MRM EXCLUSIVE: Fast food has become a high-tech business | modern restaurant management

Consumers visit a fast food or quick service restaurant (QSR) with one goal in mind: to get a tasty meal incredibly quickly. Who makes the magic happen? Cashiers, cooks and other QSR crew members.

Once upon a time, there was a front line employee at a fast food restaurant who didn’t necessarily need tech skills to apply. Taking orders at the counter and preparing quick meals were not necessarily seen as stepping stones to higher paying careers with expanded responsibilities. Fast forward to 2022. Technology has permeated the fast food industry and business functions – from point of sale (POS) to food safety compliance. QSR workers, like everyone else, are expected to use technology at work. And many have rise to the occasion.

Wireless networks, laptops, and the Internet of Things (IoT) have turned QSRs into high-tech hotspots and the employees who employ them into a skilled workforce. In fact, the high-tech workplace is no longer the domain of office workers glued to computer screens. The high-tech workforce has expanded into factories, warehouses, e-commerce delivery fleets, and about this article: quick-service restaurants.

The pace of adoption of restaurant technologies has accelerated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Restaurant and retail workers were hard to find as the number of customer interaction channels multiplied. To stay competitive, the majority of restaurants and retailers have moved beyond in-store transactions to more technological methods such as online ordering, curbside and in-store pickup, and delivery services. Additionally, food safety has become increasingly important to consumers and businesses, across all of these channels.

The Technologies Behind Modern Restoration Work

QSR workers are learning to use new technologies at a faster rate than ever. From digital checklists to wireless food temperature monitoring and robotics – let’s dive into some of the key technologies driving change among the QSR workforce.

Laptopg – Tablets, cell phones and laptops allow staff to access software applications as they move around the store. Checklists that were once manual and paper-based are now automated and digital. The front of the house features POS shelves as well as tablets loaded with digital checklists that chronicle everything from opening and closing tasks to basic store hygiene functions. Digitized food safety checklists provide a real-time view of compliance across the store for both store operators and head office. Digitizing task checklists has allowed restaurant workers to spend less time manually tracking “pen and paper” tasks and more time focusing on customers.

Digital food temperature monitoring– The Internet of Things has allowed restaurants to connect various objects, such as heat sensors or cameras, with data processing capabilities and software over a wireless network. One of the biggest advancements has been the ability to effortlessly monitor food temperatures and achieve new levels of food safety. Remote temperature monitoring systems that leverage advanced LoRaWAN technology can even read the temperature of individual foods through the walls of freezers or refrigerators. The result is effortless compliance. Temperature logs are automatically captured and sent to management dashboard reports for 24/7 monitoring. Real-time alerts notify staff if a temperature-sensitive location falls outside the acceptable range. Restaurant managers can now detect and prevent equipment failures before they occur.

Team management software – Store operators have full visibility into staff performance via digital checklists that track everything from pre-shift activities (cleaning tables, stocking freezers) to shift notes (eg. “lack of bread”) and even at COVID-19 security checks. Customers notice the difference between a spotless QSR with a clean dining room and a full inventory, and those details can move the needle in encouraging a first customer to become a repeat customer. As field workers reap the benefits of digital checklists, managers can now experience “real-time” management through online performance dashboards, mobile apps, alerts real-time and daily emails. Tasks that were once time-consuming for managers, such as filling a shift for an employee who called in sick, can be resolved quickly with a text message to let everyone know the shift is open. The same goes for weather emergencies, like a delayed store opening due to a snowstorm.

Robotics – A recent BostInno article included this video of Alfred the robot making salads at BONAPITA, a fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant in West Roxbury, MA. Meanwhile, at the Creator Restaurant in San Francisco, a robot completes every aspect of creating a burger, from toasting buns to applying ketchup! Robots are probably slower than a chef or line cook, but they are reliable and cost effective in an age when employees can be expensive and hard to find. Fulfilling certain food preparation roles with robots also allows QSR’s human employees to spend less time on time-consuming and labor-intensive tasks, and instead focus on customers, creating a more valuable customer.

The restaurant business of the future: tech-savvy and customer-centric

Restaurant workers today need to be familiar with tablets and the apps that run on them. They can be expected to download staffing apps to their personal cell phones for communication purposes or to smart watches so cooks and other staff can respond to the apps on a wearable device to keep your hands free for work.

Skilled technicians are also playing an increasing role in training, managing and repairing this ubiquitous restoration technology. Managers also have more information about what their staff are doing and more data to help them manage and help employees grow in their roles.

Technology makes front and back of house operations more thorough and reliable. This helps employees track orders, serve quality food, and prioritize customer service. . Like all other employees, people working in restaurants are embracing technology to work smarter and faster, with the end goal of delighting customers.

About Imogene T. Bishop

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