Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

ALIWORLD 2019

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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14 back-of-house implications as front-of-house technologies improve and become more perva- sive. One is strategic reconfiguration of produc- tion areas and practices to ensure that staff handle delivery, takeout and mobile app orders quickly and efficiently. Another is having the right equipment in place to be able to deliver on both speed and quality while meeting demands for convenience. "Operators need seamless systems for receiving orders and sequencing the way that food gets prepared for delivery versus for guests dining in. It's a very different process and requires very different timing," Solocheck says. "For a restaurant doing dine-in, takeout and delivery, pains must be taken to ensure that one channel doesn't negatively impact another. You don't want employees tripping over each other in the back of the house trying to produce orders coming in from different channels." In testing its new app-based, mobile order takeout and delivery service, 7-Eleven turned to Metro to help ensure a seamless experience for staff and customers alike. Metro provides spe- cialized, dedicated workstations where culinary staff prep food and assemble orders for takeout and/or delivery. The compact, efficient worksta- tions include an arm that can hold a tablet that can receive and display orders coming from remote devices. Additionally, a separate "ambi- ent order cart," which can feature the opera- tor's graphics, serves as a staging area that holds orders awaiting pickup by customers or delivery personnel. While technology's march into the front of the house and beyond changes the customer experience at both foodservice and retail, Solocheck adds that equipment technologies help enable the convenience revolution and create efficiencies for operators. High-speed cooking technologies, in particular, increase throughput and de- crease customer wait times. "In the old days, if you went out for pizza, you'd expect to be there a while. The ovens were slower, the whole experience was slower," Solocheck ob- serves. "Except perhaps for a special occasion or fine-dining experience, consumers today have little desire to sit in a restaurant and wait for an extended period for their food. We don't have as much time as we used to." In addition to high-speed cooking tech- nologies, "smart" equipment that connects to the Internet can help tech-forward operators improve quality and consistency as well as be more flexible with their menu offerings. Mike Groen, director of engineering at ACP Solutions, Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of accelerated cooking solutions, says interest in Internet of Things and Wi-Fi-enabled cooking equipment is high, but many companies aren't yet clear on how to apply it to their businesses. ACP works with chain operators' internal IT teams to find the right products and solutions for their needs. In the case of a fast-growing regional c-store chain, ACP provided fully con- nected True-Touch HD Touchscreens on ARX/ MRX and AXP/MXP combination microwave ovens. "This chain runs a lot of limited-time of- fers and promotions. Having the connectivity to a single server makes loading recipes and cook- time changes across their entire system fast and easy," Groen says. "All updates come from a central place, and they have complete control to ensure consistency. It gives them a lot of flex- ibility to keep menus fresh and offer new items to keep those convenience-oriented customers interested and coming back." "For a restaurant doing dine- in, takeout and delivery, pains must be taken to ensure that one channel doesn't negatively impact another." TRENDS

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