How can AI help communities? Decalogue and two solutions to be borne in mind


By Ana Turón, Head of Restauración Colectiva and the Restauración Colectiva Congress

As it can to any other field, artificial intelligence (AI) can contribute a great deal to the collective catering sector. While digitisation refers to the process of converting analog or physical information into a digital format (a process that many companies are still undergoing), artificial intelligence goes further and focuses on developing systems and programmes capable of performing tasks that normally require human intelligence and include learning, perception, reasoning and decision-making.


We briefly highlight ten benefits that AI can bring to the collectivities sector below:

1/ Menu optimisation and diet planning.

AI can analyse diners’ food preferences, dietary restrictions and nutritional requirements to create personalised menus in all kinds of services.

2/ Inventory management.

AI can forecast demand for food and optimise purchasing management to minimise waste and reduce costs. It facilitates the identification of consumption patterns and the efficient management of food stocks. It can also be used to effectively track and manage the presence of allergens in food, thus ensuring food safety in all environments.

3/ Process automation and improved operational efficiency.

AI can optimise the employees’ task scheduling, kitchen workflow management and resource allocation to guarantee more efficient operations.

4/ Personalisation of the service.

Using data on individual preferences, AI can personalise the culinary experience, offering menu options tailored to each diner’s preferences.

5/ Customer satisfaction analysis.

By analysing comments and satisfaction data, AI can provide valuable insights with a view to improving the quality of food services and suiting menus to customers’ preferences.

6/ Quality control.

AI can be used to monitor food quality in real time, helping to ensure that the dishes meet the food quality and safety standards.

7/ Energy efficiency and sustainability.

AI can contribute to energy efficiency in kitchen management, optimising the use of appliances and resources to reduce the environmental impact.

8/ Staff training and development.

It can provide online training tools and simulators to improve the staff’s skills in the kitchen and the food service management.

9/ Trend predictions.

By analysing large amounts of data, AI can help to predict food trends, enabling the food services to rapidly adapt.

10/ Monitoring of regulations and compliance.

AI can be used to monitor and ensure compliance with the health and food safety regulations in collectivities.

Food recognition technology through image analysis

Nil Salomó, CEO and co-founder of Proppos, one of the companies located in the Catering in collectivities: meeting point space (Hostelco Restaurama halls) and a firm specialising in the use of AI for collective catering, highlighted the use of food recognition technology through image analysis in three specific processes, “the automation of payments in cafeteria services by means of the “fast pay” solution, quality control on hospital setting up lines and intake control”.


In relation to the latter use, it should be recalled that, on Thursday 21 March, as part of the programme of the sixth Collective Catering Congress (#CCC24), a round table chaired by the AEHH (Spanish Hospitality Catering Association) will be held to discuss malnutrition. The session will present an actual example of how the AI of Proppos can help in the fight against malnutrition among hospitalised patients; to do so, images captured from the patient trays’ before and after each meal are used, thus optimising intake monitoring, allowing quick and efficient quality control and improving hospital care.


Its technology for individual recognition of the dishes, particularly in cafeterias, enables the different operators to obtain exact data on the products served. These data are highly useful for ascertaining the users’ profiles, improving the offer, securing more precise production and generating less waste. Another interesting factor to be taken into account is, according to Salomó, the fact that “due to the large volume of customers that have to be served in a short space of time, such as in cafeterias and corporate canteens, operators usually charge based on generic concepts such as a ’full meal’ or ’first course’. This practice results in significant data loss; in the same period of time, AI can individually identify all the products”.


Smart control of food waste

The solutions to be found at the fair include those that provide AI-based technology to control food waste. In a previous article published in HorecaStories we discussed technology and waste; today we’re going to focus on the solution provided by Winnow, a firm that’s also developed an AI-based technology that can make detailed measurements of all organic waste in order to help professionals to make better decisions and drastically reduce both their food waste and costs, thus driving kitchen efficiency.

The device is based on an imaging system with a built-in camera and connected scale. As Constance Lambert, head of business development for the brand, remarked, “in professional kitchens, an average of 10% of the food purchased is wasted. This happens because in many cases they lack the tools required to accurately measure the waste… and what isn’t measured isn’t managed”. “All chefs”, continued Lambert, “know that they generate waste and do what they can to reduce it; what they don’t know exactly is how many kilos they throw away, on what day of the week, at what time of day, which family of products is wasted the most or even which dish or ingredient has the highest waste ratio. Winnow can help us to obtain this level of detail to make the right decisions and significantly reduce all kinds of organic waste”.

Winnow will also have a stand at the Catering in collectivities: meeting point space and we’ll have the chance to learn first-hand about Ikea’s international experience with the solution, during one of the scheduled round tables on food waste and digitisation on the programme at the above-mentioned Collective Catering Congress (#CCC24).

In summary, as Nil Salomó remarked, “AI has the potential to improve operational efficiency, customer satisfaction and profitability in the collective catering sector by allowing smarter, data-driven management. However, it’s important to implement these technologies ethically and guarantee the privacy of the customers’ data to take full advantage of their benefits”.



Press contact

Susanna Santamaría
(+34) 93 452 11 04

Graphic material