazines, but we’ll also see less of all small paper, such as menu cards, flyers or doctor’s receipts. With as most important reason that brands want to communicate and communication happens per definition in a dialogue not a monologue as we were forced to by paper.
Dutch restaurant site Iens no longer simply compares restaurants or diners, but also gives the consumer the ability to book a table immediately. On a restaurant page the visitor can enter the day, the amount of people and the desired time and see whether there's a table available. The first 150 restaurants have since connected their booking system to Iens.
Both Iens and Livebookings, real-time booking partner in this course, make money of these bookings. When a visitor books a table the owner of the establishment pays 2 Euros. If a reservation is cancelled, no costs are charged.
Iens used to earn as much from the site as it did from its guides, but it wants to earn much more from the website. The yearly revenue of about 1 million Euros has to be increased. That's why the organization is professionalized. The stock holders decided with founder Iens Boswijk that she'll step down as director. Since the beginning of this year Sander Klos has been in charge as the CEO.
Future vision by Erwin Van Lun
In the demand-driven economy new models, based per definition on the wishes of the consumer, will be created. This can be seen perfectly in this example. Iens first mapped the consumer’s wishes and then starts offering added value. Furthermore, by being transparent about the contribution of the restaurant owner and by asking the same price for each restaurant, Iens can guarantee her independence.
For now just in the Netherlands, but soon this type of brand will be present world-wide. Now solely for dining out, but soon also advice about deliveries, eating at home, even cooking for friends. Because in future even their taste will be known to food coaching brands.
In a restaurant in Israel it is now possible to place your order directly from a display on your table. A waiter is no longer necessary. It is also possible to play games. Visitors think it’s fun and are pleased that their children are included. The owner of the restaurant is certainly happy with the 12% extra turnover (via dc, Dutch). We gather more displays around ourselves. Now they have set content, but soon we will make content with our food coaching brand for personal advice. Or check our e-mail. Or evaluate the furniture we saw earlier in the day. All that whilst enjoying a delicious meal that passes perfectly in our diet. In a couple of years this will be the most normal thing in the world.
The Dutch website for home delivered meals Thuisbezorgd.nl accepts more and more different payment methods. Not only Visa, but also American Express is now accepted. Other payments methods have been used for longer already: iDeal, a personal business account (De Baas Betaalt, meaning ‘the boss pays’), and payment on account for companies (tb). Coaching brands also take care of our payments, so that they know exactly what we bought earlier, what we did, and what we enjoyed. This financial transaction support is part of that. As soon as they know what meals we have delivered, they can also start helping us get food delivered we still need to cook. They thus can slowly grow into being food coaching brands. Although they still have a long way to go.
Thuisbezorgd.nl, the Dutch market leader in home delivered meals, forwards every order on its website by e-mail or fax to the restaurant it is ordered from. ‘At peak times on Sundays we process an average of 1 order per second. Things can go wrong then. A fax can be out of paper, or an e-mail doesn’t arrive. I think that 5 to 10 percent of the orders doesn’t directly get through. That’s why our call center makes follow-up calls for every order.’ (em, Dutch).
Thus Thuisbezorgd.nl changes the food chain. First she creates the market, and makes sure a substantial part of the orders is made through her site. Then software suppliers will come with reservation and order systems connected to the databases of Thuisbezorgd.nl. So that in the end no e-mail or fax will be necessary any more, and information is (almost) always correct. The consumer then can directly see if for example a certain dish is temporarily not available. And of course through Thuisbezorgd.nl, but also through other websites, they will be able to submit their order electronically. With that, we will also get connections with review systems and social networks. And then food coaching brands can really come to life.
At Vinoo.nl, if you click on a wine review, you can directly click through to a special page of wine shops, where you can order that wine. Vinoo earns money per click-through (mf, Dutch). In a next step Vinoo won’t earn money on click-throughs, but on actual bottles of wine sold. Vinoo then can ask buyers to write a review. And if you drink a good wine in a restaurant, you take a picture of the label, and Vinoo will publish this review too. If you buy a couple of bottles at the market and put them in your wine cellar, they are automatically recognized as new stock, and Vinoo can make use of that knowledge. Food coaching brands then will be able to advise you what wine of your taste goes best with the food you are planning to eat today. Everything will soon click together. And the world (especially the world of wines) with that becomes less complicated.
At Dutch restaurant site Iens, restaurants from now on can present themselves through video. Restaurant De Libreije in Zwolle is one of the first who have used this possibility, and it shows a professional video. (em, Dutch). In the developing of coaching brands and transaction brands, it becomes more and more important for transaction brands to present themselves through the coaching brands. All means will be used to make this happen, and video should not be avoided, as people tend to think very visual.
At Amazon Fresh, part of Amazon.com, consumers now can order fresh food. At the moment as a try-out just in Seattle. Delivery is very flexible. Through ‘DayBreak’ products are delivered on the doorstep by early morning, through ‘Daytime Delivery’ they are delivered the next day in a 1-hour time slot chosen by the consumer, and through ‘Local Pick-Up’ consumers can pick up their order the same day (em, Dutch). Very slowly we start to also order our daily groceries online. However, it is very hard to break through existing patterns, and for people who have been grocery shopping for years and years it is hard to break through this pattern. But the last ten years a new generation has come into being that thinks and acts online completely. The teenagers from then are today’s people in their twenties. That generation ask themselves why they would haul a case of beer themselves? And that generation now has money too. The delivery remains a challenge. Now it still takes a day, in the future we will receive our order within a couple of hours. ‘Normal’ grocery shopping stays, but gets a different meaning. This is a small step in that direction.
Canadian supermarket chain Loblaws puts reviews of its house brand products President’s Choice at the centre of its stores. Consumers can write reviews and give ratings at the website. These then are printed on posters, on staff T-shirts, and on the shelves. Loblaws calls this shelf talk: “Jason from Regina, Saskatchewan, says: ‘This is the best cookie I’ve ever tasted.’” (ms). Brands, even retail brands, unite more and more people. Now online through the web site, later we will be able to leave our spoken review in the store: “this is really yummy, only the top is not so handy.” And this will directly be added to our personal profile. If we are in a foreign country and we see a new product there, we can tell our own brand: “I want this in my home store.” And this can be done world wide. This way the customer is in the lead in every possible way. Which actually seems logical, as the consumer is the one who pays. This is a small step in that direction.
Dinnersite.nl (Dutch) allows restaurant goes to see where restaurants are located using Google Maps. In the example you can see restaurants with a menu of over 40 euros in Amsterdam Central. Again a coaching brand which helps with outdoor entertainment is created. Soon we'll be able to reserve a seat using Dinnersite. Then Dinnersite will ask us for a review and we can start looking for good reviews. First in general, but then also reviews of our friends or friends of friends. And then Dinnersite (with or without a partner) will start to do the exact same thing for the restaurants in the rest of the world. Some sectors are further along than others, but catering too is slowly shaping itself into the coaching brand model. This is a step in that direction.