A panel of hugely experienced leaders in foodservice got together at the brand new Middleby Innovation Kitchen in the Spanish capital where the equipment manufacturer showcases many of its equipment lines.
The panel was chaired by Tina Nielsen, editor of FCSI’s Foodservice Consultant magazine and covered a wide range of topics within automation.
“Today when we talk about automation a lot of people’s visuals go immediately to things like robotic arms but when you look at some of the solutions, from coffee makers to conveyors, there is automation built into a lot of that equipment,” said Ken Schwartz FCSI, CEO and president of SSA.
The full panel line-up for the discussion was:
- Meghan Daro, vice president, consultant services, The Middleby Corporation
- Kathleen Held, CEO, Cini-Little International
- Armando Pucci FCSI, foodservice consultant, Pucci & Associados
- Thomas Mertens FCSI, consultant, S.A:M Strategy Consulting
- Ken Schwartz FCSI, president and CEO, SSA
Not a futuristic concept
During a fascinating discussion, watched by a live audience at the innovation facility, the panel touched on a wide range of discussion points, including how automation can improve efficiencies and help solve the challenge of staff shortages.
Staying up to date with the latest innovation is particularly important to FCSI consultants who often work on projects with a completion date up to five years into the future. Automation is sure to continue to feature prominently in new equipment, according to Middleby’s Daro.
“You have consistency, automation, less food waste, less training – it answers a lot of our labour questions all into this automated process relative to the role,” she said.
“It is very easily implemented; it is not a futuristic concept, it is happening right now, it is about how we leverage it and take advantage of it and make sure we are executing it in operations.”
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