The future of food service equipment

NATIONAL REPORT – The latest advances in convenience food service are working together like never before, but industry insiders say future trends in food service equipment and technology are imminent.

“Technology insights from restaurants not only help streamline back-of-house operations for the channel, but also fuel customer interactions,” said Joe Bona, CEO of Bona Design Lab, a global retail design and consulting firm based in New York tells News from the convenience store. “From digital kitchen ordering systems and quick-cook technology to online ordering, self-checkouts and contactless payment – all of these elements come together to create a seamless experience.”

Here’s what Bona and other industry experts see on deck:

Contactless payment systems

From cell phones to other smart devices, contactless payment systems reduce consumers’ cash needs and offer a safer and more hygienic payment method. This technology isn’t limited to paying – it has touched food service as well. “You can now buy a cup of coffee with a swipe of your phone using automatic bean-to-cup self-service machines,” Bona quoted as saying. “Perhaps at some point this technology will find its way into more self-service catering equipment.”

Self checkout

This technology has seen an enormous increase in acceptance in the convenience channel and will continue to be an important factor in accelerating the payment process not only for take-away items, but also for prepared meals, predicts Bona.

Drive-through only

According to Bona, drive-thru usage has increased significantly as a direct result of the pandemic, with many quick service restaurants looking to streamline their menus, employ artificial intelligence, and increase the use of digital menus to speed up the process and make it more convenient for customers. “As a result, we’ve seen some chains like Wawa start testing a drive-thru-only concept while many others watch and see this develop,” he said CSNews.

Integrate POS with delivery

As more consumers order through delivery platforms, more and more C-stores are signing up for grocery delivery channels like Uber Eats, DoorDash, Grubhub, etc. In addition to these mainstream grocery delivery channels, other providers operate convenience-specific marketplaces such as Instacart and Cornershop.

“Building a digital offering will be the next big challenge for C-stores. It takes time to set up accounts for the grocery delivery channels – creating the menu, training the staff – but most importantly, it takes a lot of work to manage this on a daily basis for a C-store that usually has weekly or daily food service. Actions, “explains Zhong Xu, co-founder and CEO of Deliverect, a company that connects point-of-sale providers worldwide with food ordering platforms.

“If a C-store wants to streamline the process, it should integrate POS into the delivery,” advised Xu. “With a POS integration, we are able to automatically push online orders to the POS. The only equipment required is the existing POS.”

Xu added that many C-stores are also likely to want a tablet (Android or iPad) in each store to manage delivery channels. As soon as a C-Store receives an order from a delivery channel, the employees have to pick and pack the items – facilitated by a tablet that can display the full list of the items ordered and the corresponding images.

Bipolar Ionization (BPI) technology

Poor indoor air quality can not only affect food quality, it can also lead to illness among shoppers and employees. The BPI technology installed in HVAC systems in stores is designed to eliminate odors and odors; helps get rid of mold, dust, bacteria and the spread of viruses in the air; and reduces airborne particles and germs that bypass normal ventilation and filter systems.

In a post-pandemic world, “BPI technology naturally matches HVAC systems in convenience stores,” said Tony Abate, vice president and chief technology officer for Atmos Air Solutions, based in Fairfield, Connecticut. “Not only will the mountain-like purified air keep food and drinks fresher, but if shopkeepers / managers promote it through signage, advertising, and social media, it will reduce the concerns of those who shop and work in-store.”

Robot cooks

Bona envisions that ordering systems will be connected to a fully digitized kitchen where the order is taken and the menu item is prepared with the help of robots and then made available for collection in “a personal box that is activated via a telephone to keep your order secure.” to be kept “. He acknowledges this is still in the early stages of development, but believes that this is not that far-fetched in a retail world where “the cost of launch can be high but the cost of falling back is even higher” is.

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