Data to serve restaurant activities

Even though the idea may sound strange at first, large volumes of data are today generated at professional kitchens, which can be utilized in the management of operations. Fredman Group’s innovative Chefsteinâservice, implemented in cooperation with Houston Analytics, is a good example of this.

“The service enables a new kind of management. For example, the manager of a restaurant chain needs to have an overall view of the field, i.e. what is going on in the kitchen of each individual restaurant. This is required by legislation regulating the operations of restaurants, as well as the business aspect. Small things can have an impact on customer satisfaction and profitability, says Fredman group’s chef Ville Parkkinen,” who refers to himself as a coach.

What is Chefstein? Chefstein is a service that collects data related to food safety, hygiene, wastage, and sustainable development into a single view, enabling easier management and continuous development of activities.

Food safety is, above all, about the effectiveness of the cold chain, i.e. the system collects data from sensors measuring the temperature of the restaurant kitchen. The wastage module, on the other hand, collects data on the quantity and value of wastage. The model predicts the expenses caused by the wastage, if the processes remain unchanged.

“Giving a price tag to wastage is often an eye-opener for the management: a daily loss of EUR 25 may not seem that much if there’s only one restaurant, but when multiplied by, say, a hundred, the annual total becomes significant,” Ville explains.

The hygiene module is a handy tool for preparing the reports required by the Finnish Food Authority (previously Evira), but it is also a very good basis for the quality of operations: In terms of the reputation of restaurants and customer satisfaction, the safety and quality of food are at the top of the list. The hygiene module makes monitoring a constant and transparent process that in itself motivates the kitchen staff to ensure high-quality activities.

The aim of the sustainable development module is to optimize the use of energy, for example. It is unnecessary to set the freezers at -30 °C, when -20 °C is sufficient for storing food. Observing energy consumption is important in terms of both the environment and cost impacts, as reducing the temperature by one degree reduces energy consumption by 5% on average.

“Food safety is essential in all conditions. The set limit values must not be exceeded. It is equally important to ensure that sausage packages are stored at the right temperature and that everything is as it should be in the lunch buffet. There must be no weak links in the chain.”

According to Ville Parkkinen, the shift to data-driven management has only just started in the restaurant sector. In his view, work safety and wellbeing at work are the next developmental steps and can be used directly to reduce the number of sick leaves, for example. One step in this direction would be monitoring the temperature and moisture of work premises. Collected data could be used to develop the kitchens in a manner that would enhance wellbeing and coping at work.

“Artificial intelligence will also change our operating sector. Predicting customer needs and behaviour alone will open up amazing development opportunities,” says Ville