JJ Food Service launches order-predicting smart app

By Noli Dinkovski

- Last updated on GMT

Smart app: designed to improve the overall buying experience for food caterers
Smart app: designed to improve the overall buying experience for food caterers
Wholesaler JJ Food Service has introduced a smart app with ‘machine learning technology’ that can predict customer orders.

Available on Android phones, iPhones and tablets, the customer app employs technology that enables it to make suggestions based on previous shopping habits.

Mushtaque Ahmed, chief operating officer at JJ Food Service, said the app is aimed to improve the overall buying experience for food caterers, resulting in a quicker, easier and more efficient shop.

He claimed early feedback had been positive, and there was already a significant increase in basket spend.

Ahmed said: “Running a successful outlet is a demanding job and our customers are busy people, so we’ve gone to great lengths to help them.”

“We used three years’ worth of transactional data to train the new machine learning model. Now, you can literally place your order in seconds.”

E-commerce growth

JJ first launched its transactional website in 2008 and today, online sales account for 63% of total group sales and continue to grow.

Ahmed said: “We went from being a 100% call-centre based operation to an e-commerce-driven business, but the challenge with that is that you lose the ability to upsell, cross-sell and to capitalise on impulse purchases.”

“The investment in the apps has enabled JJ to bring these elements back to the business.

Ahmed estimated that 76% of online shoppers will be using ‘click and collect’ services by 2017, making it more important than ever to have an online presence.

“We are reshaping the way food distribution works, giving our customers more time to better serve their customers.”

JJ has also created a new mobile app for its delivery drivers. Replacing the formerly-used bulky hand-held devices, the new app includes Blue-tooth temperature sensors, which enabling the business to track real-time data via drivers’ phones.

App trends

Ordering apps are becoming increasingly commonplace in the hospitality industry. In 2012, Bidvest 3663 (then 3663) launched a foodservice app that allows shoppers to store lists for quick repeat purchases.

In 2013, EBLEX introduced an app that allows caterers to order any of 450 beef, lamb, veal or mutton cuts featured in its Meat Purchasing Guide​.

Last year, Cumbrian-based Hawkshead claimed to be the first brewer in the UK to launch a mobile and tablet ordering app for licensees.

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