Welbilt takes watershed step towards the connected kitchen era

Welbilt has given its clearest indication yet of the direction it sees commercial kitchens heading by debuting a suite of digital services that will essentially allows chefs to manage their equipment from a single dashboard in future.

The company has been giving global customers a glimpse of its ‘KitchenConnect’ platform at this week’s National Restaurant Show Association in Chicago, one of the key dates on the North American industry trade show calendar.

It has been demonstrating KitchenConnect to chefs and caterers, describing it as a “digital solution for a new generation of connected kitchens”.  The services have been developed by engineers in conjunction with professional chefs and foodservice experts to connect the kitchen in the most advanced way possible.

Modules includes report management, asset management, menu management, quality management and service management. It provides real-time insights, allowing for better equipment performance reducing costs and food waste, improving work flow and food quality, and limiting downtime.

Hubertus Muehlhaeuser, president and CEO of Welbilt, which sold $1.45 billion (£1.07 billion) of catering equipment last year, said: “Our customers are investing in their digital infrastructures and so are we. Welbilt’s digital transformation is driven by the fact that equipment connectivity adds economic value to a kitchen operation and that it is the basis for increased kitchen automation.

“KitchenConnect will help our customers to take their entire kitchen operation to a new level and increase the profitability of their business. By providing and analysing data needed to manage and optimise kitchen operations it allows operators to focus on superior guest experience and not the equipment.”

It remains to be seen how quickly KitchenConnect will be introduced to the UK market, but the fact the technology follows an open approach means it should be able to offer the connection flexibility restaurants and large chains need regardless of where they are in the world.

Significantly, it allows operators to connect equipment from companies other than Welbilt, while Welbilt equipment can be connected through other already existing or preferred platforms.

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