Members of the general population might think of the restaurant industry as being relatively low-tech, but representatives from this space are rapidly integrating new technologies into it. Everything from cash registers to griddles is controlled by semiconductors to at least some point, and technologists are starting to share some really advanced solutions with those who run their own eateries.
1. Monitors and Electronic Menu Boards
Any number of restaurants have already switched over to using electronic displays in place of traditional menu boards, but the development of extremely thin display chips is helping to spur the adaption of even more semiconductor-based solutions in this kind of business environment. Engineers have even found ways to install semiconductor-based circuit boards on the front of refrigeration cabinets in order to provide an electrical screen that shows what’s inside of the case at any given time. Other units that are designed to promote specific services inside of a restaurant or let customers know about specific deals are becoming extremely popular. A few restaurants are even experimenting with infotainment systems that give customers more information about these deals while they entertain them.
2. Wireless Communication Equipment
Two different classes of semiconductor-powered devices are found in most modern restaurants when it comes to communication. Cloud-powered radio units interface with 5G mobile networks to communicate with Internet of Things equipment that acts as sensors. Some of these sensors might be rigged up to warn restaurant staffers when they’re out of one ingredient or another. Others might be used to ensure that the temperature of a cold storage room never jumps beyond a certain point.
Legacy communications technologies, such as amplitude modulation and single-sideband, can easily fit into a single integrated circuit. That makes it possible to design an extremely advanced handheld communication device that would work in a wide array of situations. Larger restaurants can use these so that members of the wait staff can call back to the kitchen without having to visit in person. Smaller ones might still find them useful when stocking ingredients from shipments delivered to them by truck.
3. Germ Sensors and Detectors
Specialists have developed a system that can detect whether or not a given surface has any traces of listeria on it, which is a relatively major cause of food poisoning. This equipment will automatically notify a food service facility staffer if there’s anything wrong with the equipment that it’s attached to so they can take it out of service and clean it before using any part for preparing food that gets delivered to customers. Considering the increased attention being paid to germs in today’s world, these detectors will probably find a home in nearly any operation that incorporates IoT-based networking into their workflows.
These are just a small sampling of the many ways semiconductors are changing the restaurant industry and will continue to do so for years to come. Though the focus will always remain on providing delicious meals to customers, the way that gets done is likely to change in some big ways.