For sushi restaurants, monitoring the quality of its products, including raw seafood, is critically important.
Kaiten sushi restaurant Blue C Sushi implemented RFID (radio frequency identification) from Intermec and business process technology from Microsoft to track its food and automatically calculate customers' bills. The system of Intermec RFID readers and antennas, Microsoft BizTalk RFID, and integrator Kikata's Ebisu Live Inventory Management software tracks food as it moves from the kitchen to customers.
Blue C Sushi restaurants are based on the concept of kaiten sushi where customers select plates of sushi from a rotating conveyor belt that winds through the restaurant moving past every table. Customers pay based on the number and types of plates they choose. At Blue C Sushi, plate colours indicate prices for specific items.
RFID technology replaced the original tracking system, which used bar codes on the bottom of the plates. That system could only track the time a plate was put on the conveyor belt and that a customer had pulled it off. The new RFID system provides much more detailed business intelligence, like what item is on the plate, how long it has been on the conveyor, which chef produced it and which menu items are running short.
The system uses the Intermec IF5 fixed mount RFID readers in conjunction with customised Intermec RFID antennas that are placed into the chefs' cutting boards and integrated into the conveyor. Intermec worked with 3M to create tags that adhere firmly to the bottom of the plates and can withstand restaurant wear and tear, including hot dishwashing cycles with harsh detergents.
"This technology improves our understanding of what customers want, and what items are popular at particular times or on specific days of the week," said James Allard, co-founder of Blue C Sushi. "It has greatly improved how we plan for and order food and help us to centralise the ordering of food from one location, while helping us reduce waste. This technology is going to help us continue bringing customers in and enable our business to grow more quickly."
The Microsoft BizTalk RFID-based Kikata solution keeps the chefs better informed as to what is on the conveyor belt, what needs to be made and what inventory levels are. The system also automates the billing process for more accurate checks, improving customer satisfaction.
"Blue C Sushi has proven that even a small business can reap great benefits with RFID technology," said Anush Kumar, BizTalk RFID senior product manager at Microsoft Corp. "The combination of Intermec RFID technologies and Microsoft BizTalk RFID simplifies the restaurant's processes while providing powerful intelligence to streamline their business."
Intermec Inc. (NYSE:IN) develops, manufactures and integrates technologies that identify, track and manage supply chain assets. Core technologies include RFID, mobile computing and data collection systems, bar code printers and label media. The company's products and services are used by customers in many industries worldwide to improve the productivity, quality and responsiveness of business operations. Intermec offers a complete RFID product suite including readers, printers, tags, labels and inlays supported by RFID implementation services to guarantee system performance, all from a single source.