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Founder Story: Below the Surface – My Personal Embodiment of unPLUG

By: Colton Frank, CEO and Co-Founder, unPLUG

We all have our own journey with mental health – it is one of the most important pillars of life, though it can be easy to overlook. There were times in my life during which I completely deprioritized my mental well being. Deprioritized is maybe not the best word – it would be more accurate to say that I was unaware of the state of my mental health. During this spell, I was ordering food delivery through Doordash much too often, I was not working out, and I reserved little time for self care and mindfulness. I started to become very frustrated with myself. I kept telling myself I was going to implement a better routine, that I would start eating healthy and get more exercise. But my busy schedule meant that I would end up having to order food delivery. Again. Despite my promises to myself, I’d end up ordering some greasy cheeseburger or pizza or whatever the hell Doordash put in front of me. This would make me even more frustrated and less inspired to exercise, trapping me in a vicious cycle. Then I experienced a major life shift which led me to finally commit to maintaining a healthy diet. Once I started doing that, the motivation to exercise appeared almost as if by magic. The better I started to feel about myself, the more I started to explore other areas of my life that I’d been neglecting – my mental and emotional health. Noticing a positive change in my mental state only inspired me further to continue eating healthier and take better care of myself. I had broken the cycle. Now eating well, being physically active, and taking care of my mental health all work together in unison.

But it all started with FOOD.

At the crux of physical, mental, and emotional health is one common denominator – making choices in line with your intentions.

Most people find it hardest to eat healthy when they attempt to do it automatically rather than intentionally, by trying to follow a set of rules without even knowing the benefits of the healthier foods they’re consuming. If people knew how each ingredient was helping their body function and feel better, they would be much more inclined to consume it, and even use specific foods to target their main health concerns. Dieticians do a great job of educating their patients in this regard, but not many people have access to their own personal dietician. unPLUG is a tool that empowers its users and restaurants with their very own dieticians integrated directly into the ordering experience. Imagine sitting at a dinner table across from your dietician, personal trainer, therapist, and waiter and having all of them help you decide what to order. This is what we have created with our Dining Assistant. We are creating a chatGPT for ordering that automates your decision making process. The end goal is to be able to click a button and instantaneously see an individually crafted plan of all your meals for the week – including groceries, recipes (with each item ready to schedule for delivery), and specific menu items at restaurants, all detailed and mapped out for you, personalized based on your needs.

We have been conditioned to eat a certain way. Breaking that trend is hard to begin with but extra hard when ordering systems are manipulating our behavior to prey on the past tendencies we are trying to pivot from. Other ordering experiences only care about increasing Average Order Value. People may spend more but leave distressed and dissatisfied. This is not a winning recipe for customer loyalty and diminishes Customer Lifetime Value.

The feeling diners get when veering from their intention to eat healthy and instead opting for a less healthy option is much like a cigarette smoker trying to quit – resigning to a craving for instant gratification. When people try to quit cigarettes and cave they end up walking away frustrated and disgruntled. This sensation is no different from someone ordering something at odds with their initial lifestyle choice for a meal. Even though the diner may enjoy their meal in the moment, they walk away frustrated with themselves, ultimately creating a negative experience and decreasing the chances for the restaurant to create loyal, returning customer relationships.

This is where unPLUG comes in. Rather than entrapping diners in their ordering behavior of the past, we help them redesign their eating behaviors in a productive way and positively enhance their overall wellbeing. unPLUG is a tool to help diners invest themselves and believe in their choices. We help people proactively achieve their lifestyle goals, which naturally leads to increased spending once people see the tangible health benefits of eating higher quality food with freshly sourced ingredients. We do this by offering a data-driven, personalized user experience that is both intuitive and easy to use. Our platform enables users to order 10x faster and eliminate decision fatigue and order anxiety, which is often the primary culprit of ordering counter to your intended lifestyle goals.

We are undergoing a mental health renaissance, and the desire to rectify our eating habits is at an all-time high and growing exponentially. unPLUG is a part of this movement. The first step to creating a better world is helping people take care of themselves. Once people start to feel good about themselves, that energy radiates outwards and influences others to do the same.

All in all, what makes unPLUG special? The experience we curate makes diners spend more and feel good about doing it.

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