AI & Robotics

ERGO Gourmet: Canteen goes AI - with Delicious Data

More than 2,600 kilos of food saved at three locations within six months: this is the result of the pilot project run by ERGO Gourmet, the company that operates the ERGO canteens, and the start-up Delicious Data. Now the AI is being rolled out at all ERGO locations in Germany.

How does today's weather forecast affect the number of curry sausages ordered in Berlin? Do the people of Munich eat more salad before the holiday? How do the people of Cologne feel about bibimbap on the first day of the school holidays? The artificial intelligence (AI) of the start-up Delicious Data can provide reliable answers to these and other questions in real time - and the kitchens immediately adjust the quantities produced. It demonstrated this in a pilot project that ran with such great success between July and December at the ERGO locations in Berlin, Cologne and Munich that the AI is now being introduced as standard at all locations.

"With Delicious Data, we can act sustainably and manage in an environmentally conscious way," says Barret Jähn from ERGO Gourmet. With this idea to avoid food waste, the 2020 team won an internal competition and received the funding for the pilot project.

Forecasts in real time

Delicious Data was "fed" with the menu plans and sales figures of the Berlin, Cologne and Munich locations from previous years. Based on this and taking into account external factors such as weather, holidays or public holidays, Delicious Data can predict very accurately how many guests will choose which dishes. Through constant feedback from the kitchen, the AI updates its forecast in real time about how many more sausages should be put on the grill and whether the tomato salad in the counter is sufficient. Even if the Kaiserschmarrn is spontaneously replaced by a veggie burger with fries one day, Delicious Data predicts how many burgers will be consumed and how this change will affect the other dishes.

Together with the start-up, ERGO Gourmet has also developed a new food waste monitoring system. The food waste at each location is measured and immediately analysed. Even broken down to each plate. "This enabled us to reduce food waste by 27 percent in the pilot phase," Jähn reports. But Delicious Data not only saves food, but also CO2 and water, as a graph shows (German only):

Delicious Data is just one of several sustainable and innovative projects by ERGO Gourmet. The canteens have already joined the "toogoodtogo" app since 2019 and have been testing the digital reusable solution "Vytal" to avoid disposable packaging since February 2021.

Text: Stefanie Neumann