Is That a Smart Trash Can in Your Restaurant?

Restaurants are perfect environments to take advantage of the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things refers to a technological movement in which physical objects -- such as refrigerators, trash cans, and everything in between become Internet connected.

You may be asking yourself, “What do I need with a smart trash can?”

Well, how about a trash can that immediately calculates your food waste? Wouldn’t a refrigerator that automatically orders produce when you are running low be beneficial to your business?

There are connected systems that can alert you when a keg is running low, or when the temperature in your walk-in is rising to a dangerous level.

The Internet of Things can help your staff navigate tables better. I can’t tell you how many times a food runner has attempted to bring me the wrong entrée. A mesh network of server wearables and table trackers can make this an impossibility. It’s all thanks to objects that speak to each other on a shared network. Whether it’s a menu that dynamically changes based on real-time inventory levels or sensors that automatically log temperatures for food safety, the Internet of Things promises to streamline your restaurant operations.

We live in world of big data. It’s funny that some people are afraid to make too many data-driven decisions, feeling that it’s a cold way to run a business. They hold on to the naïve notion that there’s something beautiful about making intuitive decisions devoid of data and fixed statistics. Often the starry-eyed among us are unwilling to change the way they have done things for years.

“I know exactly when I need to order new tomato sauce,” many in our industry say. When queried about staff performance, the manager relying on intuition alone answers, “I don’t need a computer system to tell me who my best server is. Kelly is the nicest person on my staff.”

Just because Kelly is nice that doesn’t mean that she’s the best at upselling appetizers and desserts. Historical sales data can tell you the best staff groupings for maximizing food sales. Would you ignore reports that would help you build the best team?

Data can be invaluable to building and refining a team. There’s no reason that you can’t uncover statistics that tie staff performance to key indicators. You can look at historical sales and tip figures to determine who amongst your staff are your best weekend performers. Do you know which of your servers performs best at lunchtime, but might not be ready for the craziness of the dinner rush?

With the Internet of Things and the restaurant industry converging, even more data will be created daily in your business. Don’t let that data go to waste. Use it to help inform decisions that will save you money, improve your operations, and delight your guests.