Millions of food service meals are planned, prepared and served every day. That’s a ton of data. What if commercial kitchens could be digitized and connected like sensors across a network to streamline, track and analyze that data to make food service more efficient, more future-proof, safer and more profitable?
Restaurant and food service operators can now take the guesswork out of running a kitchen with SousZen, the digital platform that informs decision making across the entire operation by connecting food preparation, inventory management and trends to create actionable insight. Never-before-collected kitchen data from the Back of House (BOH) will enable foresight into new ingredients and flavor trends for whole restaurant chains and individual food cart operators along a connected food platform.
SousZen bridges that technological deficit with a fully integrated platform that digitizes every aspect of food prep to help restaurant operators ensure quality, reduce costs and make informed business decisions. SousZen is led by accomplished technologist and restaurateur Stephen King, and advised by world-renowned chef, Mark Miller.
SousZen addresses a glaring imbalance of technological investment. While $10 billion has been invested in Front-of-House (FOH) systems, only $500 million has been contributed to the BOH.
“The front-of-house focus has been on counting beans, not making them!” said Stephen King, CEO of SousZen. “No one is focusing on Back of House, which is the central nervous system of the restaurant business and the heart of the dining experience. We are.”
Aside from the cuisine itself, loads of incredibly useful information flows through the kitchen.
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“But that data is largely untapped, overlooked in favor of Front-of-House systems on Point-of-Service, Ordering, Delivery, Reservations, and more,” said Mr. King. “That’s all important but BOH has been begging for innovation. By digitizing and connecting kitchens across a network, we’ll create insights that will identify new flavors and ingredients to make amazing food that’s healthier, safer, cheaper, local, consistent and better for the planet.”
Strategic innovation partner, Xinova designed the SousZen venture. Innit was tapped as ideal partners for their culinary know-how combined with their smart oven hardware and connected platform technology. Stephen King was recruited through the Xinova Innovator Network to lead the operation, in which the popularity and recipe of, say, a paella tested in San Francisco is recreated taste-for-taste in Houston.
“The key will be the growth of the network of restaurants and food service outlets that join,” said David Kraft, Global Head of Innovation Services at Xinova. “We’ll know what people are eating and what modifications are being made and so get access to an amazing store of data that will be anonymous but hugely valuable across regions, enabling powerful new insights that globalize and anticipate local trends. Ultimately, everyone wins. Diners will have local access to tastier options on dynamic menus that keep up with shifting food trends. Restaurants streamline their kitchen operations and reduce labor costs to improve their bottom line. The platform is a rising tide that lifts all kitchens.”
As more connected appliances and cookware enter commercial kitchens, SousZen is positioned to serve as the ubiquitous control layer that automates kitchen management. The SousZen SaaS network grants subscribing operators, customers and other chefs access to recipes and reports generated from network data, which includes demographic, psychographic and purchasing profiles. These reports also pinpoint seasonal preferences and emerging trends, giving retailers more tools to plan the growth and development of their menus and businesses. The SousZen system facilitates easier paths to business growth by reducing startup costs and staff needs, while mitigating food safety and quality risks and improving the odds of successfully introducing locally-targeted menus.
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SousZen leverages its data modeling and forecasting capabilities to introduce new menus with confidence. Analyzing data from pilot programs in specific leading markets, retailers can determine the most likely successful choices of new menu items. The data collected by SousZen is a valuable asset to partners, purveyors, and distributors. Over time, SousZen’s data patterns help optimize ordering, distribution and identification of emerging locations for business development.
The design of SousZen improves food and worker safety while minimizing food waste. According to the World Health Organization, each year over 600 million people get sick and 420,000 die from more than 200 different foodborne diseases caused by unsafe food. Digitized cooking processes in both restaurants and street carts can ensure food is consistently prepared safe-to-eat, and SousZen’s induction cooktops offer a non-hazardous and more hygienic working environment. Auto-ordering from local vendors ensures ingredients are more fresh, organic and local, while supply chain management is more efficient via hard data on what’s on the shelf, reducing wasteful over-ordering.
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