Unified Office Brings Unified Communications, IoT, AI to Restaurant Industry

By Erik Linask

The rapid pace of technological change can present challenges for businesses as they try to keep up with trends and business needs to communicate internally and deliver to their customers.  But, these same changes also present an opportunity to deliver better service and more effectively manage business operations and maximize service delivery.  With devices, applications, data sources, and networks all connected, businesses can leverage all their resources to optimize business workflows.

The challenges lies in having the resources to deploy, manage, and maintain all these connected technologies, which many businesses simply do not have.  That’s where managed services providers come in and is why the MSP market is growing rapidly.  MSPs are able to take the IT burden from businesses, allowing them to focus on their core responsibilities.

The additional challenge is that vertical markets have their own unique needs in terms of integrating the right technologies, but many products and services are designed to meet the needs of general businesses and require additional work for different vertical markets.  There really isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution today.  Unified Office recognizes the dilemma and has sought to create managed services offerings to address it. 

Unified Office had already developed customized communications solutions for several verticals, including hospitality, healthcare, auto, agriculture, professional services, and restaurants.  Today it has announced an even more complete solution for the restaurant space, its Food Safety Service for Restaurants.  The solutions includes components of its Total Connect Now unified communications platform and Total Connect Now Operations Performance Suite (TCNOPS) IoT services.

“Food safety is a major hot button issue in the restaurant industry right now,” said Ray Pasquale, Founder & CEO of Unified Office.  “The food safety technology market is a $20 billion dollar market with millions being spent each year on everything from germ detection AI technologies to automated food kiosks, IoT sensors, and robot chefs.”

To help restaurants better manage their IT, while enabling them to leverage technologies to remain compliant with food safety regulations, Unified Office has combined its existing customized restaurant communications solution with its IoT platform to help food service businesses maximize their operational efficiencies from both food safety and customer engagement perspectives.

“We saw a way to meet a need with a combination of our existing services, the result of which is not only increased food safety compliance and visibility but also increased revenues as a result of never missing a call particularly at times of peak demand,” added Pasquale.  “In today’s impatient, post Amazon real-time world, lost revenues can occur when customers get busy signals, are put on hold, or worst yet, sent to voicemail.”

The TCNOPS solution enables restaurants to monitor various elements of their facilities that are critical to food, employee, and customer safety, including refrigeration, fan exhaust emissions, prep table temperature, door sensors.  Data from the connected components is analyzed to ensure compliance and efficiency, and can also be provided to HVAC or other contractors so they are able to proactively respond when warning signs appear, even before failures occur.  For instance, if the temperature in a walk-in refrigerator drops below a defined threshold, management, contractors, and other key individuals can be sent automated alerts allowing them to react quickly.  The result is not only ensuring safety protocols are being followed, but a reduction in inventory waste due to equipment failure.

Components of the Food Safety Service for Restaurants solution that run on top of the Total Connect Now platform include:

  • Visual Performance Suite (VPS) – Advanced business analytics to monitor their operations, including the performance of call center reps and IoT devices linked to refrigerators and make tables, etc.
  • Total Connect Now Operations Performance Suite – An IoT service layer designed initially to help improve food safety compliance for its restaurant customers by managing and monitoring the IoT sensors placed on refrigerators, make tables, ovens, lights and air conditioning units, etc.
  • Total Connect Now Sentiment Analysis Suite (TCNIQTM) – An AI solution to enable customers to detect sentiment (anger, exuberance, etc.) in their customers’ voices in recorded calls, a big time saver over having to listen to each call manually.
  • Whisper Coaching – Enables managers to coach employees while they are on the phone with customers, without the customers hearing them.
  • Operations Management Portal – To configure services and track store performance.

In addition, the Food Safety Service gives restaurant managers the ability to upload videos to large VPS wallboards with reminders for safety procedures, such as washing hands, checking temperatures, and more.  These wallboards also show real-time analytics of staff performance and IoT analytics.  Franchise managers are able to monitor performance of all their locations from a single management portal to view real-time performance at any time.

Unified Office’s communication service also allows staff to move between franchise locations with a single dialing scheme, and call flows and forwarding can be assigned to work from any device, making it a true unified communications solution, in addition to driving food safety initiatives.

Unified Office delivers the service as a unified managed services solution, including full customer support, ensuring restaurant management and staff are able to remain focused on their customers and other restaurant operations instead of worrying about their multiple technology solutions.  The platform is already being used at hundreds of restaurants across the country, including more than 100 Domino’s franchises. 

“With Unified Office we can spend more time running our business and training and coaching employees and less time worrying about our phone services going down or our temperatures going up,” said Augusto Garcia, Owner of Domino’s Franchise, Springfield Pie.  “If any indicator goes out of my pre-set ranges, I get a notification so I can stay in charge of our operation from anywhere in the world.  We have also increased our revenue – It has given us a great return on our investment.”

This integration of multiple technologies – unified communications, artificial intelligence and IoT, is exactly what the TechSuperShow embodies with its conference programs, networking opportunities, and exhibit hall in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, February 12-14, 2020.  With ITEXPO, the AI-focused Future of Work Expo and AIOps Expo, IoT Evolution Expo, SD-WAN Expo, and MSP Expo, the TechSuperShow is an experience that gives business leaders access to all the technologies they need to elevate their operations in an always on, always connected world.

Edited by Erik Linask

Group Editorial Director

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