The foodservice industry is a resilient one, using innovation to handle whatever is thrown its way. The pandemic led to customer-facing technology such as contactless payment and pickup to keep operations going. Subsequently, the global supply chain was disrupted, so the industry had to source locally and streamline its offerings.
The world managed to throw out a whole new set of problems last year, leaving many businesses having to adapt once again. The war in Ukraine has had ripple effects on energy costs and inflation. Meanwhile, the foodservice industry continues to be dogged by labor shortages. These world economic forces may seem insurmountable, but they can be countered with a pragmatic approach. Lean into the shortage of labor and an uncertain economy by focusing on what you can control — the bottom line. Foodservice equipment is the bedrock of your operation, here is how to use it to boost profitability.
Energy costs have been on an upward trajectory for over a year. Coupled with a record-breaking heat wave this summer, the entire world is feeling the energy crunch. Even though energy experts expect prices to stabilize in the short term, prices could soar again in 2024. The reasons to seek energy-efficient foodservice equipment are compelling. Older equipment puts a drain on the power grid and your bank account. An easy first step would be to perform a quick energy audit of your operation for energy reduction opportunities. For example, are your heat lamps using LED lights? Do your commercial toasters and zoned merchandisers only turn on when product is present? Are your induction burners designed to use 85-95% of the energy they create?
Waste reduction and quality control
It’s estimated that around one-third of food is wasted every year on a global basis. There is a moral imperative to prevent the damage food waste causes the environment. It’s also potential lost revenue for foodservice operators. Every ounce of food lost is an ounce of food not sold. The two greatest causes of food waste are human error and food spoilage. Both of these causes can be mitigated by the development of smarter foodservice equipment. Automation can improve quality control and reduce the need for human oversight. When processes are automated, errors and defects can be identified, isolated and resolved more quickly. When your equipment can be programmed to properly store food, you reduce waste and save money.
Automation can be a scary word for team members. But, it doesn’t automatically mean layoffs, as the foodservice industry will never completely lose the human touch. It is important not to let employees feel like they’re going to be replaced. If it’s a manual process that’s going digital, getting your team on board is important because ultimately, new technology can make their day-to-day lives easier. Automation can eliminate the monotonous tasks they don’t like doing and allow them to focus on creative and fulfilling work. Skills can be developed as foodservice equipment will always require people to manage operations, analyze data and perform maintenance. This can only be achieved if the team is on board. By taking a holistic approach to connecting your people, processes and systems, you can improve efficiency and profitability across the board.
The bottom line.
End consumers have been asked to bear rising costs for the past few years. Whether we’re talking about the rising cost of energy or relentless inflation, price hikes cannot be the sole solution. The consumer threshold is maxed out for price increases, so it is prudent to look inward to increase profits. Analyzing your foodservice equipment can be a daunting thought, even if you’re tackling it incrementally. It’s vital to think of the long-term impacts of your technological choices rather than getting swept up in what’s popular right now. Work with the right equipment provider to make sure your solutions are implemented, operated and managed correctly to increase profitability.