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Scraping restaurant menus: How one clever innovation improved employee lunches

Deciding what‘s for lunch can feel like a frustrating daily chore. With so many options around your office, how do you quickly pick something to eat in that precious 60-minute break? For employees at growing software company Cleevio, nailing down lunch plans got harder as they moved to a new Prague office surrounded by restaurants. But their clever tech team whipped up an innovative solution using web scraping that made lunch decision-making easy again.

The daily lunch dilemma

When Cleevio‘s 100+ developers, designers and other tech professionals moved into larger headquarters in the bustling Karlin district, they suddenly had loads of lunch possibilities – over 25 restaurants within a quick walk. While lots of choices is typically great, too many options can paralyze a decision.

Employees found they were wasting precious minutes each day just scouring restaurant sites and menus trying to make a lunch plan. A recent survey showed workers at companies like Cleevio spent an average of 14 minutes per day just deciding on lunch. That adds up to over 50 hours a year just picking a place to eat!

Making the wrong lunch choice also impacted productivity. Employees who opted for a restaurant with long wait times or unhealthy food reported feeling sluggish and unfocused in the afternoon. But with menus changing daily, it was tough to remember which spots had the best options.

Web scraping to the rescue

Cleevio has innovation running through its veins. With a culture focused on using technology to solve problems, the team refused to accept this daily time suck. The CTO decided to leverage web scraping capabilities to easily access all nearby menus in one place each day.

The company turned to Apify, a platform that makes it easy to build web scrapers without advanced coding skills. Apify offers over a thousand pre-built tools to extract data from websites. Cleevio selected Apify‘s Web Scraper to automatically scrape menu details from 5 top lunch spots daily.

Now, each morning their "LunchBot" extracts updated menus and prices, stores the data, and compiles it into a nicely formatted Slack message. Employees get a quick overview of the day‘s options right in their team messaging app.

CTO David Zadražil says it only took him a few minutes to set up with Apify‘s intuitive platform:

"I didn‘t have to waste time building something from scratch. Apify gave us an out-of-the-box solution to quickly provide this useful service for our team."

More innovation, happier employees

The impact of this simple innovation was clear. When the LunchBot was temporarily disabled, employees immediately requested it be turned back on. Surveys showed over 90% of the team found it useful.

Employees reported spending just 5 minutes or less now deciding on lunch, freeing up more time to focus on value-added work. And with better visibility into the healthiest options, they reported higher energy in the afternoons.

Cleevio‘s CEO also noticed positive effects. "Beyond the time savings, it encourages employees to get out of the office together and socialize over lunch. This improves camaraderie and collaboration."

The LunchBot is just one example of how Cleevio creatively applies technology to enhance daily work life. Their vision statement promotes building user-friendly products that make people‘s lives better.

"We strive to foster an innovative culture where staff feel empowered to solve problems big and small with tech-driven solutions."

Dishing up a better employee experience

While the idea of scraping restaurant menus may seem trivial on the surface, this project showcases how transformative seemingly small innovations can be. It exemplifies Cleevio‘s commitment to employee experience and happiness through technology.

The solution completely changed a daily pain point that was impacting performance. It didn‘t require major investment or overhaul existing systems – just creatively applying web scraping in a novel way.

Now, inspired by the success of this initiative, their innovation team is exploring other ways to use scrapers and automation to lift workplace burdens. The possibilities are endless when you view daily problems through the lens of what existing technology can solve them.

So don‘t underestimate the power of small innovations. Sometimes little improvements to daily hassles can have an outsized impact on your team‘s satisfaction and effectiveness. What mundane tasks or decisions are eating up your employees‘ time that could be automated? Get creative with available tech tools – you might just whip up the secret sauce for better productivity, like Cleevio did for lunch.

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