Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5
Subscribe

Lessons from a Food-Tech Startup: Big Data Isn't Just a Buzzword -- It Can Be Your Secret Weapon

By

As an entrepreneur, you might feel a need to jump on the "big data" bandwagon. But if you spend time gathering and analyzing mountains of information, make sure you are using it to make your business better. Don't let it become an unwieldy, extraneous mess. Rather, let it serve as the canary in your coal mine, helping you to make wiser decisions about your business.

Brian Bordainick, the CEO and founder of New Orleans-based dining startup Dinner Lab, built his business around the idea that data could be used to improve the restaurant industry -- an industry where customers, chefs and business owners often don't engage in constructive dialogue. From his perspective, data can become a distraction for a company when it is layered on top of a business' primary function. Rather, he says it should be considered a key decision-making tool.

Bordainick's membership-only pop-up dinners started in New Orleans two short years ago and since its launch, the network of events had spread to 19 cities across the U.S. Diners pay anywhere from $100 to $200 a year to have access to the events and then from between $50 to $95 per dinner event depending on the city. Up and coming chefs serve meals to members in underutilized spaces, like helipads and abandoned churches.

During and after dinner, diners are asked to give extensive feedback on their meal, drinks and the experience. With that data, Dinner Lab is able to make empowered, informed decisions about how to improve the dining experience. "We wanted to use our data to help our chefs get better to make our event experiences better," said Bordainick.

With insight into consumer preferences, Dinner Lab is able to beat the industry odds of failure. "Even investors in our space say one in three restaurants are going to fail: That's just how it works."

Bordainick says having data makes running a business less risky, just as the advent of radar made flying less risky. "Back in the day, when pilots took off there wasn't any radar so they just assumed if five planes took off, two of them weren't coming back because that's just the way the airline industry was. If you are going to be a pilot, you went in knowing you are potentially going to die doing your job and then radar came along. That doesn't really make any sense," said Bordainick.

Watch this video to learn more about how to use data analysis to be your business's radar. That way, when you do fail, it's only ever one more data point.

Related:

Stress, Anxiety, Loneliness: How This Entrepreneur Lost Himself and Bounced Back Stronger

This New Orleans Startup Is Turning the Tables on the Restaurant Industry

This Startup's Secret Sauce: Employees First, Customers Second

Latest

Are You a Social Media Addict? Here's 5 Unexpected Ways to Quit

Is social media the problem behind your lack of focus? Ben Angel discusses the effects of social media on the brain and our ability to focus.

Meet the Entrepreneur and Mom Teaching Kids About Volunteering Through Family Projects

The founder of Alltrusits shares how she's helping families talk about topics such as homelessness, bees, clean water, hunger, foster animals and climate action.

Chef Robert Irvine on Making a Difference in Hospitality — and the World

Interview with World-Famous Chef and Philanthropist Robert Irvine of The Robert Irvine Brand Family about supporting others, embracing a military culture in business, and the essence of leadership.

How to Unlock Your Company's Value in the 'Circular Economy'

Michael Smith of Regeneration.VC shares how the circular economy works and why it's good for business and our planet.

BBQ Icon Rodney Scott on Blazing Your Own Path in the Restaurant Business

Interview with famed pitmaster and food entrepreneur Rodney Scott of Rodney Scott's BBQ about every day being a good day, the truth behind "overnight" celebrity, and how cooking with soul is vital to sustained success.

3 Easy Ways To Be More Motivated

Want to tackle your to-do list in just two weeks? In this video, Ben Angel tells you how.

The Founder of Mindvalley Wants to Transform and Reinvent Education. Here's Why.

The founder of Mindvalley shares why he started his platform and discusses his new book, "The 6 Phase Meditation Method."

This Teacher-Turned-Entrepreneur Started Tutoring Kids in Parks and Churches. Today, She Runs an Education Company with Nearly One Million Followers

The CEO and founder of Big City Readers talk about why she's on a mission to make reading fun for kids and their parents. Plus, what to do if you're afraid to take a leap in your career.

Melissa Villanueva of Brewpoint Coffee on Creating Avenues for Café Owners of Color

Interview with Brewpoint Coffee CEO and Founder Melissa Villanueva about balancing community and larger ambitions, creating opportunities for people of color, and equity and inclusion in business.

4 Easy Ways to Make More Money By Training Your Brain

Mental rehearsal is a powerful psychological technique that's used by athletes, billionaires, and entrepreneurs to achieve their goals.

5 Tips to Help You Go from Camera-Shy to Camera-Ready

Media trainer Jessica Abo reveals her go-to production tips so you can feel more confident for your next on-air appearance, pitch, or presentation.

Shone Tran of Chicken Meets Rice on Stepping into Food Entrepreneurship

Interview with Chicken Meets Rice co-founder Shone Tran about pulling inspiration from tragedy, taking small steps, and thriving in business with your best friend.

Try This 15-Minute Million Dollar Morning Routine To Energize Your Day

Here are six steps you can take to amplify your energy and grow your income.

This Is Why Being a Podcast Guest Can Transform Your Personal Brand

The Founder and CEO of Scout's Agency shares why a "podcast tour" is the new PR strategy for thought-leaders.

Samantha Trottier and Hernan Regiardo of Mate Society on Creating Content People Like

Interview with Mate Society founders about authentic online connections, making money in the creator economy, and choosing the right brand deals.

Discover Entrepreneur Series

Whether you need advice on how to get your business off the ground or you’re just looking for inspiration, our video series have something for everyone. Browse our library below to find a series that speaks to you and your interests.