Some secret sauces, secret recipes, good ambiance, great chefs. Is that all a great restaurant needs today to be successful and drive customer loyalty? But that’s what every restaurant strives to have. So what can bring about that edge over competition? IoT, CRM, Big Data, Cloud? No?
Imagine IoT controlled ovens and fryers connected to real-time point-of-sale (POS) data. IoT platforms directing cooking instructions, monitoring real-time and historical sales to dynamically direct the kitchen crew. How? Let’s find out.
Internet of Kitchens
Take the case of a recent partnership between HotSchedules and Kitchen Brains. The former provides cloud-based mobile tech-solutions for restaurant and hospitality industries that automate operational challenges. Its solutions include social recruiting, e-learning, comprehensive labor management, BI, inventory, print and digital logbooks and applications built on its self-publishing API platform, making working for and in restaurants easier and more efficient.
The latter — Kitchen Brains has globally helped restaurants deliver hot, fresh, available food with its timing and control devices that integrate wirelessly across all equipment, powered by SaaS apps solely built for the Smart Commercial Kitchen. The management has seamless accessibility to KPIs, with cloud-based dashboards and control from anywhere to lower labor, training, and operational costs but maintaining food safety standards and product quality.
Combining Kitchen Brains SCK Quality Production Manager (QPM) with the HotSchedules IoT Platform integrates cooking platforms such as fryers and ovens with real-time point-of-sale (POS) data. The integration plans, directs, and reports cooking instructions to ensure that food is always hot, fresh and available for guests. The IoT Platform will eliminate the complexity and costs of connecting QPM to other restaurant technologies especially POS systems.
QPM connects the front and back-of-house restaurant systems with all aspects of food production and facility management. It monitors real-time and historical sales to dynamically coach the kitchen crew on what to cook, when to cook it, how much to cook and when to discard expired product. This increases the restaurant’s fresh product scores and product availability, as the products are tracked from cook to holding to waste.
The HotSchedules IoT platform will collect QPM’s data on food quality, wastage, inventory consumption, speed of service and savings. From the cloud, this data can be delivered to any analytics solution including HotSchedules Reveal, an app that provides actionable insights for hospitality businesses on a smartphone, tablet or browser. The data can also be linked to HotSchedules Inventory, a mobile application that enables restaurants to efficiently track and manage inventory and queue orders for products that are below ideal quantities.
By connecting Kitchen Brains QPM with the HotSchedules IoT platform, POS solutions and cooking equipment work seamlessly eliminating traditional API complexities while allowing restaurants to maximize their existing IT investments. Restaurants can increase speed-of-service, improve food quality and reduce wastage while cutting IT costs.
Sushi on Cloud
Another recent example mentioned in a blog post by AWS Asia Pacific’s MD, Shane Owenby, talks about how Cloud allows real time decision-making with “on-the-fly processing of data, powering real-time dashboards and analytics in a restaurant scenario.”
He gives an example of Akindo Sushiro (Sushiro), one of the leading sushi restaurant chains in Japan. The chain has over 409 conveyor belt restaurants throughout the country. Harnessing the power of Cloud Computing, Sushiro analyses billions of data points on ordering behavior to forecast demand, reducing wastage and ultimately lowering costs.
Each plate on the conveyor belt is equipped with an RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tag, allowing instant feedback to the kitchen, whenever a customer lifts the plate off the belt. Displays in Sushiro restaurant kitchens show the type of sushi eaten and the raw materials required to replenish the belt.
The data is updated in two intervals of 60 seconds and 15 minutes from the point in time when customers place their orders. By deploying this unique Cloud-based real-time business intelligence model, Sushiro reduced raw material inventory and food disposal loss by 98.5 per cent.
Spicing up the POS with CRM
Earlier this month, Upserve, a data analytics company that claims to manage 11 million meals every month across its network to bring actionable insights of big data to restaurants, expanded its portfolio to optimize restaurant sales, service, and business management on the go.
The mobile application hosts a real-time dashboard for single or multi-unit restaurants with information about sales and labor performance. It also launched a feature that integrates data from table management, point of sale and CRM systems and generates a daily report that predicts how busy the restaurant will be throughout the coming evening.
Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, the system factors for weather, reservations, previous trends on specific days of the week, and other variables, and creates a visualization of the compiling dinner service that managers can discuss with servers. It also allows managers to individually pull up a guest’s history with the restaurant or from various eating joints. This eventually helps in measuring server performance, analyze sales, and chart the varying popularity of different menu items by combining CRM and POS.
Not all F&B management tools are made by developers. CheddrSuite restaurant management software claims to have been founded by restaurant owners. According to them, a restaurant’s success depends on the cost of food and labor. Thus they came up with a platform that can be accessed online and has real time updates about employee messaging, cost reporting, inventory, web-based staff scheduling, online calendar and event management, HR document vault with training and e-signature functionality, vendor and agency contact management as well as shift to shift communication with task assignments.
From payroll cost history and projection to the ability to complete a schedule and then text and email it out to the entire team, CheddrSuite has industry cost standards for comparative analysis of food expenses above cost goals having a considerable impact on a restaurant’s bottom line.
Pay via Mobile
Paying via mobile is becoming a common practice now. For example, Not Your Average Joe’s has deployed a mobile payment application for all its customers. Being B2C in nature, the chain of restaurants claims to have recorded over 13,000 downloads. The app allows customers to pay their tabs through the mobile, post feeding in the credit/ debit card details.
With the app, a diner can order from the menu at the restaurant post checking in and punching in a four-digit code that is sent through the app. The code is relayed to the restaurant’s POS and shows the bill amount in the app. The order is synchronized with both the restaurant’s order and POS system, and the kitchen, so the diner’s order can be prepared and added to the bill. Interestingly, the application allows the customer to either pay for the entire order in the app, or just part of the order.
Another benefit of the app is the record that it maintains of all the check-ins. The restaurant can garner more insights about the customer since the guest has to fill in details or sign in through social media accounts. For example, the restaurant will know how frequently a particular diner comes into the restaurant versus orders food for takeout.