When you’re running a business, you’re bound to have a lot of paperwork. But it’s when you’re running a restaurant that you get absolutely inundated in paperwork. The number of invoices received from different suppliers run into the hundreds every week. Restaurants that have up to 10 branches suffer the most as they are at that specific point in their growth curve where it gets really tough to manage all the paperwork.
Most restaurants use software like Intuit’s popular solution Quickbooks or plain old (but still highly useful) Microsoft Excel to balance their books and the process of feeding data from the paper-based invoices to the computer is painstakingly tedious. Plate IQ is a solid attempt by two highly creative individuals, Ram Jayaraman and Bhavuk Kaul, to tackle this problem.
Plate IQ is a SaaS offering that basically allows restaurant staff to take pictures of the invoices using the Plate IQ app. The app then automatically applies Optical Character Recognition algorithms to the pictures and uploads the retrieved data to the Plate IQ cloud dashboard. There the data is properly organized so complex queries can be run to extract specific information from the data.
Once you start using Plate IQ, it identifies trends in the data fed in to the system and shows them to you. If used over a sufficient span of time, it may even begin to accurately predict price hikes and drops by analyzing other variables.
The possibilities and the power Plate IQ puts in the hands of the restaurant is endless. Just by analyzing data that is fed in to the system, it can assist the chefs in keeping things economical when they’re deciding the day’s menu. It can help find the cheapest supplier for a given item on a given day. Even if it’s a matter of half a dollar or so, it’s still a lot to restaurants.
The platform claims to have seamless integration with QuickBooks, so there’s that as well. Of course as a SaaS package, you have to pay to use Plate IQ. Right now it’s targeting restaurants in the New York and San Francisco Area.
It’s no surprise that Plate IQ is backed by Y-Combinator, I suppose, and this is one startup that major players in the industry really need to watch out for.