A couple years ago, Cava CEO Brett Schulman made a foresighted decision to hire a team of data scientists, who set to work installing a network of customized sensors throughout the fast-casual Mediterranean chain’s locations. Today, as customers flock to Cava seeking its spicy jalapeño-infused feta or creamy tzatziki, data from those sensors allow analysts to devise new ways to speed patrons through lines, increase food quality, prevent spoilage, and anticipate how much food to prepare. Last year, the chain added an intuitive ordering app, which offers pickup times based on actual store activity and has boosted productivity at outposts. Bolstered by this data-driven approach, in 2017, Cava doubled its number of restaurants (it now has 45, in Washington, D.C., New York, and Los Angeles) and increased profitability by 15% over 2016. “[We] think about technology to enhance the human experience, not replace it,” says Schulman.