Disruptive Technologies: Why restaurants need to embrace change

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SiteSage Enterprise ViewThis afternoon at MUFSO, I listened to a compelling discussion about emerging technologies and the disruptions they pose to our current business models and strategies. David Starmer, vice president of Global IT Store Systems at Dunkin’ Brands, Gary Price, president of Corner Bakery Café and Mark Freeman, senior manager of Global Dining Services shared insights into the technologies we should pay close attention to and those that are not worth the investment.

A major topic that was only briefly discussed was the growing conversation around the value of automating operations for energy management.

Historically, energy has been considered an “uncontrollable” cost by most food service businesses. The amount of data flowing in has always been concentrated in a report at the end of the week or month with an overarching retroactive perspective. Other than these reports, energy is essentially an invisible commodity, with the only observable amenity being lighting – a relatively low-cost resource.

Today, technology exists that brings these “invisible commodities” to light. New technology helps unveil hidden costs and allows for facility managers to monitor energy consumption and more effectively control for unnecessary sunk costs. However, incorporating these developments into the core of a business strategy often poses a major disruption to the flow of operations.

Interestingly, there is often an initial aversive reaction from the general public to disruptive technology, with only a small niche market of well-receiving consumers. Often, people are reluctant to adopt new technology that, more often than not, changes previously established habits.

In the food service industry, energy management systems are an example of this disruption being a factor in strategic positioning. While these systems pose initial disruptions to tradition and involve somewhat of a learning curve, this implementation unveils energy activity in real-time, providing facilities managers with the power to centrally monitor and control HVAC and other equipment in order to better allocate their resources and manage assets for more efficient and cost-effective operations.

For restaurants, becoming an early adopter of technology like our SiteSage energy management system positions the company, along with its managers and staff, to continue delivering the highest quality of service to their customers. For example, with SiteSage, restaurants have the ability to ensure systems are operating efficiently, identify early warning signs, and remotely troubleshoot potential issues in order to continue delivering consistent and valuable service.

Emerging tools provide managers with a level of automation that allows for the reallocation of effort and focus, ultimately increasing the value of their time. Joining the cycle of disruptive technology and taking advantage of emerging systems will enable you to capitalize on the already existing strengths and talents of your organization like never before.