As restaurants and retailers begin reopening across the country, we have been reflecting on how our “new normal” in a pandemic-wary world will change the ways in which our food service and retail customers act. For our typical users, who are focused on facilities maintenance, energy consumption, or food safety and product quality, three themes are surfacing:
- Less tolerance for risk
- More focus on cost reduction
- An acceleration of automation in the back of house
We have blogged about and sponsored a webinar to discuss the actions required for sanitization. The essential driving force here is less tolerance for risk in the face of a highly-contagious virus, with a focus on tools and processes to ensure proper sanitization, airflow inside a facility, and social distancing – e.g. tools such as digital task lists or remote enterprise control over HVAC, or enterprise tracking of refrigeration temperatures.
But what about the secondary effects of the new normal?
Unfortunately, many industry analysts are predicting a slower recovery for food service and retail than we would all like. Many organizations will most likely continue to curtail store hours. New social distancing policies will reduce the allowable capacity of dine-in or retail facilities. Our customers may therefore have to continue with reduced staffing levels to survive as the economy recovers.
Clearly, this means an even greater focus for our customers on the ways in which they can control costs – both variable costs such as staffing but fixed costs, too, such as energy spend. We believe technology can play an even greater role in assisting these businesses through the new normal.
How will fewer staff members do more tasks without putting undue strains on their business? Applying technology to automate tasks like HACCP data collection can help keep staff focused on the most important ways in which they can contribute to their customers’ experiences. And automation over the control of HVAC, lighting, signage, etc., can help reduce overhead costs through a reduction in energy consumption.
If you would like to discuss any of these ideas with our team in more detail, please reach out. We’d love to help you adapt to this new normal.