Food service operations that are limited by space and staff are looking to technology to do more with less. Operators want to increase revenue not only through their brick and mortar locations, but also through online ordering and pickup, drive-through and delivery – all while providing a full menu that maintains their quality standards for fresh and delicious food.
Clearly, these increased demands create new challenges in meeting guest expectations. While an operator might be able to reconfigure the ordering stations, pickup areas and kitchen layout, this is still a labor-intensive endeavor. The answer lies within technology and a series of connections where “smart” equipment can work directly in an unattended, self-sufficient mode to meet the demands of staff and guests.
Food service of the future
Robotics play a key role in the new service culture which traditionally focused on the preparation of food, but which was not able to assemble or deliver the final product. Unattended operations will be the wave of the future and will eventually move to self-contained vending machines that do it all — even deliver fresh food, prepared on demand. Already we have the automated salad bar, portable pizza parlor and even a taco machine that puts out products that appear to be handmade.
Eventually, the connections that begin with a mobile or kiosk order will end with delivery to the guest at home, in a pickup locker, drive-thru or to the table — perhaps even delivered by a robotic server. By adding new technologies from the general consumer marketplace to industry-specific operations — such as self-driving cars and 3-D printing of food— these connections can provide viable solutions to be leveraged by the food-service operator.
With the help of these connections, food service will continue to provide great food through new technologies that offer new accessibility and options for customers.