Whether we like it or not COVID-19 has established in our lives. While the world is struggling with the changed order, few countries have crossed the bridge and are slowly getting back to business. India is eagerly waiting for the dust to set and life to begin all over again. How soon we are able to do so is a million-dollar question at this moment. However, what all are sure of - is the need to urgently find a new way, evolve strategies and be ready for the post COVID scenario.
Back to business
The food industry too is slowly but steadily finding its lost ground. In the past few weeks, home delivery services have been resume and restaurants are seeing a gradual spike in numbers. With no-contact deliveries and online payments, consumers are fast gaining confidence in ordering food from restaurants online. While consumers are also eagerly waiting to get back to eating out, the industry itself is trying to find ways to make the consumer experience more safe, hygienic and assuring. Post-COVID, a lot is sure to change in the way people plan their eating outs. Restaurants, on the other hand, have to re-invent themselves in the way they cook, serve and meet the high standards of hygiene. And the only answer is - shift towards automation and Artificial Intelligence for the benefits of all. The minimal use of human hand assures the food is safe, hygienic and perfect to taste as every aspect is pre-programmed.
Automation, the way forward
In this fast-changing scenario, the food industry should brace itself to more stringent rules for non-home cooked food preparations. One can easily foresee the introduction of strict guidelines by the government taking the benchmark of food safety and hygiene a notch higher. In many parts of the world traditional cooking equipment such as tandoor and gas stoves, which are both risky as well as unfavorable for the environment, have been banned in commercial spaces. While new rules might soon be laid down to beat the virus at all levels, consumers themselves will be more discerning in times to come. They will pick restaurants which follow high standards of hygiene and where social distancing is practiced in the best possible way. A recent study done by an Indian restaurant-tech-solution platform cited more and more people are moving towards digital ordering and payment, where they do not have to touch anything other than sanitized cutlery during their restaurant visits.
The professional kitchens are in for mega changes world over. Restaurants will have to upgrade themselves with new-age technology which depends a lot on Artificial Intelligence and complete automation. Smart combi-ovens are the ‘new normal’. These smart appliances can be programmed in such a way that they can cook the best meals with minimal intervention. They can make any chef’s craftsmanship come true with ease. From baking, steaming to giving the final finish with the right color crust, aroma and texture; they can do it all. What’s more, most of the intelligent equipment come with automatic self-cleaning function and hence nothing is left to chance when it comes to matters of cleanliness and hygiene. Even the HACCP data can be retrieved from the units automatically which can become a mandatory requirement in future for commercial kitchens to maintain.
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