How temperature and humidity sensors save restaurants money
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 and loss events can greatly impact a restaurant's bottom line.
Why temperature monitoring is important
Temperature monitoring is essential to restaurants because 85 percent of restaurant product loss issues are attributable to substandard food storage conditions. Temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Fahrenheit can spoil sensitive items such as greens or meats in less than 2 hours. These warmer temperatures allow bacteria to thrive and multiply every 20 minutes.
For most restaurants, this leads to soggy boxes and spoiled inventory. In extreme cases, this can lead to food poisoning and its accompanying headaches. Some of these include issues include responding to customer complaints and health department reports.
Revolutionizing restaurant temperature logs
Temperature monitoring has always been part of the restaurant business, traditionally through manual thermometer temperature checks. Unfortunately, manual checks put inventory at risk through human error, inaccurate readings, or equipment failure. To eliminate loss events and improve profits, restaurateurs and fast-casual franchises have turned to a new solution. This solution is temperature and humidity sensors.
Wireless temperature monitoring is already prevalent in various sectors, such as healthcare, transportation, and logistics. Like a restaurant, these businesses necessitate precise data and can’t afford to throw away valuable products. Despite an enormous need for sensor technology and many options on the market, only 5% of restaurants are currently using sensor technology because of cost and feasibility restrictions.
For instance, some temperature sensors need to embed wires into the infrastructure of the building to function effectively. Recent innovations have brought WiFi and Bluetooth sensors to market, but the signals can be unreliable in walk-ins or freezers.
At Therma, we’re proud to offer the first sensor solution designed with restaurants in mind. Our technology is wireless and uses long-range radio, or LoRa sensors rather than Bluetooth or WiFi temperature sensors, allowing them to send, record, and measure data everywhere from the front to the back of the house.
Temperature sensors bring real payoffs
One franchise that saw benefits from temperature and humidity sensors is Eggs Up Grill. Based in the Southern US, Eggs Up Grill is in the heart of hurricane country. Their locations are prone to power outages in the summer and fall. Looking for solutions, owner Marc Cotone implemented Therma and found it simple to install and immediately useful.
When recounting how Therma° helped him save money in his restaurant, Marc said that an unexpected ROI driver for him was “[saving] the labor costs for re-prepping food that had to get thrown out due to spoilage — that can be hours of time!”
Why humidity sensors are integral in remote monitoring
Humidity is the concentration of water vapor present in the air. Though it may go unnoticed by the human eye, humidity can still wreak havoc on your restaurant operations, mainly when it’s present in your cold storage. From equipment failure to product spoilage and foodborne illnesses – these are just some of the risks you can avoid by ensuring you have effective IoT Humidity Sensors in place.
Humidity in restaurants: the risks
Without correct humidity monitoring processes in place, restaurants risk inventory loss due to the following:
The growth of mold, bacteria, and mildew
Humid environments within cold storage can provide the perfect conditions to foster mold, bacteria, and fungus growth. All three can contaminate restaurant inventory rendering it as waste.
One particular form of bacteria, Salmonella, thrives in food stored in high-humidity environments. Salmonella is one of the leading causes of foodborne illness in the United States, causing 1.35 million infections every year.
When food is exposed to excess humidity, particularly frozen food, this excess moisture can cause its quality to deteriorate. Though it may not be visually apparent, food exposed to this excess moisture certainly has an inferior taste and texture – both of which won’t go unnoticed by your customers. Bob Schrader, a consultant for food humidity solution MicroGold agrees, stating: “It tends to be on the chewy or tough side.”
This is because food is more porous at warmer temperatures and therefore absorbs moisture. When the product falls below freezing point, ice crystals form from the absorbed moisture, leading to deteriorated quality.
Did you know that the rubber gaskets that keep your cold storage equipment sealed can rot in high humidity? This results in expensive replacement costs and leads to an increase in internal temperature, therefore causing food to spoil faster. As a worst-case scenario, your cold storage may stop working, leaving you with thousands of dollars of spoiled inventory.
That’s not all, though; poor humidity management also leads to ice build-up on equipment. To combat ice build-up, operators rely on freezer defrost cycles, which generate power surges that drive up electricity costs. Sometimes, frost builds up to the point that it blocks airflow within vital components, such as the evaporator or cooling coil, and causes the refrigerator to stop cooling altogether.
How IoT Humidity Sensors can help
To verify optimal storage conditions, restaurant staff should perform environmental checks every hour. However, traditional thermometers don’t always give accurate readings, and staff can’t monitor facilities after-hours.
IoT Humidity readers and monitoring systems record and compile all of the individual sensor data within a given location. From there, restaurant operators interpret the data and turn it into actionable steps.
Fluctuating humidity readings can prompt staff to perform thorough area inspections when conditions vary, enabling identification factors like moist air seeping through doors and other entryways before it causes food to spoil. Additionally, alerts allow staff to relocate inventory to alternate storage areas in equipment failure, helping to prevent mass inventory loss.
Therma’s IoT Humidity Sensors
Though humidity isn’t visually noticeable, excesses can wreak havoc on your restaurant operations. To combat this hidden threat, you’ll want to choose a sensor built to withstand the harsh environments found in restaurants. That’s where Therma° readers come in.
Rest easy while saving money
Ultimately, temperature and humidity sensors create more profitable businesses and save restaurant owners time. At Therma, we’ve seen our restaurant customers save at least $15,000 per location, per year in food waste and equipment costs.
To see how Therma° can help your business run smoother click below to get Therma° today.