These apps attempt to answer 'what’s for dinner?' by learning consumer preferences and directing them to specific food options.

In the United States, over 17 million people Google the phrase “food near me” every month, which ranks it as the 16th-most searched phrase in 2022, while over 10 million people Google “restaurants near me” every month. Searching for your next meal online has never been more popular, but consumers are encountering an unforeseen barrier to ordering: where, who and what to order. With so many options available, it’s becoming harder to make that decision. 

Personalized mobile ordering apps like Availyst aim to answer the question “what’s for dinner?” by learning consumer preferences and directing them to personalized food options. It’s come up with a new technology that aggregates data across food discovery apps and services to show local food options to consumers. It’s the first personalized search engine for food discovery to organize a cluttered online space and make things more convenient for consumers. 

“We’re driven by connecting people with the food they love,” said Mandy Poston, CEO at Availyst, a personalized mobile ordering app. “Consumer’s preferences are different and this should be reflected in food discovery services to keep up with a rapidly changing industry.” Personalized mobile ordering is transforming the way consumers order food, whether it’s a meal or groceries, through AI learning a user’s personal preferences each time they place an order. 

Food Discovery Made Easy 

With so many platforms and food options to choose from, consumers are increasingly faced with decision fatigue. Research shows that the average adult makes around 35,000 decisions a day, that’s roughly 2,000 decisions an hour. When things complicate this decision-making process, like too many options when looking to order food, people are apt to give up. While online ordering should be convenient, the truth is that finding the right food takes time and energy and some consumers are quitting before ever putting anything in their carts. 

A personalized mobile ordering platform narrows things down for the diner by learning from their purchase habits and discovering more about a consumer’s food choices and preferences. “Diners are unique and the circumstances that drive food choices change frequently,” said Poston. “The best way to get them the food they want is to let them tell us what matters. Maybe it’s time or price, or a new experience. Our job is to clean up the messy information and find a match that is personalized to the user.” 

The benefits of a personalized food discovery platform extend beyond the consumer. It helps restaurants and small businesses narrow in on their target audience allowing them to better identify and reach future customers. Small restaurants and businesses may not always be able to afford marketing and promotion efforts that cast a wide net, which can get expensive fast, but food discovery platforms can help businesses reduce costs and increase traffic in areas where they need it most. Poston says, “Our goal really is to make things so convenient for the consumer that ordering feels like less of a hassle. With personalization, we are able to help small businesses find loyal customers who want to keep coming back. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Future of Preference

As consumers continue to use food discovery platforms, they will gravitate towards those that solve problems for them. Currently, there are too many inputs into the decision-making process and people are losing time, money and peace of mind. The solution to countless food options that lead to decision fatigue is personalization. As one example, Availyst seeks to use AI and learning habits to master the art of personalized preference in food discovery. This technology gives people variety, choice, and results informed by preference, not ad budgets to give them relevant local food delivery options.

Increasing convenience will always be attractive to the consumer. People value their time. Personalization already exists in many spaces, but the Availyst team seeks to bring an elevated personalized experience to the food discovery industry. “We make it easier for consumers to purchase what they want and we give them time back in their day,” said Poston. “How they choose to use that time is up to them, but hopefully they are in a better mood at the end of the process!”

Personalization is the future of preference in the online food discovery and delivery industry. In the age of decision fatigue, success will come to businesses and services that are able to increase convenience for consumers. “What we’re really testing at Availyst is a new search management thesis about a topic people are passionate about,” said Poston. “Food discovery needs to be driven by the wants of the consumer and allowing that to happen benefits businesses as well.”

Expert Takes, Feature, Technology