By Adrian Johansen
To say that the past few years have been difficult for the restaurant industry would be an understatement. Restaurant owners have endured a global pandemic, prolonged shutdowns and now a seemingly intractable supply chain crisis. It has been a lot to endure, and far too many promising establishments have not survived.
The good news, however, is that there is hope on the horizon, both in the apparent reduction of the pandemic and in the introduction of exciting new technologies that could very well revolutionize the supply chain. restaurants as we know it.
Indeed, the rise of agricultural technology, or agritech, allows restaurateurs to manage their inventory and offer a level of personalized service that once seemed unthinkable.
Real-time on-site monitoring
Agritech operates primarily through the power of the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT refers to a vast constellation of high-tech devices connected to the Internet, allowing these devices to communicate with each other in real time.
Restaurants and food producers are unleashing the power of the IoT to enable near-constant monitoring of the entire supply chain, from smart farming technology to the table. For example, sensors installed on farmland can provide continuous monitoring of growing conditions, such as assessing soil condition or alerting growers to early signs of insect infestations.
On the grower side, this means that with a strong internet network and well-placed agritech sensors, farmers will have more power than ever to create and maintain ideal growing conditions. This helps prevent crop failures and ensures growers can more accurately gauge the timing and size of their harvest – an essential attribute of effective supply chain management.
However, it is not only in the area of food production that agritech supports supply chains. IoT-connected restaurants can also benefit from optimizing inventory management processes. For example, sensors can be installed on kitchen equipment, in warehouses and even next to the table to provide real-time monitoring of stock levels.
Many systems also allow for automated ordering when supplies or ingredients start to run out. This helps ensure restaurants never run out of essentials while reducing the risk of overstock and waste. Restaurants are using the IoT in increasingly innovative ways that improve the customer experience, from enabling wireless communication in outdoor patios to pop-up restaurants.
Additionally, agritech can monitor equipment, trucks and storage facilities. The sensors can detect everything from the functionality of transport vehicles and kitchen appliances to temperature checks. This helps prevent malfunctions that could lead to shipping delays or food spoilage, both of which could significantly disrupt the supply chain.
Agritech also promises to revolutionize the restaurant supply chain by providing unprecedented possibilities for menu customization. Omnichannel ordering, for example, puts your customers first by giving them a highly personalized digital experience at all phases of the customer journey.
For example, customers can use online mobile apps to browse restaurant menus or place customer orders where customers determine not only what products but also what ingredients they want for their order. This information is then transmitted to the restaurant to be prepared for a meal, pick-up or delivery on the spot.
Not only does this flexibility and customization provide an exceptional restaurant experience, it also makes supply chain management much easier. Data from each order can be used to track current inventory and support inventory management.
As the use of agritech allows restaurateurs to more effectively monitor inventory and track product shipments, restaurant owners will have a greater ability to deliver farm-to-table fresh ingredients and menus. herbal ingredients that Canadian diners crave.
Agritech enables restaurateurs to more accurately predict the type, quantity and availability of locally grown produce, improving a restaurateur’s ability to cultivate their brand as a supplier of the freshest, highest quality produce. , always in season and in stock. Since agritech supports local food sourcing, diners will likely have more opportunities to pre-order custom farm-fresh items.
The take-out sale
Over the past few years, restaurateurs and farmers have faced a host of formidable challenges. The emergence of agricultural technology, however, is helping restaurateurs and food producers get a head start in this all-important post-pandemic recovery period. These technologies also support operations in the face of a severe and long-lasting supply chain crisis.
Using the power of the IoT, agritech is revolutionizing the restaurant supply chain. On-site sensors, for example, can provide continuous monitoring of growing conditions, equipment functionality, inventory levels and consumer demand. Additionally, agritech in the restaurant supply chain maximizes the ability of restaurateurs to personalize the customer journey and cultivate their brand as a provider of the freshest local produce.
The result is not only greater operational and financial efficiency, but an unprecedented level of customer service.
Adrian Johansen lives in the Pacific Northwest. His writings focus on the intersection of business, technology and sustainability issues.