How emerging technology will reshape the professional kitchen

Fast forward 25 years from now. It’s 2044 and we have entered a new dawn when it comes to food and hospitality. What we eat and the way it is served has completely evolved – imagine, for example, getting all our daily nutrients and vitamins from a single pill or patch and food trends that include lab-grown meat, 3D printed food and food implanted with nutrients to suit individual needs.

Added to this, hospitality services are no longer governed by opening times; instead they are available 24/7 and hospitality professionals have to meet this demand by creating businesses that can deliver continual service. The diners of the future perhaps even crave special sensory dining, ‘educational dining’ or instantly changeable restaurant decoration to suit the mood or occasion.

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These are just some of the trends that we can expect to emerge over the next 25 years, according to our independent research of 750 hospitality professionals. At BRITA Professional, we believe a powerful way of future-proofing businesses is to look ahead to the future of the industry and stay ahead of evolving trends. That’s why we asked those immersed in the sector about how they see food, technology and the workforce changing in times ahead.

Imagining the kitchen of the future  

With so much change on the horizon, hospitality businesses will need to ensure their back of house has the capabilities to deliver these exciting dining experiences of the future. With consumers wanting more experiential, personalised and 24-hour dining, the kitchens of the future will need to be set up completely differently to meet these demands.

Investing in new technology

According to our research, hospitality professionals believe the top technological change will be investment in food prepping technology, such as devices that help with weighing, washing and chopping. At the extreme end there could even be robotic chefs and self-loading dishwashers. In fact, a quarter of hospitality businesses say the most likely technological change in 25 years’ time will be kitchen machinery and technology that is self-servicing.

What is clear is that meeting the demands of an always-on world will mean investing in technology and equipment will become more important than ever.

Preventative maintenance to future proof kitchens

With equipment predicted to take on a more prominent role in the kitchen, the pressure for consistency will be significant. But as we know all too well, tech can break from time to time. That’s why preventative maintenance will be more vital than ever to ensure machines always work as they should.

Some 45% of hospitality professionals believe investment in machine protection, such as water filters to ensure equipment stands the test of time, is key to overcoming challenges the future industry may bring. This includes implementing maintenance automatically, such as replacing water filters and self-cleaning settings, to ensure equipment is always working as effectively as possible and eliminating down-time caused by breakdowns.

Sustainability 2.0

When we think of the kitchen of the future, it perhaps goes without saying that by 2044 sustainability will be ingrained in every business practice. According to our research there will also be specific areas of focus. Eight in ten hospitality professionals say achieving zero waste will be the top sustainability initiative. This could be achieved through smart storage devices, automated stock control methods, or management of leftovers.

Other key sustainability initiatives could include professionals demanding kitchen technology that delivers smart cleaning and less water waste (72%) and product innovation that sees a total ban on single-use plastics (53%). With rising costs for waste management and energy consumption, it’s clear that hospitality businesses will need to keep pace with sustainability initiatives and operate as economically as possible.

In conclusion, hospitality businesses have a lot to consider when it comes to the kitchens of the future. What is clear for the industry as a whole is that the more we all work with like-minded, future-focussed and sustainable suppliers, the more businesses can put plans in motion now to meet the needs of future consumers.

With equipment having such a prominent role in all aspects of a hospitality business, maintaining its performance will become even more crucial for not just the efficiency and adaptability of kitchens, but for our overall environmental impact.

By Steve Buckmaster, sales director at BRITA Professional

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