High expectations of guests, time pressure, shortage of skilled workers and the requirements of food hygiene – professional chefs in system catering or in canteens are under pressure. They are supported in their daily balancing act between quality and efficiency by networked kitchen appliances and the Internet of Things (IoT).
The challenge: Reliable technology and efficient processes in the professional kitchen
Whether in system catering, university dining halls or company canteens, many menus have to be cooked in a short time and with consistent quality. This cannot be achieved with domestic kitchen technology; the professionals in professional kitchens rely on special combi steamers that can cook menus evenly and with pinpoint accuracy. MKN Maschinenfabrik Kurt Neubauer GmbH & Co KG is the manufacturer of this professional cooking technology and equips professional chefs all over the world. The combi steamers as well as other modern multifunctional solutions can be found in canteens as well as in the hotel industry or in restaurants of the system gastronomy.
With modern sensor technology, control via display and automatic cleaning systems, appliances from MKN have been bringing high-tech to professional kitchens for years. But the demands are increasing, for example, guests want more variety and sometimes vegetarian dishes. More and more professional kitchens are now fulfilling these wishes, with recipes and MKN cooking programs from the cloud. This places special demands on the reliability of the kitchen technology and on efficient processes. In addition, food hygiene requirements must be met and documented at all times.
The solution: Smart combi steamers in the Industrial IoT
MKN took the next step some time ago by linking its combi steamers to Deutsche Telekom’s Cloud of Things. Cookbooks and cooking programs can be loaded centrally onto the combi ovens via this IoT platform. For example, the smart solution supports the employees of a large German retail chain: When they press the start button of the networked device at the snack counter, rolls, pretzels or croissants are always delivered in consistent professional quality.
The Cloud of Things can also be used to automatically store and analyze usage data. This provides MKN’s customers with valuable information: What is the electricity and water consumption? When was the last cleaning? Did the combi steamer keep the required temperature constant? This facilitates predictive maintenance for operators as well as compliance with the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) concept. With the automated storage of data in the cloud, food safety processes can be easily mapped.
The result: A first step towards the Smart Kitchen
The uniform cooking programs on the IoT platform are based on the experience knowledge of professionals and automatically ensure a high-quality result. In addition, the information can be transferred from one kitchen appliance to others. A dashboard shows the status of all connected devices and enables intelligent evaluation in real time.
Users benefit from centrally controlled cooking processes, status checks for optimal equipment use and automated control of hygiene regulations. As part of SMART Kitchen, an alliance of companies that digitize professional kitchens, MKN also plans to network other appliances such as gas stoves, deep fryers and warming tubs in the future.