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Jamie Oliver and Wahaca Pilot New Restaurant Feedback Technology

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Yumpingo aims to bring “big data analytics” to the restaurant sector

Courtesy Yumpingo

Yumpingo! That’s the sound of a word — for the avoidance of doubt, the word is “Yumpingo” — entering the public consciousness for the first time. Yumpingo is “London’s first data-driven menu development platform”, which brings “big data analytics” to the sector, allowing “restaurants to gather and analyse large amounts of live customer feedback,” delivering “actionable insights at dish level.” Yes, that’s “at dish level” — a level of detail not currently offered by similar-ish platforms such as Howya.

So how does it work? Well, guests complete a one-minute review at the end of their meal — on “Yumpingo-enabled restaurant branded tablet devices” with individual datapoints collated and reviewed to provide a quantifiable view of which parts of the restaurant’s offering are (or are not) succeeding. The Yumpingo team has just finished a pilot with Jamie’s Italian which delivered “over 40 times more feedback for each restaurant.” Is this a big number? It feels like a big number — and which allowed the chain to “track and optimise customer satisfaction” across every dish on its menu.

Whisper it, but this might not be a terrible idea. Yes, this does feel a little like some dude is throwing darts at a board segmented into analogue industries ripe for #disruption with a few 2015 Techcrunch buzzwords hastily pasted alongside. It’s worth emphasising — contrary to a delirious press release — that this is not, and arguably will never be, big data. Airlines have big data; Amazon has big data. A medium-sized chain like Jamie’s Italian — or like Wahaca, which has also trialled the platform — will never process the transaction volumes to have something truly “big.”

There are further caveats, too: removing the awkward face-to-face element of human interaction does not always lead to more meaningful, more enlightened sharing of ideas (cf. the swirling cesspool that is Twitter); giving the average restaurant-goer a platform to act out their critic-manqué power-fantasies does not always end well (cf. the swirling cesspool that is Tripadvisor).

But executed properly, it could strike at the heart of not one but two major issues faced by operators: the difficulty of maintaining quality across multiple services involving multiple dishes touched by multiple different people; and the reluctance of a great many members of the British public to provide any sort of feedback more detailed than “It was lovely, thank you.”

An anonymised, simple-to-complete survey, where thousands of individual customer scores sum to something that — in aggregate — looks a little more like objectivity than whatever we have at present could offer something genuinely valuable to restaurants operating across a large footprint; crucially, they would gain insight from the otherwise silent majority not so enraged or delighted they take to Tripadvisor or social media to voice their opinion. Assuming the industry isn’t totally cratered by Brexit, the platform also opens up a vaguely spooky use case in which investments in whole companies can be de-risked and their menus developed entirely via machine learning. So, yeah. The future’s bright (maybe); the future’s (maybe) Yumpingo.