No crowds at lunch: Staying safe at workplace cafeterias

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Published: May 25, 2020 2:05 AM

The HungerBox platform regulates user flow into cafeterias and enhances crowd management

Using AI/ML, the HungerBox platform regulates user flow into cafeterias and enhances crowd management.

HungerBox, one of India’s largest food tech startup in the B2B2C terrain, has come out with Covid-19 safe AI/ML (Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning) solutions for cafeteria operations. The newly spawned tech plan addresses the latest issues in crowd management, food safety, sanitation and WHO-prescribed supervisor training.

Sandipan Mitra, CEO and co-founder, HungerBox, says that he worked with the clients “to co-create this solution to decongest cafes, implement operational procedures in line with the latest FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) guidelines” to minimise food contamination and risk of the Covid-19 transmission. “Our data shows that cafeterias in an institutional setting experience a peak flow of users at 1:17 pm. Apart from the crowding, cash transactions can also result in an increased virus risk,” he told FE.

Using AI/ML, the HungerBox platform regulates user flow into cafeterias and enhances crowd management. It provides all contactless payment options to avoid virus risk due to cash handling. The company strings together the back-end operations of over 500 corporate cafeterias, countrywide.

As part of revised solutions, kitchen operations are in tune with FSSAI benchmarks on raw material handling, food preparation, kitchen hygiene standards and food transportation. “Eleven different records would be maintained at partner kitchens, including several logs for sanitisation, cooking temperature, cleaning checklists for premises, transport etc,” says Mitra.

Bengaluru-based HungerBox is backed by marquee institutional investors like Sabre Capital and high networth individuals like Kris Gopalakrishnan and K Ganesh. In December, HungerBox had garnered $12 million from the digital wallets firm Paytm. It has an asset-light model, with an eagle eye on unit economics. The promoters counted on breaking even in March 2020, when the virus outbreak changed the picture. Since its inception in 2016, the digital cafeteria management startup has handled over 200 million orders. The company operates across 23 cities with clients in corporate, education, healthcare, tech park, mall and multiplex sectors.

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