Application of intelligent recommendation techniques for consumers' food choices in restaurants

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Currently, there has been a new trend in applying modern robotics, information technology, and artificial intelligence to restaurants for improvements of food service, cost-effectiveness, and customer satisfaction. As robots replace humans to serve food, there is a clear need for robotic servers to help consumers select foods from a menu that satisfies their preferences such as taste and nutrition. However, currently, little is known about how eating behaviors drive food choices, and it is often difficult for consumers to make choices from a variety of foods offered by the typical restaurant, even with the assistance from a human server. In this paper, we conduct an exploratory study on an intelligent food choice method that recommends dishes by predicting individual's dietary preference, including ingredients, types of spices, price, etc. A multi-attribute relation matrix tri-factorization (MARMTF) technique is developed for a relation-driven food recommendation system. First, the user's ordering history and their rating scores of the foods in the menu are gathered and represented by a user-dish rating matrix. Next, the attribute relations of the ingredients, spicy level, and price of each food choice are extracted to construct a group of the relation matrices. Then, these matrices are integrated into a large block matrix. In the next step, a matrix tri-factorization algorithm is employed to decompose the block matrix and fuse the complex relationships into matrix factors. Further, a set of approximation block matrices are constructed and the predicted food rating matrix is generated. Finally, the foods (dishes) with sufficiently high preference scores are recommended to the consumers. Our experiments demonstrate that the MARMTF technique can provide effective dish recommendation for customers. Our system significantly simplifies the daunting task of making food choices and has a great potential in providing intelligent and professionally trained non-human waiters and waitresses for employment by future restaurants.




Li, X., Jia, W., Yang, Z., Li, Y., Yuan, D., Zhang, H., & Sun, M. (2018). Application of intelligent recommendation techniques for consumers’ food choices in restaurants. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 9(SEP).

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