Reading every wish from your guests’ lips is the stated aim of many a restaurateur. The Internet of Things (IoT) uses smart technologies to support this ambition.
The new barrel has just been tapped, glasses clink as guests toast each other and a tempting smell of roast meat and sauerkraut wafts around the entire room. Business peaks in a traditional Brauhaus restaurant on a Friday evening. Many guests end the week with a regional specialty meal and a freshly tapped beer. For waiters that means handing menus around, taking orders, taking food and drink from the counter and serving them at the right table, charging customers the right amount, keeping distances short. In in peak periods every move must be right and total attention is required. But on closer scrutiny something is different. Instead of keeping an eye on the gestures of guests impatiently awaiting service, the waiters in this establishment evidently know before the next order which tables are waiting for their next round of drinks.
Full Glasses Thanks to Smart Beermats
Fulfilling wishes before the guest has as much as raised a hand is just the job for the Internet of Things (IoT) and, for example, Hoffmann + Krippner GmbH’s smart beermat. The company equips its beermats with Deutsche Telekom SIM cards that register automatically by means of the weight the kind of glass and how full it is. The beermat mails this information to the cloud, where an IoT platform analyzes the data and processes it to be clearly understood at a glance. When a customer’s glass is empty the barman is notified automatically and can serve the next glass right away or ask if there are any other wishes. In this way the manager learns which drinks are especially popular at which times. Purchasing can then be optimized and bottlenecks or surpluses avoided. Breweries too benefit from this customer data. Test projects have demonstrated that this technology can enable them to boost their sales by 10 to 15 percent.
Tracking Consumption Data in Real Time
Rastal GmbH & Co. KG have shown that digitally assisted gastronomy service can also be implemented in an entirely different way. Rastal, a glass manufacturer, collects customer information not from a beermat but from a smart glass. The glass comes with a Near Field Communication (NFC) chip and sends details of the kind or quantity of drinks ordered to a reader chip behind the bar. From there the data is relayed to Deutsche Telekom’s IoT Cloud, an IoT platform that analyzes the data and delivers extensive real-time evaluation of consumption data. Here too, bars and restaurants then find out exactly when which drinks are especially popular.
Optimizing Business Sustainably
In addition to service and logistics for beverages this principle can be applied in many other areas of catering. With digital menus, NFC chips in cutlery or crockery, smart placemats or IoT sensors in the furniture, the future of gastronomy is connected. The resulting data can be used to order more efficiently, to anticipate peak periods, to optimize personnel planning and to offer guests service that is a total success. A powerful IoT platform is all that is needed. Deutsche Telekom’s Cloud of Things, for example, provides restaurateurs with simple and secure access to their data without requiring costly and time-consuming installation. They can retrieve all the relevant information via a Web app, access analytical tools, study evaluations and configure dashboards of their own. That opens up many ways in which they can acquire important information about their guests and optimize their business sustainably.
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Back in 2016, Anna worked on IoT topics at Deutsche Telekom for the first time. Since then, she has been supporting customer best practices in a wide range of industries – always focusing on the benefits that the Internet of Things can provide. Her IoT blogposts describe real use cases and the value these innovations add to market players, their business models, and even entire industries.
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