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Operators turn to labor-saving back-of-house equipment

Perpetually rising labor costs are a concern to operators across segments—90% of operators say that the reason they’ve had to raise menu prices over the past two years is rising labor costs, according to Technomic’s 2017 Value & Pricing report.

To combat rising labor costs without interrupting or lowering the quality of food or service, many operators are turning to technology. Frictionless service (which refers to services such as ordering, paying for and receiving a meal that minimizes human interaction) is one of these strategies and can be used in both front-of-the house and back-of-the-house operations.

There are many new technologies that utilize frictionless service in the front-of-the-house.  This includes online ordering, tabletop payments, and self-serve products.  Beyond that, though, operators need other options for the back-of-the-house that don’t involve bringing in expensive technologies, setting up mobile apps or making space for food lockers.  The solution is to find equipment that can streamline processes without sacrificing menu variety, quality or hurting customer satisfaction.

Quicker food prep and delivery

One way to increase the level of service at restaurants—particularly fast-casual or quick-service restaurants—is to streamline the food prep processes where possible.  Innovative equipment can help operators ensure that fryers are properly maintained so that frying processes aren’t slowed down, and it can also take the form of using a drink blender that allows for quick customization and easy cleanup.

For instance, when making frozen blended drinks like milkshakes or smoothies, instead of using separate blender pitchers that require multiple ingredients, complicated recipes and cleaning between each use, there are frictionless solutions that allows blending in a single-serve cup.  Solutions like the f’real B7 foodservice blender have all the ingredients already in the cup so workers can quickly and easily blend up a shake and then serve it—or transfer it to a glass or restaurant-branded cup—then top with caramel, chocolate, sprinkles or an array of other toppings. This system allows for fast turnaround, since there’s no cleanup required in between making drinks. It also helps to boost throughput, especially during peak times.

By ensuring everything in the kitchen is moving quickly, customers get their food faster and experience higher levels of satisfaction—in fact, at limited-service restaurants, speed of service is the No. 1 service cited for creating value, according to Technomic’s 2017 Value & Pricing report.

When customers get their food quickly, they perceive it as a good value, which can translate into additional future visits. Forty-six percent of consumers say they can allow themselves to eat out more often if they get a good value.

Newer technologies to consider

While ordering via kiosks or tablets isn’t entirely new to the restaurant scene, newer technologies are proliferating seemingly every day that help operators save money on labor both in the front- and back-of-the-house. From salad vending machines to single-serve blended drink machines, there are many great solutions that minimize the labor spent on preparation and cleaning but still allow operators to give customers the foods they’re looking for without having to blow the labor budget.

This post is sponsored by f’real foods

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