Smart Restaurant: Implications of IoT for Food Service
What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
The Internet of Things creates a network between any and all devices based on the idea of total connectivity. Different devices monitor a variety of activities, and the theory behind IoT suggests that these devices should be linked in order to share and analyze data points, create feedback loops, and ultimately make decisions without human intervention. While IoT may sound like a a tech buzzword or a Brave New World concept, there are many commercial applications that could help businesses improve efficiencies, operate more leanly, and create better environments.
What are the implications of IoT for my restaurant business?
The concept of IoT can have it’s place in the kitchen – it could help chefs and restaurateurs operate in a way that promotes efficient use of inventory and equipment, better quality control, and better regulated food safety.
Data sensors can monitor cooking equipment such as refrigerators and ovens to make sure that food is held and cooked to proper temperatures. This can improve food-safety regulations as well as increase the level of consistency in dishes produced. Smart refrigerators can even monitor inventory levels, which could send alerts to the chef or kitchen manager to order more when stock is low. Sensors can also be placed or built into in different kitchen appliances to sense how “done” a piece of meat is or be set to monitor cooking times.
When it comes to restaurant facilities, IoT can also be used to monitor HVAC systems to monitor temperatures and energy usage, as well as get ahead of potential issues by sending alerts when maintenance is required. For the restaurant front of house, IoT can be used to monitor the point of sale system. This way, restaurateurs and General Managers can receive alerts and avoid any potential issues that can slow down service. IoT can help restaurants reduce costs by monitoring pain points and providing alerts that help management prevent of several types of major service failure.
How can I implement IoT in my restaurant?
IoT is most easily implemented in the restaurant via platform technology. In order to have multiple devices and pieces of equipment interact, multiple integrations will be required. These integrations are often set up using an API, or Application Program Interface, call. These calls are a series of code that sets up rules for how the different devices should interact with one another.
Using a platform can help reduce the total number of integrations required to connect a technology ecosystem, and it also leads to improved data management. Essentially, sensors need to be connected to one another and to the platform so data and alerts can be aggregated for more highly optimized restaurant management. IoT in restaurants has yet to be fully embraced, so it will be fascinating to see how early adopters will apply this technology to advance their restaurants and the industry as a whole.
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