Croatian AI Solution to Help Cafe Owners

Total Croatia News

The system has been tested in seven percent of cafes in Croatia, and the project will soon expand to Austria and Germany.

Trakbar, one of the five Croatian start-ups which have entered the HoReCa partner programme of METRO-Techstar and the Croatian Business Angels Network (CRANE), already has 130 users even before the start of commercial operations. Trakbar is an artificial intelligence solution which monitors the operations of cafes and other similar catering establishments. Its first users are in Croatia and Italy, and it is about to expand to Austria and Germany, reports on October 3, 2017.

Igor Švehla, director and co-founder of Trakbar, says that their goal is to allow small market players to use technology which is currently available to large catering chains. “I lived in London for a while, and I discovered that, during the first year of operations, more than 25 percent of cafes and pubs go bankrupt. People both here and there dream about opening a bar or some other catering facility, but this is not easy because the competition is intense, the pressure on the profit margins is constant, while the large chains which are supported by corporations are intensively using analytics to spread quickly and aggressively,” says Švehla.

He adds that small market players do not have the tools they need to succeed, so they rely on estimates which hurts their profitability. “At the beginning of the week, Trakbar can give them a precise list of the types and quantities of drinks they should order if they do not want to run out of them. It helps them with budget planning and inventory management, but it also enables them to better monitor the performance of the entire business, from individual waiters to sales drives,” says Švehla.

He says that owners can more precisely predict their money flow and more accurately assess what is good and what is bad for them. He argues that this is not a problem in Croatia alone, but is widespread among small businesses in other markets as well.

In Croatia, he says, there are about 16,000 cafes and other similar catering facilities. They tested Trakbar in a thousand of them, which is between five and seven percent of the market. The number of catering establishments in the wider region is enormous. For example, there are 200,000 such facilities in Italy, 167,000 in Germany, 141,000 in France, 52,000 in the Czech Republic, and 32,000 in Austria.

Švehla says that the HoReCa (hotels-restaurants-cafe) industry is going through a revolution and that the analytics offered by Trakbar is just part of that story. “Cafes today are keen to digitise everything, from essential services such as coffee and drinks counters through loyalty programs to WiFi, and major distributors, who play the primary role in HoReCa, are very much interested in this because they want to offer a better service,” Švehla says.

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