The equipment you buy, the ingredients you source and even the energy your kitchen consumes all have an impact on both your bottom line and the efficiency of your operation. You can streamline your kitchen operations in a variety of ways, from making the most of the latest in appliance technology and ensuring that your pieces “talk” with each other and share data to eliminating complexity in your menu items — without sacrificing customer experience or end quality.
Some of the latest innovations in technology can be tailored to seamlessly integrate into a QSR or casual dining kitchen, while others are specifically designed with the industry in mind.
Make the Most of Appliance Technology
Appliances that help your staff prepare food in less time, perform more than one task or offer more automation are a worthwhile investment if you are looking to save time and streamline your process.
Rick Caron, Senior Vice President of Innovation for Manitowoc Foodservice, recommends that QSR and casual dining franchises invest in devices like high-speed ovens, which cook food in a fraction of the time needed for conventional appliances. Combination ovens allow your team to use multiple cooking methods in the same space while beverage systems that blend and dispense eliminate the need for multiple pieces of equipment.
Sous Vide Proteins Boost Quality and Save Time
Opting for sous vide protein choices that arrive ready to heat and serve allows you to offer a variety of high-quality choices to your customers and expand your menu without having to invest in purchasing, staff training and upkeep of new equipment. Sous vide, which cooks meats and other proteins for a long time over low heat, creates a juicy, tender product that’s bursting with flavor — something you don’t usually find in a fast food or casual dining kitchen.
A customized sous vide product can be tailored to match both your customer’s preferences and your time constraints, arriving ready to heat and plate or package. And according to the National Restaurant Association, reducing the complexity of some of your menu offerings by choosing high-quality, ready to use items can boost your productivity and efficiency. Opting for pre-prepped items can also help boost food safety; inexperienced kitchen staff can simply open and plate or open and heat without worrying about taking extra steps to maintain proper food handling for raw meats and proteins, reducing the risk of foodborne illness.
Internet of Things: Easy Access to Data
Interconnected devices and appliances are nothing new; the food manufacturing industry has already incorporated IoT into operations in many ways, and the food service side of the industry is beginning to catch on. The connectivity of your equipment and the ability of different pieces to “talk” to one another can result in more efficient front and back of house operations.
Your current food safety procedures, including temperature checks and data recording, can be improved with IoT technology. Instead of manually recording temperatures throughout the day, the system can be automated to either check and send information regularly or be accessed at any time from any mobile device.
Energy Efficiency Automation Technology
Opting for automation and smart controls for energy consumption can help individual QSR locations cut costs and improve sustainability without sacrificing the customer experience. Even the smallest moves can help. Fast food giant Arby’s cut lighting costs by $2,600 per year for each location just by opting for better light bulbs. Their LED bulb initiative has saved the chain thousands of dollars each year — without impacting the customer experience. Restroom light sensors, automated thermostats and energy efficient appliances with automated capabilities can also help improve energy efficiency in individual units and save money and resources.