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Connecting the Commercial Kitchen

Paul_Hepperla Paul Hepperla | Vice President, Solutions Integration – Foodservice

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Internet of Things (IoT) and connected kitchen capabilities are transforming the modern commercial kitchens of restaurant operators. Read the full article to learn more.

Connecting the commercial Kitchen

The abilities to consistently prepare and deliver safe, fresh and high-quality products to customers are at the core of modern restaurant and convenience store operations. To help them meet this promise, many operators are introducing IoT technologies to connect the equipment used in the preparation of their constantly evolving menu items. It’s a concept we refer to as the connected kitchen.

The connected kitchen gives foodservice operators the ability to transform common kitchen equipment into smart devices that communicate with each other and leverage the power of cloud services to improve operational efficiencies. In doing so, the connected kitchen potentially addresses a variety of challenges at key points throughout the foodservice supply chain:

  • Store managers and service technicians — automate the monitoring and reporting of equipment statuses; receive maintenance alerts for diagnostics and fast issue resolution
  • Foodservice operators — establish centralized control of their store network, including visibility to not only kitchen equipment, but also HVAC, refrigeration and lighting systems
  • Corporate analysts — track trending consumer behaviors for targeted marketing initiatives
  • Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) — gain access to performance analytics for research, development and product improvement purposes

From temperatures to cook times, energy consumption to consumer foot traffic, product hold times to refrigerated door openings, the range of information available grows every day. This data comes from communicating equipment, sensors, controls and local gateways and is then transferred to the cloud (or another data repository) for remote access.

But turning this abundance of data into useful, actionable and secure information for each potential end user is the key to a successful IoT implementation. For example, a store manager has completely different priorities than an OEM. Where the store manager needs quick access to equipment and system status in an easy-to-interpret interface, the OEM may be gathering deep equipment performance data to inform the engineering and design processes.

It’s a common misperception that IoT and connected kitchens are implemented as cookie-cutter solutions. In reality, they are driven by a variety of factors, including: operational priorities; information technology (IT) infrastructures and preferences; security considerations; and preferred equipment provider capabilities.

While still relatively new in terms of widespread adoption, there are many examples of connected kitchens delivering measurable improvements, but even small degrees of connectivity can yield significant benefits. One leading restaurant chain connected their ovens to push recipes across an 800-store network via an automated process that helped save $100,000 annually. Another operator installed equipment monitoring capabilities in nearly 100 ice machines located around the globe, transforming their reactive maintenance model to a proactive and preventative approach.

Third party providers like Emerson have the deep domain experience to serve as neutral collectors of information, helping OEMs preserve data security while creating intuitive user interfaces for restaurant operators. For more information regarding IoT and connected kitchen solutions, read the full article here.

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