In recent years, the food and beverage industry has garnered a reputation of being “tech resistant.”
However, many commercial kitchen manufacturers and restaurant operators are beginning to recognize the efficiencies offered by new technology solutions. According to Rail Media, 73 percent of restaurant operators have agreed that technology provides them a competitive advantage and helps increase profitability.
Typically, these new restaurant technologies focus on front-end matters of a restaurant. Nowadays, almost all restaurants use mobile applications and POS systems that improve the interaction between servers and customers. But there is a new wave of “back of the house” restaurant technologies (like self-monitoring refrigerator units) that aim to improve the operations between equipment and restaurant managers.
All these new technology solutions have lended to the idea of the connected restaurant. The connected restaurant doesn’t just focus on improving front-end operations, but improving operations across an entire restaurant with technology. This is one area where technologies like the Internet of Things offer the most opportunity for commercial kitchen manufacturers and restaurant operators.
What is the Internet of Things?
In the simplest sense, the Internet of Things (IoT) is the idea that any object can connect to the Internet to communicate and share data with other systems. Companies can use this data to improve operations, streamline processes, and open new revenue streams.
IoT solutions are increasingly being used across industries as companies look for new ways to use technology to improve operations. IoT solutions are incredibly useful in restaurants and commercial kitchens, where it’s vital to monitor equipment like stoves or refrigerators for breakage, temperature, and compliance.
How Can IoT Make My Restaurant More Efficient?
While there are many ways IoT can offer value, the most efficient solutions for restaurants and commercial kitchens allow managers to improve equipment maintenance and compliance monitoring.
For example — every part of a stove or refrigerator can be monitored for breakage and compliance with IoT technology. A simple IoT sensor can be attached to a machine and monitor the performance and health of that equipment. The same IoT sensor can be programmed to send alerts out to operators before something goes wrong with a piece of restaurant equipment. There are some IoT solutions that even allow businesses to automatically order new parts when restaurant equipment repair is needed. When applied across an entire kitchen, this method of remote monitoring can result in immense savings.
IoT technologies can even be used to prevent inventory loss. For example, VeriSolutions created a IoT temperature control solution that monitors walk-in refrigerators to ensure ingredients are being kept cool at all times. When temperature levels fall below a desired range, managers receive an automatic notification so they can take corrective action.
Improper temperature control or malfunctions are key factors that lead to costly inventory loss for restaurants. With this new increased visibility, restaurant owners can save millions by preventing inventory loss.
How Restaurants Can Successfully Implement the Internet of Things
IoT solutions are often perceived as overly-technical or too expensive to implement. At one point, the costs associated with this type of solution would have been improbable on a wide scale. But as technology has progressed, the price and availability of IoT solutions have improved.
There are two options restaurant can take when implementing an IoT solution: buy a pre-built IoT solution or partner with an IoT provider to build a custom IoT solution. For the pre-built route, there are many players in the market who can provide a smart solution.
For a custom IoT solution, there are many providers you can partner with to build an innovative IoT solution. When looking at IoT providers, you should look for a partner who can not only provide you the hardware, software, and connectivity you need to build your IoT solution, but can help you build your solution at every step of the journey.