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Ways to Help Automate Processes and Procedures in Restaurants

Ways to Help Automate Processes and Procedures in Restaurants

With the shift toward sustainability and automation, more restaurants are streamlining their processes and procedures. Experts predict a 69% increase in artificial intelligence and robotics in fast food restaurants by 2027. Many restaurant operators are shifting to digital tools and automated processes to reduce labor costs, minimize food waste, optimize kitchen workflows and enhance eco-friendly practices.

In this article, we’ll discuss how automation can streamline food waste management and workflows for your restaurant.

Understanding Automation in Restaurants

In restaurants, automation refers to implementing technology and automated systems to minimize food waste, optimize kitchen workflows and ensure sustainability. You might achieve these goals by using tools like smart inventory management systems, portion control systems or automated waste tracking solutions.

Examples of kitchen workflow automation can include digital display systems during order routing and preparation, temperature monitoring sensors, robotic assistants and automated prep stations.

Restaurant Grease Recycling

Food Waste Management in Restaurants Through Automation

Studies show 22 to 33 billion pounds of food go to waste every year in the U.S. Food waste is just as troublesome for your profit margins as it is for the environment, making proper food management in restaurants vital. Several automation techniques can help you reduce food waste, save money and promote a more sustainable business model.

1. Inventory Management Software

Many restaurants manually track when food is reaching its expiration date, which can lead to many wasted resources. Inventory management software can help you centralize your stocking and inventory ordering, allowing you to sync and monitor stock levels in real time to track food waste. That means you won’t run out of items at the last minute or throw away excess stock. Automating this process means managing perishable items more effectively, reducing the chances of food spoilage and waste.

2. AI-Powered Predictive Analytics

You can also use AI-driven predictive analytics to forecast your future inventory needs. These AI algorithms learn from historical data relating to customer purchases. They learn over time and become better at predicting, which can help you identify and purchase cost-effective food that’s fresh enough not to spoil before you serve it.

AI-powered analytics tools can help you forecast demand more accurately, optimize purchase decisions, reduce excess inventory levels and ultimately cut down on food waste.

3. Video and Voice Recognition Technology

Video and voice recognition technology help you monitor your kitchen. AI systems with video capabilities can detect equipment malfunctions and food spoilage, allowing you to better track incoming shipments and expiration dates on food products. While these technologies can reduce food waste, they can also identify pending safety issues you might need to address.

4. Professional Oil Recycling

Professional Oil Recycling

As a restaurant owner, you have many ways to store and collect oil, from traditional drums to barrel services or under-counter and automatic pumping systems. Since the amount of vegetable oil produced exceeded 210 million metric tons from 2022 to 2023, appropriately managing and recycling these byproducts can promote an environmentally sustainable economy.

Repurposing used cooking oil into products like biodiesel requires several steps. A commercial oil recycler like Baker Commodities can simplify the process through automation. We offer specialized equipment for oil management, automating these tasks while promoting sustainability.

Fresh Oil Systems

Kitchen Workflow Automation

The following automated tools can optimize your kitchen workflow processes.

1. Self-Ordering Kiosks

Self-ordering kiosks are empowering greater efficiency in restaurants. These kiosks allow customers to place their orders themselves, reducing wait times and inaccuracies. Further, they allow customers more flexibility to customize their meals, enhancing the dining experience. Streamlining the ordering process lets your kitchen staff focus on food preparation.

2. Kitchen Display Systems

Kitchen display systems are revolutionizing order management in restaurants. These displays ensure smooth and efficient communication between the front and back of the house, reducing errors and improving order accuracy and efficiency. They also eliminate paper tickets, reducing the chances of mixing up orders and accelerating the preparation process.

3. Smart Appliances

Smart appliances are spearheading kitchen automation. These advanced devices use intelligent features for precise cooking and preparation, reducing the manual burden on employees. For example, smart ovens can cook dishes to exact specifications, and automated food processors can chop and mix ingredients more accurately.

While these smart appliances can ensure consistent food quality, they also enhance kitchen efficiency — allowing chefs to focus on more creative and innovative culinary pursuits.

4. Robotic Food Preparation

Robotic assistants are growing in popularity in the restaurant industry. These robots can perform mundane tasks quickly and precisely, integrating seamlessly with your kitchen workflow. You can reassign your human staff to more diverse tasks, helping you save time, ensure consistency and create a more streamlined culinary operation. Robotic assistants could take over preparation tasks like chopping salad ingredients or frying potatoes. While these tasks might seem small, they can be time-consuming.

Exploring the Impact of Automation

The influence of technology in restaurant operations will only become more prominent in the coming years. Automated tasks like payments and ordering have taken over the industry, while robotic assistants and smart tools are automating back-of-house operations for better efficiency.

Restaurant automation trends include:

  • In 2022, 78% of multi-location operators adopted new technology like contactless payments to streamline their operations and run their business with less staff.
  • 46% of merchants adopted tech to automate tasks in 2022.
  • 91% of restaurant owners say inventory and item availability automation would help fill critical business gaps, and 90% of restaurateurs agree that automating back-of-house work would allow employees to focus on more critical tasks.

When adopting this trend, you’ll want to balance technological integration with personal touch. After all, human interaction contributes to the overall customer experience in restaurants. You can allow your staff to focus on more customer-centric tasks by implementing back-of-house automation solutions.

For example, eliminating some of the dirtiest kitchen jobs by outsourcing work like grease removal can allow you to reallocate talent to provide a better customer experience. It can also boost employee morale and, in turn, increase employee retention to maximize efficiency in your restaurant.

Trust Baker Commodities to Help Your Restaurant Meet Automation Goals

Trust Baker Commodities to Help Your Restaurant Meet Automation Goals

By implementing digital tools and automating back-of-house operations, you can reduce food waste, streamline workflow and eventually gain higher profit margins. You’ll want to stay ahead of the latest innovations in restaurant operations to drive success and promote better efficiency and sustainability for your business.

Partnering with Baker Commodities means working with a carbon-negative company that removes greenhouse gases from the environment. We offer rendering services, restaurant grease collection and management, jetting and fat and bone collection — achieving these tasks with the help of expert staff and environmentally friendly processes.

Contact us today to learn more about our services.