From offline to online, to back offline and then back online again, the food industry is taking an omnipresent approach to reaching customers. And it's starting to pay off for some brands.

In the most recent success story, TGI Fridays reported 10 percent growth in sales from its bot approach (up from 5 percent the year before). The key, according to Sherif Mityas, TGI Fridays’ chief experience officer, is connecting with consumers "in a personalized way". One example of this is their "virtual bartender," which allows customers to create unique cocktails to their individual tastes.  

But, will this work for HelloFresh as they launch their meal kits in Giant Food stores or what about Dominos recently rolling out their hotspots in 150,000 locations? If I were a betting woman, I'd venture to guess that a delivery meal service is not going to do so well in a physical store - this completely defeats the purpose of paying for convenience. As for Dominos, this is a massive generalization, but I'm going to assume that most college students will find it hard to leave the confines of their dorm room to head to a nearby park in the middle of the night - or to the beach, who eats pizza on the beach?? 

We'll continue to see no shortage of industries (particularly food service and retail) bridging the physical and digital world. While taking risks is necessary for survival, using some of these frontrunners as test beds will build a strong case for what to and not to do going forward.