by Aaron Cohen

For the past 3 years, American restaurant chains have invested in a series of technologies designed to boost revenues and improve customer loyalty.  Atop every front counter is a loyalty program tablet-based payment system. Signage encourages you to download the company’s new delivery app and every other television ad drives you to engage with the company’s digital presence.  The most recent technology cycle has focused on revenue growth through digital innovation. As that cycle matures, operators need new sources of economic opportunity and the next wave — the Internet of Things — is surging towards the kitchen.   

Restaurant owners know that to boost profits at their stores they need to carefully manage food and labor costs. Food Safety and Quality Management have long been an operating burden. Expensive labor is deployed to mission critical systems, from industrial ovens to the walk-in freezer. A few years ago, sensors became powerful and inexpensive enough to be widely deployed in industrial environments to assist in reducing this burden. Today, airports, schools, hospitals, and numerous other locations use Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to monitor equipment, air quality, temperature and numerous other components of health and safety.

But restaurants?  Not so much.  SERIOUSLY, walk around your stores.  Tell me about the sophistication of your equipment monitoring.  You probably don’t have a Nest thermostat sending you a signal that the A/C is too low at your Main Street location. Want to reduce your energy bills?

With distributed ownership, fluid workforce, and enormous competitive pressure, restaurants can be late to adopt game-changing technologies.  But profits grow with demonstrable operating improvements and sensors can yield 100% ROI in 1 year.     

Consider this:

  • McDonald’s recently went through a global comprehensive review for food safety technology.  They estimated that 1 hour of management time per shift would be recovered from the deployment of automated safety technologies.   
  • One of our customers estimates that every time the walk-in door is left ajar for 30 minutes they lose $100 of fresh proteins.
  • Another Fast-Casual puts their annual loss from electronic failure of refrigeration at $2000 per year.

Let’s face it, most operators would rather have sensors checking their freezer temperature 24×7 than a 17-year-old who is 6 months into his first job. If you’re a General Manager, wouldn’t you like an alert to come to your phone if the oven temperature soars too high? Why walk around with a clipboard in your hand when a sensor can send you a reading anywhere in the restaurant–or even the world?

Sensors are dropping in price every year, but already full solutions have emerged to replace pen, paper, and human reliance with fully digitized, automated solutions.  And the price inflection point has arrived. Restaurants will now recover the cost of an initial deployment within 6 months and generate better margins for several years to come.

To be sure, your sensors need to work and integrate with your workflow seamlessly. That’s where we come in. CoInspect software integrates with Cooper Atkins and Thermoworks. Contact us if you’re interested in learning more.

 

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