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

This story appears in the May 2015 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

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

Menu guru: Conrad Chu of Munchery.

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 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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