EXCLUSIVE: Compass trials telemetry to gain clearer insight of kitchen operations

Caffe Dallucci coffee machine

The UK’s biggest caterer has begun trialling telemetry on water filters to make it easier for staff to know when replacements are due and reduce the potential of coffee machine breakdowns.

Compass Group is trialling the concept at the Fareham branch of its Caffe Dallucci concept. It is the first public-facing coffee shop site that the brand runs in the UK and opened earlier this year.

The wireless technology system measures the carbon hardness of the water and monitors any variances in the water so that the company can track how much life is left on the filter and know when a new one should be installed.

Steve Lovegrove, head of business excellence at Compass Group UK & Ireland, said the trial is particularly important given that up to 98% of a hot beverage can consist of water.

He also believes it will assist with addressing lime-scale, one of the biggest maintenance bugbears for coffee machine operators.

“Telemetry really enables us to ensure that the bypass levels, the carbonate hardness, and all those key critical points in terms of how we manage our water, are taken away from the unit manager,” he explained. “Typically the water filters are under the counter, they are forgotten about, and the first somebody knows of them is when the boiler packs up. The new telemetry software that we are trialling is helping to give our team members a basic understanding of carbon hardness and allow them to understand what impact this has on what we do.”

Mr Lovegrove said that Compass is using a telemetry platform from local service partner Espresso Service to monitor the performance and status of the Brita filters.

“What we find is that some of our busier sites are now requiring two or three filter exchanges a year because of the volume of beverages they are selling. But you can also have some sites where one filter change a year is more than sufficient, but the operator wouldn’t necessarily know that without the use of technology to be able to highlight it.”

He added that the use of telemetry within the business would potentially bring down operational costs by offsetting the amount it would normally spend annually on descales and reduce the risk of machines needing to be taken out of commission.

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