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Smart Temperature Sensors for Winter Profitability

To some, the northern hemisphere’s colder months symbolize holidays, snow, and good times spent with family and friends. To others, specifically those in the foodservice industry, the winter months bring a sense of anxiety. Foodservice is notorious for low-profit margins; averaging between 3-5% in the best of times. During the winter months, a variety of potential issues arise that can decrease financial gains further. 


There are several reasons for a decrease in profit between November and February. Financial constraints from the expenses of the holiday season may prevent customers from dining out. Additionally, Potential patrons are hesitant to venture out into cold temperatures, rain, and even snow to sit in a restaurant. Those same extreme weather conditions also create problems for your cold storage equipment as well. Subpar climactic conditions bring the potential for unexpected power outages and, as a result, expensive inventory loss events. 


Thankfully, implementing smart temperature sensors can prevent expensive food waste so that you can maximize your profitability, even during the difficult months ahead. In this article, you’ll learn about the top two factors that drive lower profitability during winter, and how your business can protect against it. 

Saving money during the winter

The winter months are a time that deviates from the normal activities of the rest of the year. Consumers begin to spend their time indoors to avoid unpleasant weather or rush to buy gifts for family and friends. In other parts of the year, that free time may be spent brunching or going out for a night on the town. Why is this?  


With winter weather comes a reduction in seating capacity for some in the service industry. Outdoor dining is a sought-after feature for many businesses as customers generally like to spend time outside when the weather is good. With increased seating capacity comes higher revenue, thereby increasing profit margins. As the weather gets colder, the inverse is true. Outdoor seating is less enticing for customers, even with the addition of heat lamps. Some operations may find that the money they invested in patio seating that complies with COVID-19 health restrictions may no longer pay for itself during this time of year. 


These conditions typically do not go away once the holidays conclude. Typically, January brings the lowest rate of consumer spending across the board. People find themselves recovering from the financial burdens of the end of the previous year and begin paying off their credit cards rather than going out to eat. 


The US’s electric grid is aging and susceptible to breakdowns, especially those caused by the effects of cold weather, with ice and snow posing dangers to the powerlines that connect businesses to the grid. When the lines freeze, they become brittle and fragile. At the same time, surrounding trees and poles also become heavier as a result of excess moisture. Carrying extra snow and ice weight can become overbearing, sometimes leading to breakage in some scenarios. If a tree were to fall onto a powerline, the line could break, disrupting the flow of electricity to buildings in the vicinity. 


Rain also poses unique issues that cause power outages. Not all electricity travels through the interconnected system of poles and lines; some move underground. When rain runoff is too heavy for drainage systems to handle, it backs up and causes floods. Flood water then seeps into the ground and can disrupt utilities. 


Power outages are a significant issue for foodservice because the industry relies heavily on electric-powered cold storage equipment to preserve inventory. Thousands of dollars of expensive, perishable stock can spoil when the power goes out, forcing teams to discard it. Even when the power comes back on, rebounding from an outage-induced loss event is time-consuming and expensive. Potentially, teams may need to work overtime to prep lost food, resulting in additional labor expenditures. 


Power outages are also complicated to deal with because they can happen with little to no warning. If one occurs in the middle of the night, management may not know till the morning. At that point, inventory may have been held in unsafe conditions for hours. 

The importance of reducing food waste 

Regardless of the time of year, reducing your business’s food waste is one of the most important things you can do to make your operation more profitable. Food waste accounts for nearly a third of overall restaurant expenses per year, weighing in at an average of 50,000 pounds per location. With the average restaurant spending 30-33% of its revenue on ingredients, reducing food waste can significantly bolster businesses’ bottom line during months where customership is low.  


Therma’s smart temperature sensors make it easy to prevent loss events during power outages. By continuously surveying the temperature and humidity of your cold storage areas, Therma° notifies you when conditions are out of threshold, putting your inventory at risk. Customizable alerts inform you when a temperature spike occurs so you can proactively respond. 

Ultimately, the average restaurant saves $15,000 annually with Therma°. Click below to see how Therma° can help your business stay profitable in the winter and beyond.