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Shake Shack Food Genius

Do you ever wonder how restaurants or businesses decide what to include (or exclude) in their menu meals? It turns out that there’s plenty of big data surrounding food in the restaurant industry. One new startup, Food Genius, is harnessing all of that information to make menu planning a little cooler with visually-pleasing and helpful food infographics.

What's the Deal

Since its release from IDEO, a design and innovation consulting firm, Food Genius has gathered the restaurant, menu, and food behavior information for more than 300,000 restaurants (both “fast casual” (think Applebee’s) and traditional sit-down establishments) to build a comprehensive database of all the available dishes on menus. That rounds out to around 22 million menu items — plenty of raw information that can help users get a handle on what restaurants are serving their customers every day. Even better, the Food Genius database can rank ingredients in dishes by popularity, breaking down each component to show when customers prefer short ribs to skirt steak, for example.

See the demo video below:

Why It Matters

Food Genius is an amazing tool for businesses and professionals to better understand how everyone eats when they eat out. Unfortunately, the service's high initial cost ($3000!) puts it out of the hands of the average consumer. So, don’t expect to be tracking down all of the restaurants that hide cream in their pastas anytime soon.

Food Genius Brings Big Data to Your Menu

Food Genius is an enterprise-only software, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to experience the benefits of the app’s smart data. This past December, the FoodGenius team won $25,000 for Ad Age’s Brand Hack Contest — beating out other startups such as Waze and KitchenSurfing with its big idea. The prize? An opportunity to incorporate their product into a new initiative into Food Network’s hearty recipe repository. Perhaps, in the very near future, we will see Food Genius CEO Justin Massa’s vision: incorporating recipe and restaurant information into a more personalized search function for users — hopefully with more of that magical big data than ever.

What do you think of Food Genius’s app? Let us know in the comments below.