Quick Serve Restaurants & IoT: Have We Reached Critical Mass?

The pace of IoT adoption has been the subject of lots of news lately. Typically, the industrial, telecom, and utilities segments seem to garner most of the coverage and attention. We continue to see those segments showing signs of acceleration, but a fourth market segment has picked up lately – in both the news and in our own experience here at Vitria – the Quick Serve restaurant segment within retail.

At first glance, it might not seem obvious why IoT would have a number of intensive use cases in the Quick Serve segment, but a close look yields a number of interesting use cases and compelling value propositions.

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One of the hottest use cases seen in the press lately is food safety. The recent Chipotle experience puts the issue in the spotlight. Franchisees of the popular chicken chain Chick-fil-A are now leveraging low-power wireless sensors and gateways to monitor their walk-in freezers and refrigerators. Close monitoring and analytics of this data helps ensure food safety.

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Food safety is only the most obvious use case for IoT, there are many other use cases that include operational efficiency, workforce management, energy management, and more. Another example of the acceleration of IoT in quick serve is AT&T’s recent announcement on their IoT platform in the fast food industry. We really like the comment from Saverio Romeo of Beecham Research: “the real core of the opportunity in the IoT is around the data that is produced in the environments in which we can connect, and the use of this data through applications. … The IoT is a world of services and the services will be developed thanks to the data.”

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Finally, the world’s largest quick service restaurant chain is accelerating its activity in IoT. The simplest indicator is that the company is now regularly sponsoring an IoT category in the SXWX Pitch Competition. We can all expect to see a wide range of IoT use cases from McDonald’s in the months and years ahead.

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