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Foodservice Equipment and Supplies for Reopening

Foodservice Equipment and Supplies for Reopening

As the vaccination distribution begins to ramp up, you're looking towards reopening your restaurant or foodservice business. However, you want to do so safely, and you know that Americans will always look at safety differently in the wake of COVID-19. This makes it an ideal time to create a plan for additional safety along with a list of the equipment and supplies you're going to need to reopen with safety as your main focus. 

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Grab & Go Kiosks

Whether you're offering up hot or cold items, these grab-and-go kiosks keep cold items cold and hot food hot. There are several styles and sizes to choose from. You can select a kiosk that comes with shelves above the main heating and cooling section for items that don't need climate control, such as chips, pretzels, or fresh fruit. These shelves can also increase impulse purchases as the customer grabs a bag of chips to go with their cold soda or hot sandwich. You can even have your company name or logo printed on the side.

Mobile Food Carts

Similar to the grab-and-go kiosks, these mobile food carts make it easy for you to offer both hot and cold food offerings except they have wheels to move it where it'll attract the most customers. You can choose among a variety of laminate colors to complement your company logo. The mobile food carts can include custom graphics to use as an advertising source. The cabinets open easily to making cleaning or draining melted ice a snap. A shelf at the end of the cart is a great location for napkins, condiment packets, or plastic cutlery. 

Condiment Dispensers

Buying individual packages of condiments is too expensive unless you're offering to-go only options. Condiment dispensers are easier to clean than leaving ketchup or mayonnaise jars out for customers to use. You can easily fill the condiment dispenser and get back to the work you need to do. With dispensers, you can provide more condiment choices and more available products, so you don't spend a lot of time restocking. Also, dispensers help with portion control. You need to create a system for keeping the parts touched by humans hand cleaned and frequently wipe them down with a sanitizer but it's easier and safer than individual bottles. 

Clear Partitions

In order to protect both your customers and employees, you need clear partitions set up around your restaurant or food service area. You might put up a partition at the point of sale and in between tables and booths. Anything that you can do to keep different people from introducing their germs to others is a positive. When planning on installing clear partitions, you need to put a plan in place for cleaning and sanitizing them. This should become as second nature as wiping down the tables and seats between customers. 

Hand Sanitizer and Disinfecting Wipe Stands

Americans have become very conscious of keeping their hands clean and their surfaces sanitized. By installing either a hand sanitizer or disinfecting wipe stand in your restaurant or foodservice operation, you can provide your customer base with extra peace of mind. Making these products readily available to your clients and customers helps to minimize the transfer of germs and other contagions. These stands are easy to set up and restock with supplies. 

Lakeside is dedicated to partnering with restaurants and foodservice organizations as they reopen safely to the public. We offer a full line of products and equipment to help you keep your company cleaner and safer for your clients and staff.

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The Essential Role of Nutrition in COVID-19 Recovery

The Essential Role of Nutrition in COVID-19 Recovery

COVID-19 forced healthcare foodservice programs to do a complete 180 in how they serve and deliver food. We've heralded the role of food in healthcare and its healing power, but the coronavirus presents new and unheard-of nutritional challenges for dietitians. So how are they using nutrition to help patients as they fight and recover from COVID-19?

Malnutrition already increases the risk of someone getting sick, staying sick, and worse — dying. Add that into a pandemic, and delivering proper nutrition to sick individuals has never been more vital to the recovery process.

COVID Challenges for Dietitians

For starters, the COVID-19 pandemic has put dietitians in an unenviable position when it comes to working directly with patients. Lack of PPE and isolation requirements often prevent dietitians from performing their typical nutrition-focused exams to identify nutritional problems. Relying on telehealth and virtual exams are available for some facilities, but often a reliance on doctors and nurses to provide dietitians with nutritional updates is necessary.

With up to a quarter of COVID-infected people requiring ICU admission, nutrition is essential in the fight against coronavirus symptoms and helping patients recover quickly. Studies show that these ICU patients, who are often put on ventilators for multiple weeks, will become weaker and lose valuable muscle mass.

Nutrition is one of the best kinds of medicine to fight the virus head-on.

Using Nutrition to Fight COVID

A recent Food Management article on patient nutrition discussed both the challenges and strategies to providing proper nutrition to patients infected with the coronavirus. Some obstacles to nourishing COVID-19 patients include the common symptoms like loss of taste and smell or gastrointestinal distress, while other more severe symptoms like post-ventilator swallowing, respiratory issues, and even psychological ailments ranging from disorientation to depression create more obstacles to recovery.

With all the hurdles to providing nutrition to the people who need it the most, how are dietitians helping get these patients back on the road to recovery through the power of food?

High-calorie and high-protein provide a boost in energy and nutrients in each meal. Nutritional supplements and hydration are also key, especially for people with a lack of appetite to ensure they are receiving nourishment, even when they may not feel up to the challenge. Smaller meals are recommended for patients with poor appetites or respiratory problems so as not to force their bodies to become overworked. Even foods with different ranges of spice can help patients dealing with a loss of taste or smell.

Make Patient Nutrition Easier With the Right Tools

Healthcare foodservice programs everywhere are adapting their methods of meal delivery during COVID-19, and Lakeside is here to help you get the tools you need to keep patients, guests, and staff well-nourished. From meal and tray delivery carts for in-patient dining, hydration service, mobile grab-and-go solutions for guests and staff, and handwashing and PPE storage and transport solutions, Lakeside has you covered. 

Lakeside has the COVID-19 Product Solutions you need! Learn about these solutions in our COVID-19 Resource Guide. 

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How the Pandemic is Changing Meal Delivery in Colleges

How the Pandemic is Changing Meal Delivery in Colleges

Step onto a college campus in 2021 and you'll notice a few stark changes from a few semesters ago. First, the students, or lack thereof. In order to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, many colleges and universities have moved to a virtual learning environment or a hybrid of in-person and online classrooms. Second, the staff. Professors, administrative staff, foodservice staff, maintenance staff, and more have all had their normal work routines and hours altered, with some, unfortunately, losing their positions entirely. But one thing that hasn't changed on college campuses is the need to feed students in safe and efficient ways. 

What College Foodservice Directors Are Saying

At a recent NACUFS Town Hall, foodservice directors from colleges and universities across the country shared the changes, challenges, and opportunities that they were seeing. 

Staffing

While avoiding layoffs was a top concern in regard to staffing, foodservice directors felt that restaurant chains around campus were affecting the ability to hire and keep students on campus. In response to limited staffing, foodservice programs are doing more with fewer team members, with plenty of cross-training and bringing in labor from other departments. Staff training is mostly virtual, and technology limitations affect the quality of training that can be done, with a majority occurring remotely.

Serving

The biggest challenge right now is an obvious one, and that is feeding students. A number of states prohibit inside dining or limit the number of students allowed in a dining hall at one time. The goal for colleges right now is to get students in and out of the dining hall in under five minutes. That means a serious adjustment in menus and execution. Microwavable meals and grab-and-go items are the primary meals nowadays. While some programs are using reservation systems, others use mobile ordering.

How College Foodservice Programs Have Found Success

One major shift in how colleges are serving meals during the pandemic is by taking a more retail approach to campus dining. Members of the Town Hall echoed similar sentiments, saying all you can eat dining has changed into retail only. The grab-and-go method of meal service has proven to be an effective one at mitigating contact by limiting the time inside the dining hall. One approach to a more traditional, pre-packaged grab-and-go meal that some colleges are adopting is the home replacement meal trend or meal kits that we've grown accustomed to seeing advertised. The goal of meal kits is to provide fresh, chef-quality meals with an emphasis on the convenience of ordering and pickup.

Prior to COVID-19, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst is one college that has taken the home chef kit model and made it their own. UMass Fresh “provides ready-to-cook dinner kits” that are cooked and chilled for transport right in the college kitchen, then packed up for takeout. With many students living off-campus, this offers them a practical meal plan solution as an alternative to off-campus takeout dining. The meals themselves are easy and quick to prepare, with multiple meal choices each day to choose from. Once a meal kit is prepped, it's packaged for takeout and ready to pick up at a designated location. Now fully entrenched in a pandemic, this style of meal delivery makes more sense than ever.

Meal Delivery During COVID and Post-COVID Times

Whether it's grab-and-go, meal kits, or takeout from mobile orders, college and university foodservice programs have found themselves adapting to this new environment. With easy-to-use, durable transport, meal delivery can get from the kitchen to the students in safe, convenient ways. The Curbside Pick Up Cart is the ideal solution to provide eye-catching, weatherproof transport options for your program's meals, giving students on-campus meals without the risks associated with COVID-19. Drive-through pick up is commonplace for restaurants all over the country during the pandemic, and now your dining program can offer that same convenience.

From curbside to carry-out, Lakeside has the meal delivery solutions to help your college and university foodservice program adapt to these changing times. 

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How Foodservice Is Going Touch-Free

How Foodservice Is Going Touch-Free

One thing we all know for certain is that the current COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way we look at foodservice and the restaurant industry. What many don’t know, though, is that 76 percent of consumers say it’s changed how they look at public behavior forever. This means many of the pivots and transitions we saw in 2020 are likely to still exist in 2022 and beyond.

One important pivot in food and beverage was the shift toward low-contact and touch-free dining. According to Modern Restaurant Management, 38 percent of people say they’re worried about touching things others have touched, while 28 percent say being near other people makes them nervous. Add them up, and it translates to low-engagement transactions creating consumer confidence.

So how exactly are foodservice operations and restaurants going touch-free?

ORDERING

It all starts with the ability to order, and thanks to mobile apps and online ordering systems, it’s getting easier and easier to navigate menus, make selections, and place orders. Even for in-person dining, reducing touch points can be important, and scanning QR codes to reveal menus is a great way to reduce the number of things a customer has to touch.

PAYMENT

This goes hand-in-hand with ordering, and most mobile ordering applications also include the ability to pay and add gratuity, as well. With technologies like Apply Pay, in-person diners can often just scan their phones to pay by credit card, which also reduces the number of things restaurant staff members have to touch.

PICK-UP

Pick-up is often the point in the transaction when the diner encounters restaurant staff or even other customers. This means it’s critically important to make sure everything is smooth and efficient. Counters need to be sanitized between customers, and technologies like pick-up lockers that can be open with mobile phones further enhance the touch-free concept. When customers pick up foods, this is also the time when they might pick up utensils and condiments. Touch-free carts and serving stations can help mitigate any potential dangers

TOUCH-FREE WILL ONLY CONTINUE.

Unfortunately, we’re not out of the woods yet, and even when we are, we suspect there will be a greater emphasis on sanitation, safety, and low-touch environments. There will still be customers who only want to push open the door. That’s it.

Lakeside can help you assemble the needed equipment for a touch-free foodservice operation.

Lakeside offers various COVID-19 product solutions. Let us help you find the best way to offer low-contact and touch-free dining. 

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The State of Our Food Supply

The State of Our Food Supply

From dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks to pursuing solutions that allow foodservice operations to stay operational, things have been increasingly challenging in the last year. At the very beginning of the pandemic, there were concerns about food shortages as it relates to processing and distributing our food supply, and those challenges continue in varying forms today.

Let's start back at the beginning when the national food supply was in possible jeopardy and was an unknown factor. Many people rushed to grocery stores to stock up for weeks and even months on canned and frozen goods. This left grocery shelves bare and consumers terrified for what was to come.

The industry that struggled the most during this period was the meat processing business.  With heavy staffing working in proximity, many processing staff members fell ill with the coronavirus causing many plants to close. Companies responded, though, and measures were put in place such as temperature scanning, social distancing, and increased sanitation. By June, meatpacking was back to operating at roughly 97%, as reported by WebMD.

While the initial scare put us in a world of uncertainty, we slowly began to find a balance. More resources were available, and shelves were less bare. What we learned was the importance of keeping staff healthy across the entire foodservice spectrum, from grocery stores to restaurants to delivery drivers to meat processing plants.

As the virus continues to sweep across the United States, many are now worried that the industry won't suffer from a supply shortage but rather a staffing shortage. Even with new regulations and rules set in place, extra cleaning, and additional precautions, people are still testing positive for COVID-19. 

Critical labor is being put at risk in order to keep our food supply functioning, leaving many questioning if their jobs are worth that risk. On the other end of the spectrum, many are still seeking jobs and a surplus of people are working from home, keeping grocery stores flooded with business. 

New solutions are popping up daily to help prevent the spread of the virus as well as assist in keeping operations functioning, and even in the initial scare, most weren't going hungry due to a lack of food supply. Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics reported the biggest vulnerability for food insecurity was due to the loss of jobs from lost income with collapsing prices and lowered market demand. 

While there's still concern over the potential changes in the industry as we continue to deal with the pandemic, for the foreseeable future food supply looks promising and reliable. 

For a full list of all available COVID-19 product solutions from Lakeside, we encourage you to visit our main COVID-19 Resources page. 

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Easing the Burdens on School Nutrition Staff During COVID-19

Easing the Burdens on School Nutrition Staff During COVID-19

While the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on educational instruction throughout the world, cafeteria foodservice disruptions have also skyrocketed. The days of serving school children lunch in the cafeteria are now replaced with deliveries to individual classrooms. This new lunch schedule is difficult on staff as many school kitchens aren't outfitted with the proper equipment for lunch deliveries. 

The foodservice dilemma

With children returning to school in person, one of the many dilemmas facing administrators is how to safely feed them. The CDC recommends children eat meals outdoors or in classrooms while social distancing instead of in a communal dining hall. While the guidance is valid, it's easy to see the strain it puts on an already stressed-out foodservice staff.

In addition to delivering meals, staff is encouraged to plate individual meals or provide prepackaged ones. Gone are the days of salad bars and other self-service stations. Now, along with disposable utensils and gloves, cafeteria staff need to be cognizant about their own cleaning and sanitizing habits while providing a safe environment for fellow coworkers, students, and teachers. 

The financial burdens

School lunch programs were already pretty taxed even before the pandemic. The USDA reports that around 97% of costs are covered by revenues, but that means that most school foodservice programs operate at a small deficit or just break even. To make matters even worse, additional costs need to be factored in this year for protective gear for staff (masks, gloves, cleaning, and disinfecting supplies). Additional packaging also increases costs — whether staff are feeding kids in school or still providing breakfasts and lunches while classes are virtual.

Delivering food to individual classrooms may also require more money. If cafeteria staff do not have the appropriate carts to transport the food, it can waste time and reduce the quality of the breakfasts and lunches served. 

The solution

Luckily, there is a solution. Classroom meal delivery carts are a cost-effective and efficient way to get meals into the classrooms, and Lakeside offers carts for a variety of needs. Thermal bags or coolers allow food to remain at the proper temperature and permit ease of movement down hallways and back to the cafeteria in limited trips. Let's take a look at an example.

The Clermont School raised concerns about making their food deliveries more efficient. They felt that going from the kitchen to the classroom several times per service wasn't the best way to use their staff's time or to promote the quality of lunches. With the help of the foodservice delivery carts from Lakeside, they were able to reduce their amount of trips back and forth from 13 to three. With the lunch rush going smoothly, they implemented the easy-tow carts for breakfast too. The staff reported delivery was much more efficient and their own time management improved because of the new equipment. 

The Clermont School is just one of many that needed to find a solution to this new food distribution problem. They immediately saw results and found that transporting food with the proper equipment makes for a more streamlined approach that benefits both students and staff.

The COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrinkle into school food service plans. From dealing with additional guidelines and protective gear to serving lunches in classrooms, cafeteria staff had to roll with the punches and figure out ways to manage their time, all while delivering quality meals. Adding a Lakeside delivery cart to your daily routine will help cut down on trips from kitchen to classroom. 

If you’re looking to ease up your school breakfast or lunch routine, contact us for more information about our carts and how we can help you. 

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Reducing Waste for Restaurant Delivery and Takeout

As a restaurant, it's important to offer convenient options for people on the go. Takeout is becoming increasingly popular, and that's great news for businesses and for consumers. However, it can also lead to increased waste. For this reason, it's important to maintain high sustainability standards. This will not only reduce your costs but will also increase your appeal to many of your customers and contribute to a healthier planet.

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

From a financial perspective, this initiative saves a lot of money for your restaurant. On average, you'll have about $5,091 that you can put towards other expenses, or better yet, profit.

Of course, these practices are also much more sustainable when it comes to preserving our beautiful planet. Litter from take-out orders alone accounts for approximately 269,000 tons of plastic pollution in the earth's oceans. Furthermore, the majority of packaging we use every day goes into our landfills, which significantly increases our carbon emissions. Climate change is a major issue facing our society today, and we must do everything we can to improve our planet for future generations.

Lastly, you'll likely attract more clientele if you participate in initiatives that reduce environmental waste: A staggering 73% of consumers would definitely like to change their habits so that they can reduce their carbon footprint. This could potentially lead to more revenue for your business in the long run.

ASK YOUR CUSTOMERS IF THEY WANT NAPKINS WITH THEIR FOOD

This may seem like a small action, but it makes an enormous difference. Many customers would rather just use their own cloth napkins and reduce their waste. A majority of the paper napkins handed out in to-go bags are never even used. 

USE FOOD DELIVERY APPS THAT OFFER YOUR CUSTOMERS SUSTAINABLE ALTERNATIVES

Food delivery apps such as Postmates, GrubHub, and UberEats allow your customers to indicate whether they'd like utensils or not. This is super convenient for everyone involved and it also reduces your environmental impact significantly.

You can also ask your clients what their preferences are. Perhaps you want to add a feature on your website that gives them the option to opt for no utensils, straws, or condiments. This initiative will help your restaurant reduce its environmental impact significantly.

LIMIT PLASTIC AND PAPER PLATES

Of course, you want your customers to have an amazing experience eating your delicious food, and sometimes that might mean providing them with paper plates. However, a lot of people are trying to reduce their carbon footprint and would rather not use these items unnecessarily. Therefore, it's important to train your employees to ask your clients if they want plates or, better yet, avoid them altogether and save your restaurant some money.

You may want to sell reusable containers on your website or opt for biodegradable takeout boxes. Your customers will probably be attracted to your restaurant as a result.

PRACTICE MINDFULNESS WHEN IT COMES TO BAGGING ITEMS

It's understandable that a lot of restaurants put takeout boxes into plastic bags: They don't want it to spill all over the place because this could lead to dissatisfied customers. However, it's important to ensure that you're only using one bag and ask your customers if they even want it. Many people are becoming increasingly aware of these sorts of things. You may also want to opt for paper bags instead of plastic ones because they are both recyclable and reusable.

Reducing waste isn't easy, but with a little more mindfulness we can all do our part to make the world a better place. These practices also reduce your expenses and attract loyal customers, so implementing them is well worth your time.

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What Hotels and Hospitality Can Expect in a Post-COVID World

The impacts of the current coronavirus pandemic on hotel and hospitality are immense. While some operations and properties have adapted to new ways of doing things, the future remains uncertain. Quarantine, social distancing rules, and restricted travel are still effective in many places, and these uncertainties will shape what the future holds for hotels and other stakeholders.

Let's take a closer look at some issues hotels and hospitality have faced over the last year, how they've adapted, and what the future might look like for the industry.

THE IMPACTS

During the last year, there have been many temporary closures, some, unfortunately, becoming more permanent. Measures such as lockdown, quarantine, social distancing, and travel bans led to the closure of hotels and other hospitality businesses, and many had to change their modes of service delivery. Hotel restaurants were required to serve food through take-outs. Those allowed to serve meals at their premises had to reduce the number of seats and tables to observe social distancing requirements.

This had many financial implications. Hotel bookings and reservations decreased significantly. Profits became minimal, and many hotels became unsustainable, forcing them to either retrench their staff or close temporarily. Hotels became more expensive in almost every part of the world since they had to offer specialized services to fewer customers. However, this was inevitable since the people's safety is a priority.

AN ADAPTING INDUSTRY

Hotels and restaurants had to move from their regular service avenues and adopt sustainable ones amid the coronavirus pandemic. Innovative technologies and new food concepts were key to implementing delivery and takeout programs, with restaurants and hotel foodservice operations taking meals directly to the customer. For hotels, having a built-in room service program already available was a helpful asset. 

So what does the future hold? It will belong to operations that can reinvent their services, and technology will be key. It will be at the core of shaping the future of hotels and the hospitality industry, from utilizing text messages to implementing mobile apps to robots that can deliver food or even clean rooms. This is the future, and some hotels such as Hilton and Marriott are already using robots for some of their services.

Hotel construction designs will also change in the Post-COVID era. Hotels might have to do away with traditional delivery services and adapt to self-service.  Pre-ordered meals and buffets might be a thing of the past. Grab-and-go, individually-wrapped foods could help to reduce the space needed for kitchen and dining areas. Customers are likely to be more cautious about their social interactions, and common areas will be significant in reducing seating areas and upholding social distancing regulations.

THE ROLE OF FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES

Service delivery in hospitality changed due to coronavirus. People are more aware of hygiene. Hotels and restaurants might have to purchase new service trays, carts, sanitary products, and other support products. For instance, disposable towels will be preferable to hand dryers for heightened sanitation. Get the best foodservice equipment to help you pull through the Covid-19 well. 

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The Ghost Kitchen Trend of 2021

Take Out Containers

Living in the digital age definitely comes with a lot of perks, especially when it comes to foodservice and what's known as the "ghost kitchen". In the last five years, apps like GrubHub, UberEats, and DoorDash have taken over the food industry. Offering convenience by taking away the long lines and busy hustle of sitting in a restaurant waiting to order, these apps have provided a simple way to grab breakfast, lunch, or dinner without having to leave the comfort of your office or home. What more could you want?

Well, from an industry perspective, staying on par with the latest trends without having to take a loss to be a part of it is the goal. As consumers further move towards online orders and delivery services, keeping up without going into debt can be difficult for start-ups and older businesses. Fortunately, the ghost kitchen is offering a perfectly balanced solution to help you keep up with consumer's technology-savvy desires.

WHAT IS THE GHOST KITCHEN PHENOMENON?

Simply put, a ghost kitchen is a facility set up for delivery-only meals. It provides space to prepare and produce these meals so that online orders are successful without any snags or troubles along the way. Through ghost kitchen services, foodservice operators are able to expand their areas of service, focus more on seamlessly contactless methods of serving, and cut back on the costs of real estate.

PERKS, CONS, AND MORE

Ghost kitchens are dominating the food industry by honing in on a specific style of food or a particular cuisine. This allows kitchens to focus on multiple brands of an item, making it easy to reach customers looking for a specific dish while also taking advantage of the real estate market. Perks you can be on the lookout for are:

  • Cross utilizing products between brands
  • Quick launch phase
  • Cheaper than opening a brand-new location for each brand
  • Less equipment needed
  • Expand customer reach by taking advantage of a broader delivery area away from your permanent location

With any new business model, there are disadvantages. As ghost kitchens grow and work out all their kinks, here are the cons you might experience:

  • High competition due to an increased virtual food court
  • No walk-in traffic
  • Limits on your delivery service based on where that kitchen is located

As trends change and services such as ghost kitchens continue to rise in popularity, staying on top of the foodservice industry will also change. Ghost kitchens' rise in success comes from their ability to expand business in small increments. They allow you to reach consumers you may not reach otherwise and help you break into the delivery service movement that's taking over.

Following the odd year we had in 2020, consumers will continue taking advantage of online ordering and curbside pick up or delivery services. In 2021, we can expect that the ghost kitchen trend will grow drastically. It only takes somebody 66 days, on average, to form a habit. If we look at that from a delivery perspective, then the habit of utilizing quick service apps is already habitual.

For more information on how you can implement the ghost kitchen into your foodservice operation, contact us at Lakeside today. Our experts focus on manufacturing top of the line foodservice equipment as well as continuously monitor the latest industry trends. We'll be following the ghost kitchen trend through 2021, and we look forward to helping you make the necessary changes to do the same and to further assist in increasing the success of your overall foodservice operation.

Keep up with even more trends by watching our recorded webinar "Top 10 Foodservice Trends of 2021".

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How Digital Tools are Transforming Foodservice

Chef Taking Food Inventory

Are you interested in improving efficiency, increasing output, and reducing food waste in your restaurant or other foodservice business? If you are, it may be time to get technical. That's right, technology is playing an increasingly important role in the foodservice industry.

According to an article in Forbes magazine, we owe many of the improvements in the production, packaging, shelf life, and safety of food to improved technology in the food industry. From drone farmworkers to robotic butchers, technology is impacting all areas of food production and distribution. For example, satellite imagery helps monitor weather patterns that can affect the timing of planting and harvesting. Farm drones pinpoint diseased crops so that pesticides can be applied precisely where they're needed instead of blanket bombing entire fields. Advanced packaging can improve food safety, increase shelf life, and help eliminate waste.

Going Green

Technology can even help your business go green. An app such as Copia can keep track of your food inventory to help you make more informed purchasing decisions. It will also help you reduce food waste by connecting you with local non-profits who can make good use of your surplus food.

After-school programs, shelters, and other programs will benefit from that surplus while you reap the tax benefits of your donations. Not only that, but you'll no longer be contributing to the 40% of American food that gets wasted each year. That's an important point for many customers, especially millennials and generation Z.

Sustainability is a major concern for many of these younger customers. They may even choose a place to eat based on it. Reducing water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions go hand in hand with reducing food waste. So too does sourcing food locally, since it reduces the fuel and emissions associated with long-distance shipping. Not only is improved sustainability beneficial to the planet, but it also benefits your bottom line through lower food costs and an increased customer base.

Managing Inventory and Production Schedules

Use technology to help you with more accurate inventory management so that you always know what to order and when. You can also use it to manage your production schedule in order to improve efficiency and reduce wasteful overproduction. According to the non-profit ReFED organization, you can save thousands of dollars annually just by using technology to track and reduce waste.

Digital tools transforming foodservice is just one trend to look for in 2021. Learn more about the top food and beverage trends of the new year in our recorded webinar, “Top 10 Foodservice Trends of 2021”.