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A successful bakery is a cupcake for Watson with analytics

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A successful bakery is a cupcake for Watson with analytics

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Catching up with IBM Watson

Last week, I attended IBM World of Watson. This conference had everything: incredible sessions, food trucks at the T-Mobile Arena, a flying drone and, of course, our good friend Watson. I was able to catch up with Watson while onsite. Watson is a busy guy and told me all about his ventures in education and healthcare, but he was especially excited to tell me about his latest project – a bakery. That’s right, Watson is not only a chef, but also an entrepreneur.

At World of Watson, Watson opened a branch of The Cognitive Bakery, his own business where he serves creations from his cookbook. Event attendees flocked to the bakery asking, “Did Watson make this cupcake?” and “Is this from the famous Watson cookbook?” Watson did create these treats, but that’s not what made the bakery cognitive. Watson said that his use of analytics is what makes his business a cognitive one.

A successful bakery is no cupcake – even for Watson – without analytics

Watson showed me how he uses Watson Analytics and Watson Analytics for Social Media to better understand his customers’ purchasing habits.  The first thing we looked at was his sales data. After uploading the data, Watson Analytics guided us to look at sales by product. This allowed Watson to confirm that cold-brewed coffee is one of his bestsellers.

Watson coffee

The sales for this product steadily increased over the summer.

iced coffee sales

When it comes to predicting sales, Watson Analytics showed us that promotion and place were driving factors. His midwest business was particularly interesting. Social media promotion does very well in Wisconsin and South Dakota.

social promotions

Not so red hot chili pepper bread

I was really impressed by the insights Watson gained using Watson Analytics, but we still had an unanswered question. Watson told me that he serves his famous hatch chili bread made with green chilies and maple syrup at his bakeries. When he serves samples, customers are pleasantly surprised by the dish; however, the bread just doesn’t sell.  We turned to Watson Analytics for Social Media to find some answers.

Watson Analytics for Social Media showed us that “healthy baked goods” is a common topic discussed on the coasts. Considering that he has many bakeries on the coasts, Watson said he would rework the recipe to scale back on the amount of heavy whipping cream and butter used to make the bread in order to better appeal to customers in these areas.

healthy bread

Half a loaf is better than … one?

We also found popular forums on inexpensive living that recommended freezing half of a loaf of bread so as not to waste any food. Watson decided to take it a step further and bake smaller loaves.

money saving tip

Watson and I had a great time using Watson Analytics and Watson Analytics for Social Media to learn more about his business.  From our short chat, Watson gained valuable insights and has clear actions he can take next.

Turn half-baked notions into sound business decisions

If you would like to explore your business options with Watson Analytics and Watson Analytics for Social Media, find out how you can sign up for free at

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