Talking microwaves. WiFi connected thermostats. Remote monitoring. These are all examples of how the Internet of Things (IoT) revolution has reshaped the way we see everyday objects. And it won’t be long until IoT infiltrates commercial kitchens as well. Many commercial kitchen manufacturers are beginning to see how IoT can help improve efficiency and increase profits in an industry that is historically “tech resistant”.
Typically, technological advances in the restaurant industry have appeared in the front of house. POS systems now function as much more than a cash register, and table-side tablets are revolutionizing the way customers interact with staff. But, with the advent of new back of house technology, restaurateurs may finally be able to improve their operations with their equipment, without depending solely on their people.
Owners and operators need to be cognizant of the improvements IoT technology offers restaurants. Cost aside, there are plenty of reasons to consider incorporating this technology into operations of any size.
One area that many restaurants struggle to control costs of is inventory control. Product waste is a huge problem for many restaurants and owners feel the weight of their inventory in their pocketbook.
VeriSolutions, a hospitality technology company out of Atlanta, Georgia, invented a self-monitoring refrigerator unit to help solve this problem. Their refrigerator is equipped with a digital thermometer that shares its information via a mobile app that allows anyone to check the quality of the products in their restaurant. It also reduces the time employees have to spend on operations.
Self-monitoring refrigerators can also tell owners and operators when it needs repairs as well. A simple sensor can be attached to the equipment that sends out alerts when something goes wrong. That same sensor can also automatically order a replacement part. This process ensures that ingredients are being kept at cool at all times, thereby decreasing the likelihood that a product goes bad before it can be sold.
Reduced Workload for Employees
For many employees in the back of house, their workload can be burdensome. There’s prep, service, cleaning, inventory, stocking, and much more. At times, just thinking about how much work is left to do can be as stressful as a weekend service.
Bringing IoT to the back of house can help reduce this seemingly never-ending workload for employees. Self-aware equipment can monitor its own performance and alert employees when it’s time for routine maintenance. This takes one task away from employees, giving them more time to focus on completing another service.
When employees can focus on one task at a time, rather than worrying about multiple tasks at once, can actually boost productivity. Research has shown that multitasking is actually detrimental to our brain. Switching between multiple tasks may make employees feel like they’re accomplishing a lot, but in reality they are actually losing time, which can cost owners and operators money in the long run.
It is imperative that owners and operators find ways to reduce the workload of their employees. Doing so will increase their productivity and, in the end, lead to a better quality of service overall.