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October 21, 2022

The relationship between restaurants and service organizations is a tale as old as time. The ice cream machine breaks, the restaurant manager calls the service company, they send a service technician to fix the machine, the technician fixes the problem, and customers get to enjoy their soft serve again. Easy enough right? If only it were that easy.

Due to labor shortages and skills gaps, the downsizing of kitchen equipment – like the aforementioned ice cream machine – is taking longer. Restaurant owners and food service managers are scrambling to hire and train workers who have never been there to fill open positions, making maintenance and maintenance take a back seat. At the same time, an aging workforce in the service industry makes it difficult to find qualified technicians, which leads to longer response times when a service call comes out of a restaurant.

Restaurants are short staffed, and it’s putting other industry challenges in the back seat

Labor shortages continue to be a major challenge facing many business owners. A July 2022 survey from the National Federation of Independent Business found that nearly half of small business owners said they still can’t fill job openings, an all-time high about fifty.

Restaurant owners, as we know, are among this group – they are always looking for new employees, while increasing the time and effort to train their new employees. The industry has shed 750,000 jobs — about 6.1% of its workforce — from pre-crisis levels by May 2022, according to the National Food Association. As a result, kitchen furniture repair and maintenance has become a new concept.

However, putting maintenance and repair (R&M) planning on the back burner will raise a restaurant’s overall operating and capital costs by 15%, according to ResQ’s report. State of Disrepair.

But instead of restaurants leading traditional R&M, it’s time for service and maintenance teams to embrace new technologies that will help all employees complete tasks more efficiently – regardless of their expertise. how much experience – so restaurants can avoid downtime altogether. stay fully functional. Restaurant owners can share time and money for efficient use, such as ensuring they can hire staff when needed.

Service organizations are implementing AI technologies to streamline operations

At the same time, finding qualified service professionals is a major pain point. The problem affects many service companies operating in the food service industry, including United Service Technologies (UST) which services supermarket hot-side items. As an added challenge, UST customers demand data that works at an increasing rate. Faced with these two issues, UST turned to AI to solve their problems.

UST cannot find the time to review thousands of invoices by hand to identify useful information. But now, with powerful emerging technologies, such as AI-driven service intelligence, their teams can organize and analyze invoices, calls and reports in minutes, providing actionable information in a timely manner. certain one. The use of this emerging technology has enabled UST to generate service insights from over 25 years of data they have collected.

UST is now taking advantage of the vast amount of data they have and using it to transform their once responsive business into a proactive one. They are able to provide instructions and tell customers what the entire life cycle of a machine will look like, without exhausting their IT efforts.

UST also uses service intelligence as an educational tool for new technicians to solve repairs and learn business while in the field. Based on historical and real-time data, the system asks experts a series of questions, then narrows down potential scenarios, including expected failure causes, required parts, and any other issues. more or more difficult. Technology comes with the power to make the right decisions about alerts. Instead of taking a trial-and-error approach and replacing unnecessary parts, or going with a ‘no-fault’ test, novice technicians and service technicians have the opportunity to complete the repair work. immediately the first time. Technology like this not only closes the skills gap between veterans and novices, but also cuts down on costly and time-consuming training.

Another company moving the needle on AI innovation is Smart Care, America’s first commercial kitchen services company.

Smart Care leaders knew they needed to streamline the process once the organization was overwhelmed with data. A single job order that professionals fill out every day has thousands of points to capture. They needed to figure out how to use technology to build a platform that allows Smart Care to help consumers and professionals by aggregating data and organizing it in a way that is beneficial to both parties.

Smart Care wanted to take advantage of field service evaluations and gain service insight that would help them transition from an old, functional service organization to a structured one. Smart Care did not want to stick to the old business model, so in order to remain competitive, the company decided to find a solution through technology.

They turned to the intelligence service. The AI-driven tool was not only able to read the work order as a living document, but also to analyze the field data every expert captured in the field. With this capability, Smart Care took their most complex equipment and worked with the manufacturer to obtain building materials and FAQ documents, as well as their work order information, to build​​​​ a tool for testing tools used in the field with specific tools.

As a result, Smart Care saw a significant reduction in things like recalls and incorrect parts orders which, in turn, saved the company thousands of dollars and resulted in better customer experiences.

The average cost to repair and maintain restaurants across the U.S. that’s $28 billion a year. Regardless of the current state of R&M in your restaurant, it’s best to be proactive, rather than reactive. Smart Care and UST were both ahead of the times with their organizational strategies. Finding the right service partner that has implemented the latest AI-powered technology can save the restaurant industry billions of dollars by avoiding downtime and ensuring that every kitchen appliance stays up it works as it should.

With over ten years of experience in operations and service, Sidney Lara brings incredible knowledge and insight to Aquant, a software company focused on turning unstructured corporate data into an asset. business for improving customer satisfaction and employee knowledge. He is passionate about solving problems in the field service industry. Prior to joining the Aquant team, Sidney worked in a number of service-related roles at companies such as Nielsen and Rational USA.