October 5, 2017 | Written by: Jen Clark
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At this year’s Genius of Things (GoT) event in Boston, IBM announced that we are working with Golden State Foods to embrace two big opportunities for growth and change in the food services industry. Golden State Foods are using Watson IoT to assist fleet management and safety for their 2,000+ trucks, and creating connected restaurants in over 125,000 locations.
To say that Golden State Foods operate on a large scale is something of an understatement. They are one of the largest diversified suppliers to the food service industry, servicing around 125,000 restaurants in over 60 countries from their 50 locations, and producing 400,000 hamburger patties per hour. Many of the restaurants they supply are quick serve and rely on speedy, safe and quality food production and delivery to meet their customers’ expectations.
Innovating with IoT and Blockchain
Innovation is something of a watch word for Golden State Foods. And for them, it means something very different from exotic menus, cocktails in jam jars and pickling unusual foodstuffs. Instead, it means adopting cutting-edge technology like IoT and Blockchain to optimize operations, drive efficiency and cut unnecessary costs.
When time is of the essence and operating scales are vast, the IoT can add tremendous value. Golden State Foods is using insights from connected things to improve the management and safety of its 2,000+ trucks, to ensure that its customers receive their food supplies on time and in top condition.
A Golden State Foods truck
Transporting perishable materials such as raw beef comes with its own set of challenges. Delivery delays caused by broken down vehicles or scheduling flaws mean spoiled produce and disappointed restaurants. When these vehicles are IoT-enabled, however, they become easier to track and maintain. Sensor data collected and analysed by the Watson IoT Platform ensures that issues are automatically reported and addressed before they can cause bigger problems down the line.
The supply chain has a big part to play here, too. To achieve operational efficiency, Golden State Foods are using IBM Blockchain to create visible, secure and immutable ledgers, that can be viewed by individual stakeholders, improving visibility and accountability for all parties. This in turn means fresher ingredients, improved food safety and fewer operational costs – all benefits that are passed on to Golden State Foods’ customers.
IoT for Retail: the Connected Restaurant project
Away from the supply chain, there are other, more ‘front-of-house’ opportunities to connect and evolve – in the restaurants themselves, for example. The Connected Restaurant project is using IBM’s Connected Store solutions to revolutionize the way Golden State Foods’ customers run their restaurants. Door hinge sensors, digital signage, shelf weight sensors, gesture recognition and Wi-Fi tags collect valuable data that help managers understand how their restaurants consume energy, manage inventory, and even keep clean – and help them identify ways to do those things better. For example, temperature sensors in food storage facilities could trigger alerts if food reaches an unsafe temperature, to prevent spoilage. And with data from occupancy sensors, heating and lighting can automatically be adjusted to reflect the fluctuations in need at peak times, and provide only what is needed.
With more insights into how the restaurants operate, managers have the information they need to improve operational efficiency – automating some processes and managing others remotely.
From fresher ingredients to reduced costs, Golden State Foods are helping their clients deliver fast, effective service and great food to anyone who has grabbed a bite on the run.