Is Food Industry Going Through Kitchen Technology Transformation Post-COVID?

COVID-19 is proving to be the most deadly pandemic in the first half of the 21st century blowing the world by storm. With nearly 44 million cases and 1.16 million lives consumed by the pandemic (at the time of writing this article), we are nowhere close to the finish line. The COVID-19 or Novel Coronavirus brought trade and commerce to a screeching halt with almost every business sector including Agriculture, Manufacturing, Travel & Tourism, Hospitality, F &B, Entertainment, etc hit hard justify, right and centre the world over.

COVID-19—read as threats leading to opportunities one after another—has disrupted the way business is conducted. Digital transformation has cut across the formal lines of organization, hierarchy and structure, redefining flexibility and expandability in every single process. A case in point is the WFH culture that made absolute sense in the wake of the pandemic as it prevented the rapid spread of infection at the workplace.

When most businesses went berserk over the period that marked lockdowns one after another due to mass closure of physical establishments, other sectors including ecommerce and online education went gaga over the multitudes of opportunities, and galloped at full speed. F & B industry that faced significantly reduced consumption, with regular life almost coming to a standstill, and hotels and restaurants shut until further orders for reopen were issued, gradually saw light at the end of the tunnel, with relaxation of lockdown all over the world.

Matters become worse when governments all over prohibited hotels & restaurants opening their doors to dine-in guests, as part of social distancing measure, though takeaway orders kept the ball rolling, of course in line with the safety protocols in place. Unemployment was all pervasive affecting livelihoods of millions directly or indirectly.

Emergence of hyper local delivery services

The hyper local delivery services, mostly app-based, ensured that local restaurants and snack bars were kept busy once the lockdowns had been relaxed, enabling quick deliveries within distinctly drawn out geographies.  Logistics aggregators streamlined this direct link between F & B services and customers, offering a grand win-win situation for both parties involved.

In terms of what cutting-edge technologies such as AI/ML can do, customers are now totally ensured of live updates; even non-delivery reasons form a chunk of updates delivered to the customers, which will keep them either happy or dissatisfied, offering a high level of transparency and enhanced customer satisfaction overall.

Commercial Kitchen technology

The rise of central or cloud kitchen concept revolutionized the way F & B industry conducts business impacting economies of scale, costs on overhead & real estate and expansion opportunities.  If you’re a startup looking to start your first food restaurant, cloud kitchen concept offers you low-entry barriers and helps reach a large customer pool. On the other hand, if you’re a brand with already an established customer base and wider range of menu choices, it can help you expand onto newer geographies.

Most central kitchens today rely on commercial kitchen equipment for different kitchen processes including Meat Preparation, Baking, Quick Service, Cooking, Food Processing, Pre-Preparation and Dish and Warewashing. It is used in a wide range of applications in hotels and restaurants, bakery, industrial canteens, catering companies, QSR chains, hospital kitchens, institutions and RTE and RTC.

Commercial kitchen equipment driving kitchen space

Commercial kitchen equipment helps streamline process efficiency, reduce overheads, improves speed of delivery, eliminate investment costs upfront, enhances coordination and agility and increases customer satisfaction. Automation of kitchen equipment has brought out a high level of digital intelligence data between the user and machine, without any human intervention, thereby reducing human errors at every level.

This can also eliminate risks, improve process safety, increase food hygiene and reduces the need for constant monitoring and supervision, thereby saving valuable time and money.  Thus, we’ve seen the key developments that have been shaping the future of F& B industry, identifying the direction that the industry is likely to take in the future. In addition to the changes brewing inside the industry, there are potential disruptors that lie outside of the industry that could positively impact the space.

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