The greatest benefits of IoT remote monitoring systems
It’s well known that businesses in the foodservice industry are difficult to manage and even more challenging to make profitable. From managing utilities, and staying compliant with health and safety regulations, it may seem there are endless things to keep track of. Introducing a cost-effective, IoT (internet of things) integrated, remote monitoring device, such as Therma°, can help lessen the burden on managers looking to streamline their operations.
We built Therma’s IoT sensors and monitoring system to measure temperature and humidity across cold storage spaces to prevent loss events in the foodservice industry. However, did you know that you can also use Therma° to improve other aspects of your business? Therma’s real-time data collection helps evaluate equipment performance, ensure consistent product quality, protect inventory, and identify staff training gaps. Check out a couple of examples that show how real Therma° customers use our product to fit their individual needs.
1) Evaluating equipment performance
K-K restaurants operate several Taco Bell franchises throughout the American Midwest. As their operation expanded over the years, they’ve accumulated various refrigeration equipment to outfit their stores. However, as this was a gradual process, their equipment varies in quality. Some of their equipment is brand new, while others are decades old.
K-K uses Therma° to monitor cold storage conditions across locations to lessen electricity consumption and mitigate equipment breakdowns. By utilizing Therma’s 24/7 data collection and real-time notifications across all restaurants, management can identify which units perform better than others based on the occurrence and length of temperature excursions. Armed with this information, they can take various steps to prevent equipment breakdowns and protect their critical assets. For instance, management can prompt their team to perform preventative maintenance protocols such as cleaning gaskets and compressors. Operators may additionally schedule routine check-ups from qualified maintenance personnel to improve their equipment. In these routine maintenance checks, personnel can preemptively fix the issues that lead to downtime, such as swapping out faulty components and containing chemical leakage.
The truth is, refrigeration systems do break down from time to time, and but this doesn’t just apply to older refrigeration equipment. New equipment (those less than ten years old) still has a 33% chance of breaking down annually. An effective IoT system can greatly reduce the impact of these equipment failures.
Unfortunately, equipment breakdowns have severe consequences, many of which are expensive propositions. Foodservice businesses, on average, lose 28-35% of their income annually from pre-consumer food waste. However, those statistics don’t factor in the added operating cost of downtime while maintenance fixes your unit. Therma’s cost-effective, IoT remote monitoring device in tandem with predictive maintenance helped KK restaurants reduce the consequences of these issues while optimizing their equipment performance.
2) Maintaining consistency and quality
Foggy Mountain Pasta relies on the benefits of real-time humidity notifications provided by Therma’s IoT monitoring system. Foggy Mountain’s owner, Gabriel, says that he appreciates Therma’s automation-focused functionalities for humidity data logging. He installed Therma°
in his facility zones help him make real-time decisions that improve his product and help him achieve notable cost savings. For owner Gabriel, IoT solutions have been a game-changer, “having the ability to either control or monitor variables just makes a huge difference in what our final product will be like for the people who buy our pasta.”
Foggy Mountain Pasta operates out of a cloud kitchen or shared commissary. One downside of utilizing a cloud kitchen is the unpredictability of other restaurant workers constantly opening doors or doing things that generate excessive humidity, such as boiling water. For Gabriel, having reliable humidity monitoring technology is like a weather report. A Therma° alert tells him exactly what the environmental conditions within the kitchen are at that moment. As a result, he can shift his production to accommodate certain conditions.
Take their flour, for example. Using extremely high-quality flour milled at very low temperatures means the product must maintain these low temperatures in storage to prevent a decrease in quality. “If our freezers fluctuate in temperature, that swing can and has affected our flours. It might cause spoilage or cause it to develop flavors we didn’t expect. You don’t want moisture to accumulate within the container. For us, using humidity sensors allows us to maintain consistency and quality at all times”.
3) Protecting inventory
Dutch Bro’s coffee is the go-to drive-through java hut for commuters in the western United States. However, it’s not just hot coffee that they sell. Dutch Bro’s also sells cold drinks to help get through the heatwaves that ravage the west every summer. While Dutch Bro’s frozen drinks are a welcome reprieve from extreme weather, that same weather presents unique problems for their operations. Thanks to Therma°, Dutch Bros is experiencing the advantages of IoT devices and data collection, utilizing the information to influence their decision-making and save money.
“Once it gets up to about 115° to 120°, our refrigeration and HVAC equipment starts to fail; that’s just thermodynamics,” says Dutch Bro’s facilities manager, Drew. When this happens, Dutch Bro’s staff faces a test of his decision making: slow down production by moving dairy to offsite locations or lose their inventory to spoilage. Drew estimates the price tag of loss events ranges from $800-$1500 each time their equipment fails.
Since investing in automation with Therma’s monitoring system in their locations, Drew has been able to mitigate loss events due to equipment failure, thanks to the benefits of IoT devices and our real-time notifications. In one recent episode in Arizona, Drew received an alert of a sharp temperature spike in one of their walk-in fridges. Upon receiving a second alert, Drew promptly called a maintenance worker who could go onsite and fix their equipment within two hours. This swift action prevented a massive loss event, proving to Drew the value of Therma’s remote monitoring system.
“You can’t have people who are focused on your customers and product having to monitor your equipment on an hourly basis. The Therma° system has shown its value. We’ve gotten our ROI very quickly on that.”
4) Identifying training gaps and ensuring food safety
K-K restaurants also rely on Therma° to identify when their staff doesn’t follow correct closing protocols at the end of their shifts. They found that because you can’t always have supervisors on-site at all times, essential procedures may fall by the wayside. Therma° provides their team with a powerful remote monitoring solution.
For example, their company regulatory policies state that cold rails should be shut off after service to reduce the use of critical and expensive utilities such as electricity. Reducing expensive utility bills is crucial in realizing noticeable cost savings and promoting sustainability. No time is this more important than now, with the rising price of inventory and labor.
K-K also uses Therma° to ensure the safety of the items in their front-of-house reach-in coolers. Items stored in these locations are at risk of spoilage from warm ambient air that leaks from doors that are left ajar or have damaged gaskets. Ensuring they store items in these spaces at safe operating temperatures can protect their customers from foodborne illness and their businesses from health code violations.
By utilizing Therma’s IoT technology, K-K receives real-time temperature data from their dashboard, so management can identify if staff is following proper protocols at night. If their staff doesn’t follow these nightly protocols, management can set up training to correct the problem before it drives up their bills.
If you’re ready to try Therma° in your business, click below to purchase Therma’s IoT monitoring system today.