HT chats with Maria Lim, Lim Restaurant Group LLC in Marble Falls, Texas, about how her restaurant has leveraged technology to meet consumers' changing demand and to improve food quality and reduce food waste.
HT: In recent months restaurants have been adapting and changing their operations. How has your restaurant evolved in recent months and what role has technology played in it?
Lim: My restaurants adjusted their operations and focus to better meet the needs and expectations of our customers and our restaurant crew. Thankfully, the technology investments we’ve made over the past few years positioned us well to quickly respond and navigate our new environment. As a system McDonald’s was able to quickly adjust our menu to help employees better manage demand and enhanced safety measures, and clearly communicate these changes, in addition to changes in our operating hours, to our customers via our Digital Menu Boards. We also leaned into our existing contactless channels by expanding our McDelivery footprint through the addition of more third-party providers and promoted our Mobile Order and Pay platform (available within McDonald’s Global Mobile App).
HT: How were you collecting data and compliance information before going digital?
Lim: Prior to Squadle Digital Food Safety, my restaurants were using a manual paper-based method to maintain our records and checklists. This method required two people and a large, clunky book. One person would read the thermometer and the other would record the information into the large-clunky book. In addition to this being inefficient, it was hard to manage continuity and consistency.
HT: What are the tech solutions you use to digitize food safety? When did you implement them?
Lim: In partnership with McDonald’s Technology Team, I began testing the Squadle Digital Food Safety solution in 2018. As part of the test, I provided feedback on how their solution would work within the McDonald’s system, which is now broadly available to all owner/operators.
HT: What role does IoT like temperature sensors play?
Lim: They’ve been a great tool that allow my restaurants crew to spend more time serving customers and less time monitoring equipment. And if/when something needs attention, it sends a real-time food-safety alert, which allows us to proactive address potential issues.
HT: What have been the benefits?
Lim: The Squadle Digital Food Safety solution has provided my managers and I greater transparency through daily email reports and real-time digital alerts and reporting. In addition the ability to leverage a tablet and cloud-based solution has driven greater consistency, and we’ve seen good benefits to productivity and efficiencies with our crew.
HT: Food waste is wasted money, and with food shortages and increasing prices and restaurants struggling to survive, how have these technologies impacted your food waste? Tell us about forecasting and how this information is being leveraged?
Lim: Squadle Digital Food Safety has helped us avoid scenarios where food had to be thrown away because we were unaware of equipment not functioning properly. In addition to Squadle Digital Food Safety, we’re also leveraging algorithms that will help us predict the quantity of food that needs to be prepared. This helps us cook less more often, therefore serving higher quality food and minimizing waste.
HT: What technologies are you looking to add in the future?
Lim: Technology is always evolving just like our customers’ expectations. As we look to the future, we’re looking at how we can leverage our current technology investments and future innovations to drive efficiencies in the restaurants and create a more convenient and personalized experience for our customers.