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How a Data-Driven Meal Delivery Service Cooks Up Exactly What Customers Want

With help from some San Francisco-based software, Munchery can track customers' order histories and preferences. The results taste like success.

By David Port

Menu guru: Conrad Chu of Munchery.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Conrad Chu isn't a restaurateur, grocer, chef or food critic. But for intel on gastronomical trends in two of America's food meccas, Chu is your man. "In San Francisco, everybody loves kale, whereas in Seattle, there's a real affinity for Italian food," he says.

Chu's 4-year-old meal-delivery company, Munchery, used to come by that information through trial and error, a costly process it had to replicate in each new market it entered. His San Francisco-based brain trust struggled to pinpoint why some of their chef-prepared gourmet meals weren't selling. The meager, mostly anecdotal customer data Chu's team was able to collect via email and other informal channels left them hungry for meatier info on customer cravings.

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