Is Automation a Viable Solution for Food Industry? 5 Factors restaurants Can Explore

Is Automation a Viable Solution for Food Industry? 5 Factors restaurants Can Explore

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IS AUTOMATION A VIABLE SOLUTION FOR FOOD INDUSTRY?

The Indian foodservice industry has been making significant strides of growth over the past decade and integrating new technology by the day to cater to food enthusiasts with quick, delicious, and juicy bites. The market price of our restaurants was recorded to be around 4 trillion INR as per last year’s report and is predicted to ascertain a high within the upcoming years.

The growth of the sector, however, has not been without its hurdles. Until 2015-16, food outlets were localized; they were very geography oriented and didn’t expand much, primarily thanks to demand constraints. But around the same time, renowned aggregator platforms joined the ecosystem, which addressed the 3 major aspects of the order cycle, i.e., discovery, demand, and delivery.

During these chaotic times, amongst the widespread of COVID, food ordering saw a surge in demand, which witnessed food being ordered to houses and offices rather than the other way around. The scenario also translated into an enormous concern around the supply of excellent food brands within the market, and thus every food outlet rushed in to fill the gap. Single outlet owners started expanding to 2-3 locations, while mid-sized retail owners with 5-6 chains were now looking at national expansion.

Homegrown brands were some of the dynamic F&B businesses that benefited from the early mover advantage of this new demand and expanded by multiple times in a matter of 2-3 years. The demand was such delivery-only kitchens (cloud/ghost kitchens) flourished in metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore.

Coming to Covid times, there is a major shift from Dine into Ordering at home. This is when the demand for delivery has begun to rise. The massive number of orders and reduced discounts became the new normal and therefore the value-conscious Indian customer has evolved into a convenience-focused consumer.

The said shift led to 3 substantial problems –

  1. Huge demand, which brands had to satisfy across multiple geographies and hence scale fast 
  2. Focus on the consistency of food, move from a dine-in 5-star experience to a eat out 5-star experience 
  3. Evolve cloud kitchen concepts and business models

The new-age food entrepreneurs who got a whiff of the matter started watching technologies to unravel these; the hallway had become an analytical problem-solving session, and like all other industries, looking towards technology to unravel the issues.

  • Solving for consistency- Kitchen level automation for cooking 
  • Solving for scale- Automation in order receiving, menu engineering, 
  • Solving for better operations- kiosk ordering, supply chain management, digital menu

Centralized Dashboard to manage the online presence

The rise of cloud kitchens is of utmost importance to delivery aggregators. While it’s crucial to possess your presence on all of it and leave no stone unturned to urge a customer, juggling between this dashboard adds to unwanted chaos for your staff.

Online dashboard showing the overall performance of your business.

Online dashboard showing the overall performance of your business.

The centralized dashboard not only gives simple business but a stronghold with a comprehensive view of your online business. Automation within the industry helps the world to remain competitive no matter the crisis. One such company working towards the same is UrbanPiper.

Food-Ordering Kiosks

Large-scale brands opted for technology like ordering kiosks at an early stage. However, Covid-19 compelled even medium and little size businesses to be hospitable to such technologies. These kiosks allow customers to walk up, tap their orders in, and complete payment with no assistance from human employees.

Such implementation reduces the order placing time and allocation of resources for the business. Also, it is a lot quicker and more convenient to put an order and make payment for the customer.

Automation in the cooking process

Consistency in taste has always been the foremost crucial aspect of the food industry, especially nowadays where there’s just a delivery-only model in place and makes during this business do not have the choice of impressing their consumers with their extraordinary service or ambiance.

Cooking automation allows cutting the output time by a substantial amount while making sure the SOP and signature recipes are followed as a directive. These automatic cooking machines make sure the food texture and quality are consistent and help in operational efficiency since the pilferage and Wastage are minimal. 

We at Mukunda Foods are providing automation solutions for QSR and cloud brands. Our products E-pan and Wokie are used by many known brands to automate their cooking.

Mukunda Foods products E-pan and Wokie for automate cooking.

Mukunda Foods products E-pan and Wokie for automated cooking.

Fresh Food Vending Machines 

Fresh Food Vending Machines are projected to be subsequent enormous adoption within the food industry but we’ve only seen snacks, tea, coffee, etc, gain traction for vending machines as it is tough to bring out this technology on the streets as of today.

However, the development and research in this field have offered a chance to do so and bring about an extensive portfolio of dishes to these machines. With every daily transaction turning to digital forms, the environment is pretty cohesive for something like fresh food vending machines; as now everyone uses UPI payment applications like Paytm and Google pay, so one can scan a QR code, pay the quantity and collect the food.

Food vending machines idea

Food vending machines

Inventory Management Solutions

The food industry faces tons of challenges as they need a huge customer base. Predicting exact inventory requirements is one of the main challenges and estimating an equivalent is practically very difficult till you’ve got proper data and analytics in place. This often results in wastage of food, which costs brands about 2% of their total revenue. Thus, inventory management software can help businesses by providing precise information on this aspect to help increase operational efficiencies and return on investment.

Collaborative technology and robotic machines have already made their thanks to the Indian foodservice sector and are anticipated to interact intensely with the workforce within the industry to extend efficiency and help estimate the inventory requirements.

Food service and hospitality businesses have started evaluating the processes that can be automated, and the ecosystem has become comparatively favourable. Still, one major challenge is that automation has infamously gained an impact of being an upscale affair.

However, the reality is way far away from this as kitchen automation is supposed to assist smoothen the operations while reducing the value, ensuring consistency of the food is maintained & an ROI within a short period.