What is the Internet of Things (IoT)? According to science magazine, WIRED, it’s “…made up of devices — from simple sensors to smartphones and wearables — connected together”. It’s a network of ‘things’ that are connected to the internet and are able to interact with each other, gather information and create an action to help with certain tasks.
Our lives would function very differently without IoT, but here, CRM software provider PragmatiQ Solutions, take a closer look at one industry. You might have noticed a few cropping up near you, or there’ll be talk of one coming soon — it’s pop-up food stores. With December getting closer, we’ll investigate how IoT assists in the industry and how it assists with the running of Christmas markets.
The rise of pop-up catering
You’ve probably noticed that pop-up dining is a fast-growing trend as people are embracing the street food culture. Google Trends revealed that “pop up restaurant” was rarely searched for before 2009 and search volume around the term rocketed in 2014. Along with this, German-style Christmas markets have become a key attraction in the UK over the past 15-20 years. But why is their popularity suddenly soaring? It seems it is the millennial generation that are the biggest fans of the new trend, due to their enjoyment for novelty and creativity.
Restaurateurs are also realising the low costs of running a mobile business and the lack of long-term investment. And, with the assistance of IoT, it’s never been easier.
Taking it mobile
The Internet of Things has allowed businesses to be more confident in taking their business mobile and has assisted with the success of pop-up catering stores.
First of all, stock needs to be transported around to different countries in pop-up stores and Christmas market and IoT can improve traceability and food safety standards. Heat control systems can keep food stocks at ideal temperatures, reducing the risk of food contamination or spoilage. This is the same in all pop-up food stores where hygiene is a key consideration for the business and the customer. It’s important that restaurants can trace and track their supply chain, especially with the enforcement of food standard regulations, and it’s no different for mobile food stores. Connected supply chain management systems allow businesses to track where their produce has been before it arrived with them.
IoT is also able to help with inventory control which is especially important for mobile stores who don’t have access to a large kitchen or storage unit. Instead, it’s key that they can predict how much they’re likely to sell in one day and at what times of the day stock should be replenished, this is often controlled with point-of-sale platforms which record real-time sales. It’s also true that in a smaller space, there is less room to store paperwork and files, so a remote stock control system is handy.
Reducing energy and costs
The latest software and technology can help reduce costs for food pop-up businesses.
As discussed, temperature control can reduce the risk of food spoilage. This is important for pop-up stores which don’t always have easy access to back-up supplies. With the popularity of these stores and Christmas markets, food that is unusable can be detrimental to profits and result in many unhappy customers.
Energy usage and costs can also be monitored with IoT. Many pop-up food store owners and Christmas market operators enjoy the industry because of the low costs involved. Monitoring fixed costs and lowering them is something that helps to keep outgoings even lower. IoT can inform of drops in fridge temperatures for example which can tell employees that it’s not running as efficiently as it could be. Prevention technology is also able to anticipate maintenance and replacement on HVAC refrigeration and lighting which reduces the risk of large unexpected costs.
It’s clear to see how IoT helps with the running of pop-up stores and in particular, Christmas markets. These types of systems don’t have to be expensive either, even an app that can lead to cost savings and reduced energy costs can still be more than beneficial for a business.