How We Built This on AWS: ConnectedFresh
The How We Built This blog series features conversations with C-suite executives that are building innovative restaurant technologies on AWS
Every restaurant operator knows the stress of unforeseen equipment outages and food safety concerns. These issues often result in reactive responses, which can be expensive and diminish the time spent enhancing guest experiences. However, restaurant operators can now proactively address issues before they arise thanks to the adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) and smart monitoring solutions like ConnectedFresh.
Deborah Matteliano, Global Head of Restaurant Service Providers at Amazon Web Solutions (AWS), sat down with Tushar Agrawal and Jake Simon, co-founders of ConnectedFresh, to discuss their plans to transform the hospitality industry. Drawing upon their experience designing and deploying IoT solutions for factories, Tushar and Jake now help restaurant operators implement smart monitoring solutions.
They share why early issue detection and preventative maintenance is important. We also explore how restaurants can harness hidden operational datato drive efficiency.
You’ll learn how ConnectedFresh, an AWS Travel and Hospitality Competency Partner and ISV Accelerate Program participant, is driving innovation, enabling restaurants to save costs and enhance the guest experience.
Deborah: What does ConnectedFresh do?
Jake: ConnectedFresh provides turnkey IoT monitoring solutions that automate tasks and monitor equipment to prevent food safety issues and emergency expenses. Solutions include continuous temperature monitoring for coolers, active energy monitoring with anomaly detection, door and leak detection, and much more. Everything is ready to go right out of the box with no technical expertise required, allowing teams to move from being reactive to proactive, while saving a ton of money in the process.
Deborah: What do restaurant operators need to know about early detection?
Tushar: Early detection and predictive maintenance are critical for restaurants using ConnectedFresh’s smart monitoring solutions. By alerting operators to issues before they become problems, our solutions prevent food waste, reduce labor costs, and improve overall efficiency. This proactive approach saves operators money on emergency repairs and prevents downtime that could negatively impact their operations and reputation.
For example, our solutions can help operators avoid costly equipment failures by detecting anomalies in energy usage, temperature fluctuations, or leaks, enabling them to take action before the problem gets worse. For many assets, letting equipment run in this state can prove to be further damaging.
We are enhancing our solution to use machine learning algorithms to identify patterns and anomalies using collected data from sensors in real-time. Based on this analysis, our system will be able to predict when equipment is likely to fail and notify the right person to take action before it becomes a problem.
Deborah: What are some examples of “hidden data”—things that operators wouldn’t know without smart monitoring?
Jake: Smart monitoring solutions can provide operators with a wealth of previously hidden data about their operations. For example, one of our clients, a franchisee of a large quick service restaurant (QSR), implemented temperature sensors in their coolers and saved $800 within 24 hours of the system running. The refrigerator had become unplugged during cleaning and after loading food back in, and it wasn’t cooling anything at all. ConnectedFresh immediately registered a temperature anomaly and sent an alert notification, saving all the food.
Another example of hidden data is energy monitoring, which can reveal fluctuations and anomalies in energy usage that indicate equipment malfunctions or inefficiencies. This data can help enterprise teams optimize their energy usage and reduce costs of utilities and labor, which, when aggregated across many locations, can lead to massive savings. Ultimately, this data can help operators find money they didn’t know they were losing, and redeploy resources to what really matters: improving operational efficiency and driving profitability.
Deborah: How have you seen temperature monitoring evolve?
Jake: Temperature monitoring overall has evolved so much over the years—now we have solutions that are completely ready to go out of the box. The sensors typically work for three to five years on a single charge, utilizing industry leading artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) integrations to pull everything together.
Deborah: What should an operator look for in a temperature monitoring solution?
Jake: When looking for a temperature monitoring solution, operators should prioritize ease of implementation, expandability with more sensor options, and integration capabilities with internal and third-party systems.
Temperature is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many other types of sensors, like energy monitoring, that can pull together hidden data and turn it into impactful, cost-saving insights that drive savings.
Deborah: How do you ensure that the notifications you send are credible and not just noise?
Jake: ConnectedFresh’s temperature monitoring solution is unique because of the advanced rules and analytics that are going on in the background. It reduces false positives and predicts failure instead of simply reporting something that has already happened.
The most credible alerts are those that indicate when equipment might fail or when there is a risk of food spoilage. Without a smart monitoring solution like ConnectedFresh, restaurants may not be aware of issues until it’s too late.
We take into account normal operations, such as defrost cycles or loading products, to reduce false positives and ensure that the notifications we send are credible. We also provide customers with persona-driven dashboards that give an executive-level understanding of their operations and help them focus on the alerts that matter most.
Deborah: How can restaurant operators improve productivity with real-time alerts from ConnectedFresh?
Tushar: ConnectedFresh’s smart monitoring solution eliminates the need for human intervention for mundane tasks like taking temperatures. By automating these tasks, restaurant operators can redeploy their labor towards more value-added tasks like customer service, food preparation, or even exploring new business opportunities.
This not only improves the productivity of the workforce but also enhances the overall customer experience. With ConnectedFresh’s solution, restaurant operators can have peace of mind knowing that their operations are running smoothly in real-time, without the need for constant manual monitoring.
Deborah: Has that increased productivity led to increased profitability?
Tushar: You’re not saving much labor at each individual moment, it’s over time. Over the course of a year, an average sized restaurant can save about $14,000 in productivity time per location with temperature monitoring alone. But the hard costs can include actual food loss, which itself can quickly become many thousands of dollars, not to mention coordination costs, emergency repairs, and more. Catching these things ahead of time can make a huge difference, and we’ve put together a Savings Calculator to help teams visualize this.
Deborah: What advice do you have for restaurants that are looking to improve their operations?
Jake: My advice would be to invest in a smart monitoring solution that can uncover the previously hidden data about your operations, allowing you to make informed decisions and optimize your efficiency.
Not every IoT solution is built the same, especially when it’s added on as a capability to an existing large piece of software. On average, our sensors last 3-5 years and can run for up to a 10-year lifetime. We harness the power of many AWS services, namely AWS Lambda, an event-driven compute platform, and AWS IoT Core, which connect IoT devices and route messages to AWS services without managing infrastructure. These services allow us to easily scale our solution to meet our customers’ needs, in real-time.
We’ve also been validated many times over, including our AWS Competencies in IoT, AWS Travel and Hospitality Competency, and Retail. It’s important to find a partner that you can trust, like those on the AWS Partner Network, that have completed third-party validations, since they’ll grow with you.
Deborah: As you noted, you built your solution using many AWS services. In what other ways has your partnership with AWS enabled you to better serve industry customers?
Jake: As an AWS Partner, we also had the opportunity to join the AWS ISV Accelerate program. The program is a co-sell program for organizations that provide software solutions that run on or integrate with AWS. Our involvement in the AWS ISV Accelerate program opens up important conversations and allows us to join visioning discussions with key customers on their IoT strategies. We can use that direct feedback to innovate and build new capabilities to meet operators’ needs.
The evolution of restaurant operations is well underway, with solutions like ConnectedFresh at the forefront. As they harness the power of AWS to provide reliable, scalable solutions, restaurant operators are empowered to focus more on delivering an exceptional guest experience, confident in the knowledge that their operations are running smoothly and efficiently. The future of the hospitality industry is indeed exciting, as IoT and smart monitoring solutions continue to drive innovation and efficiency.
If you’re interested in implementing a smart monitoring solution, visit the ConnectedFresh IoT Platform page on AWS Marketplace.
Learn more about how restaurant technology providers are partnering with AWS to drive operational efficiency and enhance the guest experience: