Vivatech - Back to the Future

by Alistair Coats

If you follow us on Twitter you might have seen that we recently went to Vivatech, the technology exhibition in Paris. It’s a great event that brings together innovative companies of all sorts (6,000 startups attended this year) and with nearly 70,000 attendees over the 3 day event, we got to talk to a lot of people about Spoonfed, as well as other imaginative solutions to challenges around the world.

Within a few metres of us was a 3D food printer (make chocolates in the shape of anything you want), a synchronised drone display show (to the tune of ‘The Macarena’), and a robot bartender (very popular in the incredibly hot exhibition hall).

With so many startups attending, the event attracted a lot of people from Parisian businesses, and those from further abroad looking for partnership, investment opportunities, and software solutions. We’re hoping to take Spoonfed to new countries soon, having met some exciting potential partners.

Although the experience was great, we couldn’t help noticing something that seemed incongruous with the tech-loving atmosphere of the occasion - queueing for lunch took about an hour. Surrounded by intelligent people with creative business ideas, this simple problem affected literally everyone at Vivatech. Walking from their startup stand, people would pass the latest AI robots, 3D gaming inventions and smart mirrors only to stand in line for ages waiting for a pretty simple sandwich meal deal. This despite several food outlets being dotted around the hall, as well as outside. The problem wasn’t the number of venues, but the time it took to serve people, who snaked around the cafe entrances from 12 to 2pm.

If ever there was an event where you’d expect to see the benefits of technology in speeding up food ordering, it’d be at Vivatech. And yet lunch breaks were like stepping back in time. There was no opportunity to place your order online and come and collect it. People stood in line for ages and then fiddled around with cash. Then they went back to the future.

It’s the kind of anomaly that we have become used to at Spoonfed, and it’s the reason our software makes such a difference. Catering is often a ‘forgotten’ area for technology, despite being an industry that affects everyone. Amongst all the latest and sexiest new gadgets, Spoonfed may not turn as many heads, but our impact might well be more significant. We're not as fun as some tech startups, but it's hip to be square.

So all in all it was a great trip. A lot of croissants were eaten, a lot of business cards were exchanged, and a lot of amazing tech ideas were shared. Hopefully we’ll attend again in the future. We’ll see if everybody has to take an hour-long break from flying cars and hoverboards to queue for their sandwiches...

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