The Internet of Things (IoT) has been dominating the headlines lately, unfolding on many fronts across the globe. This post from Vikash Kumar Chaudhary of Tatvasoft.com sums up how a restaurant owner, purveyor, or grower can make the most of this tech to automate all the tedious tasks and focus on something else.
If we take a close look at the hospitality sector, I am sure you will find it entirely driven by the customer service. The only challenge is how to harness the power of digital transformation in the best possible manner.
With the introduction of the Internet of Things, machines, computers, appliances, industrial equipment, and even built environments have become capable of transmitting large amounts of data to cloud-based applications. As a result, machines will analyse and act without the need for human intervention.
Before IoT in restaurants
Before the emergence of disruptive technologies such as big data, IoT, AI businesses used to work more on a manual basis. In fact, there was a time when an employee forgets to turn the “open” sign at the beginning of the day. For those places where a majority of orders come in over the phone unnecessary losses were made due to call drop or busy signals. Do you remember the time when your employee left the walk-in fridge ajar overnight?
After going through all these mishaps, do you exactly know how much business was lost then? I guess not! There wasn’t the technology through which one could measure these things, or to ensure they didn’t happen — until now.
The tables have turned today! Mainly referring to any object connected to the Internet, IoT can be anything. Whether it’s a sensor or sign, juicer, fridge, a phone or even a deep fryer – it must be connected well! Let me give you a live example. A partner in several Domino’s Pizza franchises in the U.S. named Rob Scheiper runs the technology operations at 87 stores.
In 2014, Scheiper and a few of his colleagues came into the limelight for using Voice Over IP (VoIP), internet phone systems to sort incoming calls to each store and track analytics related to those calls. The tech-savvy pizza giant’s organisation was able to double the number of available lines, create separate ones for drivers or suppliers and gave them capabilities to screen the calls. This was just the beginning! Scheiper’s stores was a foundation so that others can find this a cake walk.
IoT solutions for restaurants
Below are some of the best and most realistic IoT solutions for the food industry to take into account.
With the evolution of IoT, several companies are found tracking data across connected restaurant space. For example, the chef doesn’t require the monitoring of oil levels each time a dish is prepared. Technology would itself monitor oil levels across multiple cooking vessels for you. As a result, it saves the restaurant on cost, waste and ensures it never runs out of oil again.
Do you know what the best part is? With the help of cellular device transmission units attached to each fryer or oven, data collection becomes child’s play. The same system could be used to monitor fridges for product stock or even keep a check on how many plates or glasses are stacked on a certain shelf to save on last-minute shortages.
Have you thought of incorporating a digital screen? Well, it’s the easiest thing to implement, and many restaurants have already started using it to a great extent. These digital signages allow the owner to set up personalised, tailored displays of content that appeal directly to their audience. Unlike those conventional displays, the cloud-based digital signage software systems can be changed and edited in seconds.
In addition to this, these digital signs can also be used to add real-time travel updates, live news, emergency warning systems, social media, and customer feedback and testimonials. Basically, every step taken will make you connected between your customers and what you do.
McDonald’s and Pizza Hut, Domino’s have already started online and connected systems where customers can order, pay and sometimes receive their orders without relying on a staff member. If you know what you crave for; all you require is getting the food.
What next? After this restaurant spaces are trending towards the concept of hyper-personalised ordering systems. The app itself allows its customer to create their own meal, choosing individual ingredients. Moreover, you can adjust amounts in order to get that perfect protein or calorie balance. This means you are all set to get meals for vegetarians, vegans, paleos, low carb, and gluten-free diners. A few years down the line, hyper-personalised meals will become the norm in the connected restaurant space.
Let’s take a glance into the crystal ball
Existing commercial kitchens are upgradable and retrofittable. With the slow and steady convergence of technology into the food industry, all you will get is new user experiences, new machine capabilities, new business models and collaborations and the list goes on!!!
The author of this blog is Vikash Kumar Chaudhary of Tatvasoft.com