Executive Summary of larger whitepaper commissioned by the Continental Automated Buildings Association
Full white paper can be found here.
Internet of things (IoT) has revolutionized the way devices operate. From smart home products such as refrigerators and televisions to industrial machineries, IoT has triggered transformation across industries. This innovation has highly impacted the food industry and for quick service restaurants (QSR), a dynamic segment of the food industry, adoption of the technology is growing. The addition of fast-casual restaurants has further elevated the competitive landscape for the QSR and restaurants are striving to beat their competitors by diversifying their menu offerings and modifying their restaurant concept. Furthermore, differentiation through consistent food, efficient service, and managed costs has become vital for restaurant’s survival. With IoT, connected restaurant equipment and devices have provided restaurant operators with increased visibility which has enabled consistency and cost-savings. However, the current network of fragmented systems and platforms is not fully optimized. On the front-end various application and systems enhance the overall experience for customers and increasing customer loyalty. Similarly, on the back-end, smart-building solutions facilitate new visibility into repair and maintenance of equipment, streamline operations, and control overall costs. Embedded sensors and processors in various equipment, from a coffee machine to a walk-in refrigerator and HVAC unit, allow the data to be stored in a cloud. The collected data can be accessed instantly for analysis and in many cases allow for an immediate repair and maintenance effort. This connectivity is driving improvements in productivity and performance of the products and IoT is enabling those improvements. While these advanced technologies are promising, managing disparate systems operating in silos can be a challenging experience for restaurant operators. The need for integration of these systems into fewer platforms to fully leverage the benefits is highly important. Connecting the existing base building network to IoT technology can facilitate restaurant operators to timely manage repair and maintenance and control costs, which directly impacts the bottom line for the business. Industry partners deliver a multitude of technology solutions that help restaurants with energy savings, food cost reduction, equipment maintenance management, enhanced brand equity, and compliance on food safety regulations. These partners can help QSR organizations navigate the world of smart, connected products, which integrate into fewer platforms and help companies fully utilize data analytics. In the cutthroat environment of the QSR industry, the quality of food and the consistency of the service will always remain the standard of success, and integrated digital technology will effectively aid QSRs in achieving that standard while improving operational efficiency and driving business growth.