Specialty Food Magazine

Spring 2019

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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issue facing restauranteurs," she says. "Today, we have more than 900,000 open jobs in the restaurant and hospitality industry, and over the next decade, we will need to fill an additional 1.6 million positions. A human worker working with a 'co-bot' in a kitchen could limit the number of burns a worker might get touching a hot grill or create a safer food handling process. However, a robot will never be able to replicate the full hospitality our industry provides. Creating a welcoming environment and a friendly guest experience marked by creativity, f lexibility, and adaptability will continue to be skills uniquely possessed by humans." Levy's E15 Group is working with other sports venues and brands to develop strategies to test and deploy other new technolo- gies, including mobile ordering and payment, in-seat service, and self-service kiosks. For example, E15 helped provide attendees at last year's World Series with a variety of tech-driven payment options, including ApplePay for in-seat orders and cash-free vending. E15 is also seeking to leverage self-service technologies that make recommendations to customers based on preference data and is exploring more cashless transaction opportunities such as biomet- ric scanning and self-service mini-marts at its venues. Another operator that is dabbling in robotics is Spyce. The Boston restaurant, created by four Massachusetts Institute of Technology students, bills itself as "the world's first restaurant fea- turing a robotic kitchen that cooks complex meals to order." Spyce's robotic kitchen can churn out up to 150 meals per hour from the menu of grain bowls, curries, salads, stir-frys, and MORE FOODSERVICE AUTOMATION TECHNOLOGIES T echnology that relies on sensors to automate tasks in the restaurant industry is being used on more than just robots. "There are automation technologies available now that free up staff from compliance tasks and that don't directly affect the restaurant goer's experience," says Nick Low, senior solution manager, Oracle Food and Beverage. "Solutions that automate tasks, like temperature logging, let restaurant operators focus on creating the best products instead of recording values," he says. Technologies poised for more widespread deployment in the restaurant industry include: • Wearable technology, such as smartwatches, which can be used by customers for ordering and payments as well as employees for various tasks. Technology company Presto, for example, which offers tabletop solutions for restaurants, recently introduced wearable technology that can be used to notify servers of customer needs. • Driverless cars, which are in the early stages of testing at Domino's and Pizza Hut, as well as at third-party delivery providers such as DoorDash. Similarly, drones are in the early stages of testing as delivery vehicles. • 3 -D printing, which could be used for everything from preparing food items or adding finishing touches, or even creating plates and cutlery. Oracle cited as an example the restaurant La Enoteca in Barcelona, Spain, where chef Pasco Perez uses a 3-D printer to create an intricate coral-shaped centerpiece made from a seafood puree. • Virtual reality, which is being tested both as an enhancement to the customer experience and for training employees. Fast-casual chain Honeygrow, for example, has used virtual-reality training to help onboard its employees.—M.H. A human worker working with a 'co-bot' in a kitchen could limit the number of burns a worker might get touching a hot grill or create a safer food handling process. However, a robot will never be able to replicate the full hospitality our industry provides. PHOTO: CHRIS SANCHEZ, SPYCE RESTAURANT 30 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com

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