As a track record, the food industry is second only behind warfare as a driving factor in new technologies. Over the last 150 years there have been immense strides in culinary technology, the introduction of the gas stove, freezing and refrigeration, canning and packaging for preservation, these are all technologies that revolutionized the food industry and are just as relevant today. Let’s have a look at 3 new technologies worth investing in that are changing the food game in restaurant kitchens with the potential to be just as relevant in the next 50 years.
This is tech that has been used in kitchens for years and as of late will be disrupting the traditional systems we have in place for cooking. Just as wood cutting and coal deliveries became a thing of the past when gas took the reigns in the kitchen, we will see a new shift in commercial needs with this sleeper tech. A kitchen fitted completely with infrared and induction ranges has control and response higher than that of gas, paralleled with a significant reduction in cleaning and maintenance costs, reduced overhead expense with gas savings, reduced cost on fire suppression and the specialized maintenance fees that come along with it, most of all a lower impact on the environment. Gas range energy can be spent up to 50% on heating the air around the pot, induction only heats the pot, the energy savings alone are tremendous. The high purchase and installation cost can be a deterrent but as with most new technologies, early adopters pay a higher premium on staying ahead of the curve but the overall price is steadily dropping for this game changer.
With communication at an all time high between people and companies we are privileged to massive amounts of consumer data, complete with daily routines, dinner preferences and male female dinning choices to help us understand our sales mix. Zenreach, one such platform uses IP addresses to track the comings and going of your guests. Coupled with push notifications, and strong social presence, the customer service game has shifted from the maitre d to the digital host. Your guests can connect with your food business the same way they connect to any of their favorite online communities all while you collect the important information to make the dining experience just what they wanted.
On Demand Farm to Fork
Being farm to table has landed with a singular message, guests want more of it. The better connected we are to our producers the more we have in common with today’s diners, the jury is out, the data is in, people want farm fresh food. Cole Jones, the CEO and founder of Local Line had the foresight to step in and create the space for restaurateurs and farmers to connect and exchange resources with a high degree of accuracy. With painstaking detail Local Line has build a platform to have on demand consumption brought to the restaurant. Need 10 cases of baked potatoes next week? Send a message right to the farmer and he can source, grow and harvest as you need it. In a world where resource management will define the generation gap we are currently experiencing it will be critical to harness these tools to ensure farmers and the food industry thrive in a way that benefits us all.
The argument can be made that the food industry is more in the spotlight today than it ever has been. This spotlight is creating greater transparency with consumers, which ultimately creates new demands for us in the restaurant industry. No doubt change is hard, but for us chefs it’s adapt and succeed or don’t and fail. To adapt successfully, you need to leverage what’s available. Drive costs down, create happy customers, and stay on top of trends.
Terry Salmond is an accomplished Canadian executive chef, having worked his way up to starting with Marcho, and later working for Susur Lee at Susur Restaurant, Matthew Stowe at Sonora Resort and Jonathan Gushe at Langdon Hall. After almost winning Top Chef Canada in 2014, he returned to his home outside Toronto, ON and is currently the executive chef at Charcoal Steakhouse.