Customers are already signing credit card invoices with their fingers on touchscreens and using programs to order at fast-food restaurants. But those are only the start. Entrepreneurs from the food service industry should keep an eye on the next five innovative technologies, which are improving how restaurants do business; in kitchens and in the front of the home.
Touchscreen Food Vendors
Digital boxes like the MooBella Ice Creamery Machine can create 96 variations of trendy treats in 40 seconds. Another example is Coca-Cola’s Freestyle soda fountain has the capacity to dispense over 100 distinct beverages from 1 touchscreen device.
How much it costs: Prepare to cover for convenience. The machine costs $20,000, while Coca-Cola’s Freestyle is available on rent for $320 a month. From syrup to soda, it costs on average 30 percent more than a typical fountain machine to function. But that price difference may be softened by higher demand from clients interested to make their own flavors.
Tablet Restaurant Management
Busy hosts may prefer the New York City-based program Breadcrumb, which was created by a group of restaurateurs turned software manufacturers. This flexible iPad app offers real-time perspectives of tables, catalogs the menu with an assortment’s name or components, procedures sales and delivery tickets and sends requests to the kitchen.
How much it costs: Prices are monthly and range from $99 for a single iPad to $399 for up to ten iPads. App upgrades are free, and there is also a free 30-day trial offer.
Automatic Biodiesel Converters
Before petroleum-based fuels, cars ran on biodiesel. However, Chico, Calif based Springboard Biodiesel has reinvented how fuel is produced. Its BioPro automatic chips kick out industrial standard biodiesel in batches once you pour in used animal or vegetable oil.
How much it costs: The BioPro 190 is your businesses cheapest and lowest capacity chip. Priced at $9,995, it converts 50 gallons of used cooking oil per batch. Additional materials necessary to create the oil-to-fuel conversion, such as potassium or sodium hydroxide, methanol and sulfuric acid, electricity and water, add about $50 to the cost of converting a batch. However, the investment can pay off in reduced fuel costs in addition to kitchen maintenance and used oil removal.
LED Alert Systems
By illuminating the floor beneath the dishwashing sink or the wall over the deep fryer, the LED alert system alerts workers to time-sensitive tasks like if the pots are cleaned or if silverware is dry and ready to be used.
Who should use it: Any busy cooking area could benefit from the illuminated alarms. Since the light could be angled so as to not intrude on dining places how sound alarms might, it can help maintain ambiance in luxury eateries cooking with fresh food.
How much it costs: The silent alert system is a standard feature on Powersoak’s higher-end, automatic dishwashing controllers, which can run from $4,000 to $20,000.
In trials at healthcare centers last year, workers wore identification badges equipped with radio frequency transmitters that alerted the machine when employees approached the sink to wash their hands. The system monitored how long the washing machine lasted and if soap or sanitizer was used. In addition, it can monitor workers to find out if they’re wearing hats and gloves while handling food, providing direction insight about whether they have to reinforce training.
Who should use it: Since the system can monitor workers remotely, it might appeal particularly to franchise operators that have difficulty monitoring a number of facilities simultaneously, this system would work well in any lunch café too.
How much it costs: For hand washing compliance, sealed air quotes a monthly price between $300-$500 per restaurant, determined by the number of observation channels needed. That price increases if companies want to train for other food preparation requirements, like hairnets or food handling.