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Technology

Technology options boost the coffee bar

High-tech brewing systems can save on labor costs, manage traffic flow and deliver a consistently craveable cup of joe

How is technology changing the coffee game for restaurant operators? Well, you might ask Robin, the robot barista pulling espressos at Café X in San Francisco. Yes, robotic baristas are a reality, but they’re more of a novelty—for now.

However, high-tech features continue to percolate through all aspects of restaurant coffee service. It’s impacting guest interactions, inventory and purchasing, labor scheduling and costs, merchandising and promotions and of course, coffee brewing—producing a perfect cup of joe quickly and efficiently, cup after cup.

Streamlining labor and space

When it comes to coffee, consistency and quality are keys to customer satisfaction: 64% of coffee café consumers say that high-quality beverages are important, according to Technomic’s recent Bakery & Coffee Caféreport. Maintaining a high standard presents challenges.

“Especially with high staff turnover, daily and even hourly tasks need to be easy and intuitive,” says Doug Bishop, a director of product management at Bunn-O-Matic Corporation. Instead of switches and buttons, the newest equipment utilizes touchscreens. To guide serving staff each step of the process is prompted by on-screen pictures or even videos, which can help with training, operation and cleaning. “Pictures are easier to follow, and there is no question what part of the equipment is being addressed,” notes Bishop.

Space can be tight in restaurants. BUNN brewers offer multiple brewing “recipes” in one footprint, with six recipe buttons and three batch sizes to choose from. Those recipes provide instructions to the brewer that details individual coffee and flavor profiles using adjustable water volume, bypass percentage, pulse brew and pre-infusion timing routines. Custom-tailored recipes can simply be emailed to restaurant clients, who then download them to a flash drive and upload them via a USB port on the Infusion Series® platform of brewers. A choice of batch sizes means the operator can quickly respond to peak and idle serving times and reduce the amount of wasted product, which directly impacts profitability. “There’s lots of flexibility for the end user, says Bishop. 

Dollars to doughnuts

When it comes to guest-facing operation, where brewers are out in dining areas, those same touchscreens can be harnessed for advertising or promotional purposes. Restaurant operators can download or create images to use as screensavers when the brew is idle. “They can use it as a merchandiser,” says Doug Bishop director of product management at BUNN. “Offer a free doughnut with every second cup of coffee, that sort of thing.” For increasing incremental sales, this can be a big help.

Keeping tabs

Monitoring equipment is another task that’s been automated. The optional BUNNlink ® system is designed to help BUNN gathers information on its Sure Tamp™ espresso equipment so any problems are caught as soon as they arise. Data on the number of brew cycles, frequency of cleaning is tracked by BUNN via Wi-Fi or cellular networks, as are any error messages. “We can notify customers before they even know there is a problem,” says Brad Cliburn, director of product management at BUNN.

Technology takes communication one step further: any combination of BUNN’s BrewWISE® equipment can be operated error-free with the wireless brewer-grinder interface and a Smart Funnel. Information is transferred from the grinder to the Smart Funnel, then from the Smart Funnel to the brewer through an RFID chip embedded in the handle of the funnel, which causes it to pull up the right recipe, including details on the spray pulse routine, pre-infusion and batch size. “The operator doesn’t have to think. They just put the funnel in the grinder, select batch size, grind the coffee, pull the funnel out of the grinder and insert in the brewer, and press the brew button. BrewWISE automation does the rest. Complex, proprietary recipes are executed consistently, simply, and quickly in any serving environment.” says Cliburn.

For operators who want to simplify the work they put into their coffee offerings, technology solutions are providing everything necessary for a streamlined approach. From USB-delivered recipes for brewing to actionable data collected right from the brewer, operators taking advantage of these technologies are set up for success and profitability.

Learn more about BUNN Infusion Series Platinum Edition brewers at www.bunn.com/infusion-series/platinum

This post is sponsored by BUNN

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