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.
Posts tagged ‘foodservice’
|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.
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.
|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.
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.
|Allen Wicher | Director, Foodservice Marketing
Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions
Many factors are lining up to help make the case for R-290, from demographics and sustainability to regulations. Watch the full video for more on overcoming common challenges, and to learn how one company, H&K International, successfully made the shift to focusing on R-290-based products.
Regardless of the EPA’s current or future actions, Emerson sees a significant market dynamic toward sustainability, lower Global Warming Potential (GWP) and higher efficiency — especially in the spaces where R-290 is acceptable for use.
R-290 is a natural, hydrocarbon-based substance. In addition to its low GWP of 3 and Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP) of 0, Emerson’s compressor test labs* found that R-290 yields more than 20 percent better Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) on average compared to R-404A and other HFCs. R-290 systems have been found by many to be highly reliable. Hydrocarbons can be used in multiple applications such as secondary systems, self-contained cases and condensing units.
The current charge limit for R-290 is only 150 grams, which can limit unit size and potentially create significant challenges for makers of stand-alone, medium-temperature reach-ins. Manufacturers of larger equipment are also understandably reluctant to take on the inefficiencies of supporting multiple refrigerants in their lineups.
Emerson is participating on the AHRI Flammable Refrigerants Research Subcommittee which will be investigating the impact of R-290 refrigerant charge limit increases. Increasing the charge limits could open up more applications in ice, commercial reach-ins, and potentially in some packaged solutions. The Subcommittee intends on submitting the results of its investigation for use in evaluating Codes and Standard revisions for IEC, UL, ASHRAE and others.
Most ultra-low-GWP refrigerants (A2L or A3 with a GWP less than 150) have some level of flammability, which may create some challenges. That said, R-290 systems tend to be reliable when proper protocols and procedures are followed. Integrated cases and packaged walk-in systems can use multiple 150g refrigeration systems in a single appliance. These have low- and medium-temperature applications that help to address today’s EPA and DOE compliance challenges, though DOE test procedures are still in development.
H&K International offers a compelling real-world example of the benefits R-290 offers to commercial foodservice. In the United States alone, the company projects its customers will save more than $769,000 in utility costs over the next three years, with additional savings each year R-290 equipment is in operation.
Watch the full video for more on overcoming common challenges, and to learn how one company, H&K International, successfully made the shift to focusing on R-290-based products.
* The results presented in this post are based on Emerson’s testing. Results may vary based on additional testing and application.
|Dean Landeche | V.P. of Marketing , Retail Solutions
Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions
View our most recent E360 Webinar, “Retail and Foodservice 2025: The Future for Customers, Operators and Facilities.”
Grocery retail and foodservice sectors are currently undergoing a significant transition in the way they conduct business. Driven by a digital revolution, rapidly changing consumer expectations and the demand for convenience at every touchpoint, operators are devising new strategies to stay competitive and keep customers engaged. While some of these changes are already in progress, others are just beginning to take shape.
To get a clearer view of the outlook for these dynamic markets, Emerson recently invited Zandi Brehmer, consulting practice manager of innovation for Euromonitor Consulting, to present insights from her research at our 22nd E360 Webinar. Brehmer’s presentation was rife with relevant information, particularly about how these developments will impact future retail store and restaurant design and infrastructure.
With that in mind, what follows are Brehmer’s top five megatrends in these markets.
- Digital shoppers. Today, three out of four households in the U.S. own a smartphone, accounting for 47 percent of purchases and a forecast for $1 trillion in sales by 2018. Retailers need to engage consumers through their mobile devices with options to order/pay, and potentially even mobile apps where opportunities exist to provide real value to customers.
- Focus on convenience. The urbanization of the U.S. population continues, with 83 percent of Americans living in urban centers, and 65 percent of global consumers are looking to simplify their lives. New business models — such as just-in-time delivery, click and collect, and basic replenishment — are emerging to provide convenience improvements and help consumers save time.
- New retail formats. The size of traditional U.S. grocery stores has continued to shrink over the past 10 years. With shoppers faced with ever-increasing options, new formats are challenged to be more thoughtful. At opposite ends of the spectrum are value- and premium-based outlets, while the mid-market retailers are taking a hit. Specialty small-format convenience stores will continue to emerge as “grocerants” blur the lines between retail and foodservice.
- Experiential retail. As product offerings become all too similar, it’s the shopping experiences that will differentiate one retailer from the next. In fact, 78 percent of U.S. millennials would rather spend money on a desirable experience than on goods, while 39 percent of global shoppers like to browse, even if they don’t need anything.
- Omnichannel proficiency. Retailers will need to provide a seamless way to facilitate sales anytime and anywhere for their consumers, including the methods discussed herein. Even online retailers are opening physical storefronts to round out omnichannel opportunities.
The conclusion: business as usual is no longer an option. Operators will likely need to overhaul their store layouts to meet the expectations of every type of customer via better segmentation of functional areas such as parking, checkout, order pick-up, dining area and kitchens.
To learn more, view this webinar in its entirety.