Using IOT in the food service industry

With limited time and a significant number of daily tasks to perform, an Operations Manager in a Food Service business might find adding a new Internet of Things (IoT) solution to be quite beneficial and productive to the overall operations of the business.

The deployment of an IoT solution provides a “second pair of eyes” that continuously manages and monitors key equipment within the facility, freeing up time to perform other critical, necessary tasks and activities.

As we all know, a key element to delivering high quality food to the consumer is the ability to maintain food at acceptable temperature levels to guarantee that items are prepared and ultimately delivered to the consumer safely.

A key element in achieving this is to properly monitor food service equipment 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, as often times issues can arise when staff are not present, or when operations are closed. If a refrigerator or freezer stops working, not only is there additional expense of fixing or replacing the appliance, but the risk that the food items being stored in the unit are outside of safe temperature (below 40 degrees Fahrenheit for refrigerators and 0 degrees Fahrenheit for freezers) is high. This inventory would then need to be discarded in order to retain quality control of the operation. This cost for spoiled inventory would be substantial and devasting for a food service business.

One way to combat this is by using IoT technologies and remote monitoring solutions to monitor your key investments as a preventative cost savings and brand reputation method.

An IoT cloud-based solution for the Food Service business should have four components: Sensors, Gateway, Portal and Mobile App access.

The gateways support actual sensors that are placed on the equipment to continuously monitor each piece of equipment. The sensors provide a constant flow of data and will trigger an alert when the data falls outside of a set range.

This allows for immediate response to an issue and proactive maintenance or repair of the equipment that can help extend the equipment’s life.

The portal of an IoT solution should not only provide access to all data including reports but allow set-up of configuration of the equipment and users.

In order to enjoy the highest ROI and to attain cost savings through preventative measures, operations and maintenance should be of the highest priority. IoT offers a survival strategy for precious food service equipment that begins with the continuous monitoring of key equipment and real-time transparency of issues to allow operations to keep a tight rein on unforeseen expenses, and support in expanding the lifecycle of key assets.

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