Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Foodservice’ Category

The Risks and Rewards of Connecting Commercial Kitchens

Paul_Hepperla Paul Hepperla | Vice President, Solutions Integration – Foodservice

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

 

Join us our next E360 Webinar, “The Risks and Rewards of Connecting Commercial Kitchens” on Tuesday, December 11 at 2 p.m. EST / 11 a.m. PST.

The Risks and Rewards of Connecting Commercial Kitchens

It seems everywhere you turn and across multiple industries, companies are touting the promise that the internet of Things (IoT) will digitally transform their operations. The restaurant sector is no exception. In recent years, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and restaurant retailers have spent considerable time and effort figuring out how to leverage the power of connectivity in commercial kitchens.

While it’s relatively easy to conceptualize how the internet of things (IoT) could improve operational efficiencies and provide business value, bringing these ideas to fruition has proved more difficult. Too often, we see retailers make the jump to connecting assets without first having a clear idea of what problem they’re trying to solve, or how connectivity will fundamentally change the way their business operates. Then, once everything is connected, they’re left wondering: “What’s next?”

Our next E360 Webinar will examine why this is the case, and focus on how foodservice OEMs and retailers can work together to tap the seemingly limitless potential of IoT. My presentation, “The Risks and Rewards of Connecting Commercial Kitchens” will focus on these key points:

  • The importance of defining the scope and purpose of your connected project
  • An examination of the far-reaching and dramatic impacts to your business
  • Real-world examples of successful and failed connectivity projects
  • Evaluating business models that involve service contracts, recurring revenue or monetization

Another common problem with connected kitchen projects is underestimating the complexities inherent with these new business models. For example, a connected maintenance offering might require somewhat sophisticated coordination of not only OEM and end user roles, but also the inclusion of an authorized service provider. Frankly, these are the types of business relationships and interactions that are often overlooked when companies rush to exploit the power of IoT before thinking through the implications.

The webinar will look at these challenges from both OEM and retail perspectives. For an OEM, it’s critically important to understand their customers’ business needs before launching a connected initiative. Similarly, retailers need to realize that without involving and engaging their OEM partners in their connected kitchen strategy, they’re not likely to achieve the maximum potential of their IoT solution.

So, if you’re thinking about entering into a connected kitchen project or IoT business model in the restaurant sector, register now to gain a better understanding of the risks and rewards of connectivity.

Connectivity Is on the Menu

Today, many c-stores offer an ever-changing menu of fresh food offerings. The variety of these healthy choices makes hungry customers happier, but creates complications for the c-store chain.Read the full article here.

Read more

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.

A Convenience Store Evolution

Paul Carlson_Blog Paul Carlson | Vice President/General Manager Foodservice
Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Convenience stores are evolving, placing more focus on customer preferences and better food offerings, which is causing operators to rethink their energy use strategies. Read the full article here.

217-P-Woman_looking_in_case_FB

You’ve probably noticed how much convenience stores have changed in recent years. Rather than a quick pitstop for gas, coffee and lottery tickets, these stores now include both fresh and frozen food offerings. Leveraging more choices and conveniences with a strategy that keeps customers in the store longer results in a higher chance they’ll make additional purchases.

This evolution doesn’t come without new challenges. With convenience stores shifting focus toward new food offerings and placing emphasis on the customer experience, store operators must determine how to efficiently manage energy consumption while still meeting food safety and customer comfort demands.

Enter building management systems. These central systems control and monitor a building’s mechanical and electrical equipment, such as refrigeration, lighting and HVAC. They’ve been used by supermarkets for two decades now — some even reduce energy costs by tens of thousands of dollars every year. Convenience stores have the same opportunity.

Today, installing energy-efficient equipment is just one piece of the energy management puzzle. Replacing manual equipment controls with thermostats and digital “smart” controls can help avoid excessive energy use and costs and improve management of store environments:

  • Refrigeration: Digital refrigeration controls enable the ability to monitor cases and product temperatures to cycle compressors accurately within a tighter control range. Case controllers prevent excessive compressor cycling and can automatically adjust temperatures overnight to save energy while still maintaining food safety standards.
  • Lighting: Advanced lighting controls remove the human and mechanical elements, and instead manage interior store lighting using a variety of more dependable inputs, including ambient lighting levels, light sensors, motion detection, occupancy schedules and occupancy triggers such as security systems.
  • HVAC: HVAC controllers can cycle rooftop fans according to discharge and return air temperatures, helping to both reduce compressor runtime and strike a better optimized balance between customer comfort and energy efficiency.

But these benefits don’t end at controlling individual systems. Linking systems together and scheduling/operating equipment with the full knowledge of other systems in the store, building management systems can operate at enhanced efficiency levels. For example, reducing electricity use is one vital factor that can ultimately lower your total costs by cycling lighting, refrigeration and HVAC equipment in the most efficient manner. Building management systems can also stagger multiple systems so they are not starting at the same time, reducing a store’s energy demands.

Energy-efficient equipment operation is only one aspect of a building management system. Another is the ability to collect a wide range of data, which convenience store operators can use to gain more visibility into store operations. This data grants operators insight into where to target improvement initiatives and allows for more informed decision making that is backed by clear data.

Building management systems also allow facility managers to proactively monitor equipment performance to potentially identify issues before they become significant problems, which could result in expensive repairs, product losses and equipment downtime.

As convenience stores evolve, it’s vital that their systems and energy strategies evolve too. Building management systems help facilitate enterprise management; optimize, standardize and monitor store efficiency; and generate a wealth of valuable data that can be used to drive down operating costs.

 

Using Facility Controls to Modernize the Consumer Experience

This blog summarizes an article from ACR News, entitled “Advances in Facility Controls Keeps Food Fresher, Consumers Safe and Comfortable.” Click here to read the article in its entirety (pg 42).

Reggie O'Donoghue_Blog Reggie O’Donoghue | Director of Electronics, Product Management
Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

We’ve noted that technology continues to evolve and expand its role in the commercial refrigeration market. In the food retail and foodservice sectors, this is inherently true for facility controls. Due to an ever-expanding network of shopping and dining options available to consumers, stores have struggled to determine how they can distinguish themselves from the pack and attract customers for not just one visit, but recurring visits.

Using Facility Controls to modernize the consumer experience

This struggle has shifted stores toward a concept called experiential retail, a mix of traditional shopping with entertainment features that provide consumers with a more engaging and unique experience. Offering an inviting, comfortable and safe environment is now just as essential as maintaining productivity and profitability, meaning advanced facility management and supervisory controls are necessary tools for any retailer who wants to stay relevant in the minds of consumers.

Formerly, facility controls were primarily used for energy management. While that is still incredibly beneficial (even the slightest energy reduction can greatly improve a supermarket’s profit margins), modern facility controls can be used for much more to help diversify business without risking food safety or quality.

For example, an emerging theme in the modern supermarket is the availability of freshly prepared foods and full meals to entice customers, bringing food safety even higher on the priority list. The latest control technologies implement the power of internet of things (IoT) connectivity, granting managers greater control and real-time monitoring of their entire facility, which decreases risk.

While energy efficiency and food safety are standard priorities for any retailer, consumer comfort and engagement factor greatly into experiential retail. Modern facility controls allow operators to manage the more aesthetic factors of their stores, helping to create more comfortable experiences for customers. Air quality controls allow for the control of fresh and recirculated air to maximize comfort levels, while lighting controls allow for more ambience in different areas of the store.

Modern facility controls offer behind-the-scenes benefits that allow managers to mine data from their stores, while smart alarms allow for quick action on faults and provide high-level explanations for future prevention. Comparing this data with historic records allows both facility managers to optimize store performances and enterprise managers to determine which stores are operating well and which have room for improvement. All a facility manager needs are a phone, tablet or laptop, and a Wi-Fi connection to access these operational insights.

As consumer wants and needs continue to become more complex, it is necessary for food retailers to optimize their stores to remain profitable from a business perspective and desirable from a consumer perspective. Modern facility controls are one of the best ways to leverage the power of data and IoT control to maintain a competitive edge.

%d bloggers like this: