Envisionard: Transforming The Customer Experience In Food And Hospitality With Voice & AI

CIO Vendor The food and hospitality industry has been awaiting a transformation in guest experiences for years. Booking reservations and last mile delivery have been excessively solved, yet the experience of eating out has not changed a lot despite technology at our disposal. San Francisco-based Envisionard Corporation is revolutionising this by combining the power of Voice, AI, and ML to create seamless, hyper-personalized experiences for customers. CIO Review India engaged in a conversation with the management team of the company to find out more.

What kind of gap did you see in the food and beverage sector in terms of technology adoption? What encouraged you to come up with a solution for the sector?
Shaker Dixit, Founder & CEO: Currently, the experiences are not customer centric or democratised in the hands of the users, creating disrupted and disconnected experiences. Especially, when we look at the food and beverage industry in the last few decades, the majority of players have been focused on doorstep delivery. However, the interconnected experience between discovery and delivery as well as many other food ordering interactions has been overlooked.

I have worked in the sector initially during my school years and have experience as an end user for more than two decades, with global travel to different countries. Food is an integral part of our lives and we all like a personalised experience when eating out. That has been the inspiration for our start-up amidst the pandemic. We provide our end users with a hyper-personalised marketplace and a user-centric experience platform topped with conversational AI.

How do you see the current evolution of food and beverage industry in the US?
Anand Vangala, CTO: People across the US and the world have experienced the harsh realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. This crisis reversed some trends and accelerated others in the F&B industry. People quickly had to adapt to a new way of life such as working from home and relying heavily on digital means to order their food. These changing trends necessitated the further usage of technology as the usage of digital sources for both restaurants and retail has remained elevated compared to pre-pandemic times.

Another important fact that has emerged during the pandemic is that customers are looking for a contactless hassle-free service that redefines the relationship between the consumer and the provider with a new way of engagement and this is one of the major parts of our learning from the industry. The fact is that many consumers who started using digital ordering during the pandemic were solely offline users pre-COVID, and they now realise the convenience that online ordering provides ­ and this trend will remain elevated in the future as well. The pandemic has also prompted us towards the further usage of technology to deliver innovative & creative logistics solutions to help businesses provide seamless experiences to their customers, and that's where we have placed ourselves on the ladder.

What does the smart assistant Amealia do? How does it transform the customer experience?
Praneeth Dixit, Strategy Advisor & Marketing Consultant: Amealio, the mobile platform, helps users with a variety of ordering on the move, dine or engage in grab and go service, pre-ordering dinner while still at work with personalisation and allergy information specified, and enjoying a dining out experience. You may also schedule business dinners or private events. Service like Curb side delivery would be an advantage in our fast-paced lives coupled with a Skip-The-Line service available at food courts and fast-
food establishments. With Amealio, you are able to seamlessly manage any delays if you have a reservation or put yourself on a waitlist without having to speak to anyone. These are smaller conveniences brought together to create the ultimate experience we bring to the market. Our voice assistant, Amealia, is the cherry on top. It allows you to complete your experience with ease, just by communicating.

It offers a personalised conversation with diners and guests in various interaction scenarios, which is a splendid feature. There are a variety of conveniences we bring to one platform to transform experiences in the F&B and hospitality industry. As a result, the needs of the consumer will be better served. From booking a restaurant from your home, to ordering food, we are pioneers in bringing the power of voice technology to commercial storefronts as virtual hostesses in the food and beverage and hospitality industry.

Tell us something about the social responsibilities taken up by Envisionard and its relation with the Udhav Foundation.
Raghav Mamidipalli, Head of Operations, HR & QA: As much as we talk about people, a company is only as successful as it's most valuable asset: its employees. We make a conscious effort to build a team that embodies our culture. We believe in enabling, empowering, and then delegating responsibility to them that can truly impact and improve the processes and then the resulting products. From a humble beginning of two people, the company has grown to 70+ with its presence in India and the Americas. As much as technology facilitates our vision, it is the employees who are in the forefront of driving our vision.

Personally, it gives me a sense of purpose helming Envisionard Udbhav Foundation with "giving back" as way of life for us. There are two components: crowd source through our platform to fund the initiative and channelize the youth to power the social giveback initiatives. Education, Nutrition and Health are our key focus areas as we feel the right mindset that is essential for achieving educational goals is fostered well in healthy individuals.

Envisionard believes that giving back to society in all its forms is the only way to make a meaningful difference. We are on a mission to create social awareness, especially among the youth, about issues that are plaguing society, because they are the next generation of citizens who will drive the country forward. Our company is also into contributing to social initiatives by committing up to 10 percent of our marketing spend and also by crowd sourcing funds on our platform. Envision Udbhav Foundation is one of our non-profit units that helps us with the social impact projects that we execute.

What is the road map ahead for the company?
Shaker Dixit, Founder & CEO: We want to be among the top three marketplace players in the industry in the years to come. We need to take our technology vision and try and establish it across varied geographies across the world. As part of this year's progression, we will launch in the USA. Next year we will take it to Canada, the Middle East, and Singapore. So, we have a growth plan for the next 5-10 years. We want to be a company that spreads happiness in every place we go. THINK FOOD, THINK AMEALIO, the super app for a superior experience. Team Envisionard also believes in doing business responsibly by giving back to society. This creates the opportunity for sustainable organic growth, which helps determine long-term growth.