What Is a Connected Restaurant Kitchen?
The days of restaurant kitchens being fragmented, analog, and linear are quickly coming to an end. Though the concepts of connected restaurant kitchens were gaining in popularity before, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has seen this trend accelerate. But why? What is a connected kitchen in the first place? And what does that really mean?
A connected restaurant kitchen leads to savings, accessibility, visibility, ease-of-use, transparency, profitability, and more. Simply put, there’s a range of benefits a connected kitchen can provide through a suite of smart kitchen services, and it’s being driven by the growing relationship between restaurants and technology.
It’s possible for the modern-day restaurateur to monitor an entire battery of cooking equipment, check on energy usage in a walk-in, review a summary of tonight’s tickets, submit HACCP reporting, and even share recipes from one location to another while sitting anywhere in the world where one can find a WiFi connection. Even better, this is just scratching the surface.
Defining The Internet of Things: Benefits in a Commercial Kitchen
The Internet of Things, or IoT, goes well beyond foodservice, though it’s widely believed to have begun in foodservice in 1982 with a modified Coca-Cola vending machine that was able to report on its inventory levels and the temperatures of the cans. Essentially, IoT refers to the ability to connect physical objects by fitting them with sensors and software to the internet for a free flow of data. In commercial foodservice, it becomes an “internet kitchen” by connecting the various aspects of a kitchen on a single, cloud-based platform.
Let’s take a quick look at the different areas of benefit a smart kitchen can provide.
Safety is the top goal of any foodservice operation, from making sure staff are safe in the back-of-the-house to ensuring food is stored safely for guests. IoT solutions in restaurants can make it easy for operators to report on these important food safety metrics, as well as performance levels of equipment. This helps promote food safety, as well as making the documentation requirements easier to manage.
With the ability to capture and review data on how foodservice equipment is operating, the benefits go beyond the safety of staff. In reality, IoT restaurant kitchen solutions provide even greater value by reporting on operational efficiencies, allowing operators and owners to monitor and modify usage on specific pieces of equipment based on times of the day, volume, and other criteria.
When foodservice equipment is connected through a smart kitchen application or platform, its performance can be closely monitored. The more data available, the easier for staff to modify how, when, or why certain units are used. A connected commercial kitchen is more efficient in this sense, saving valuable time and labor. With post-COVID consumer demand at an all-time high, foodservice labor challenges are skyrocketing, and operators are looking for any possible ways to save labor. Connected kitchen technologies are one of them.
Open Kitchen® is the IoT solution for foodservice.
Middleby and Powerhouse Dynamics have developed an award-winning IoT platform for connecting commercial kitchens and restaurants. Open Kitchen was named one of the top 10 IoT solutions for 2021 by Industry Era Review Magazine, not just in foodservice, but in all industries.