Once upon a time, it was crucial for a restaurant manager to be on site during all business hours to make sure operations ran smoothly.
Now, with a smartphone and a decent Wi-Fi connection, managers can handle from afar everything from the temperature of freezer units to lighting in the dining room.
It’s the Internet of Things in restaurants, and it’s only the beginning.
For example, oven sensors can send data to a cloud where the information can be analyzed to reveal, say, a temperature issue or a need for maintenance.
Operators can even receive alerts about equipment issues that could compromise food safety.
But it’s not only about connecting equipment. A growing number of digital scheduling tools can send alerts about workers’ overtime or mandated breaks.
Reservation management systems help identify important guests, their preferred dishes and whether they’re allergic to nuts.
Fast-casual chains like Panera Bread are using table-
tracking technology to help food runners find customers quickly in the restaurant to deliver their meals.
And suppliers are increasingly using smart kitchen equipment monitors to know when to deliver ingredients like cooking oil for the fryer.
As kitchens get even more connected and data-gathering tools become more sophisticated, there will be a world of opportunity in freeing humans from mundane tasks so they can focus more on pleasing guests.
Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected]
Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout