In this special edition of its 5 Things series, Food Management highlights five recent technology-related developments affecting the foodservice world.
Here’s your list for today:
1. AI boosts foodservice efficiencies but puts pressure on other areas
New technology, from better point-of-sales systems to artificial intelligence, can make restaurant operators’ lives easier, but it also makes the basics of great food and service and operational excellence all the more important, according to restaurateurs who discussed the state of the industry at the recent CREATE Road Show meet up in Denver.
2. Net-zero “smart” retail store built with off-the-shelf tech to show what’s possible
On June 29, Danish component manufacturer Danfoss announced the opening of a new public retail “smart store” near its headquarters in Nordborg, Denmark, designed for net-zero operation and built using off-the-shelf technology to demonstrate that the technology for sustainable food retail is already available. “We wanted to show what’s possible today with today’s technology in a way that would relate to building owners and end users and be an inspiration for the industry,” said Dean Groff, Food Retail Service Contracts Manager at Danfoss, in a refrigeration case study presented at the ATMOsphere America Summit 2023, held June 12–13 in Washington, D.C. “It’s not a science project,” Groff added. “Everything that goes into this store you can get in North America.”
3. AI replacing part-timers at major QSRs
According to Bloomberg’s report, several American fast-food chains are increasingly adopting AI-driven systems for their drive-through operations. These chains include Wendy’s, which partnered with Google to develop an AI chatbot, as well as McDonald’s, White Castle, Del Taco, and Carl’s Jr. These restaurants have initiated the deployment of AI-powered chatbots to handle order-taking duties.
4. Restaurant concept developed by AI to open in Australia
Are humans still needed for restaurant development? Sydney hospitality group Applejack found out through a national competition that has produced Australia’s first AI-generated pop-up restaurant, Luminary. “We wanted entrants to experiment with artificial intelligence, to see whether it could create a restaurant concept so good it could stand on its own, or whether it would need a human touch,” explains Joanna Steuart, director of marketing and partnerships at Applejack.
5. App calculates food’s calorie content and advises on portion size
SnapCalorie is a new app that promises to accurately calculate the calorific content of your food just by snapping a photo on your smartphone. It not only uses AI (naturally) and other algorithms to figure out calories, but also uses the phone’s depth sensor to advise on the correct portion size.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]