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Virtual Reality to Make Restaurant Operations More Convenient

VR headsets are popular in the video games industry. However, today, VR is transcending its applications in the entertainment industry. With new medical and corporate uses, it is exciting to see where the technology proceeds. Recently, CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc. adopted virtual reality to implement and test new processes and products quickly.

Simulations for various offers and kitchen configurations

Jacob Brewer, CKE’s senior director of ops, claims that with the VR technology, the company can try various kitchen configurations and equipment virtually. Not only is this process faster, but also reduces CKE’s expenses overall. While other organisations need to construct real or 3D environments to test their products and kitchen configurations, Brewer says that CKE can help prevent such time-consuming measures due to the VR technology.

His team includes an industrial engineer and an electrical engineer. The former devises kitchen layout for maximum efficiency and productivity, while the latter comes up with better equipment for the kitchen. These experts have intricate knowledge about restaurant operations and helped create the simulated program for virtual reality technology.

Now, they can test different layouts, equipment and other factors with ease. Through these virtual tests, CKE can determine the best kitchen configurations at a fraction of the cost. Additionally, the technology helps retain staff by providing user-friendly and customised kitchens.

Saving valuable time for better service

Brewer explains that after implementation of this VR technology in kitchens, several factors are likely to improve. From faster food service at a drive-thru to calculating the number of steps employees need to take to complete an order, virtual reality can revolutionise data collection in kitchens. Moreover, the technology considerably reduces the hassle and time involved in calculating these factors manually.

CKE VR team from left to right: Ryan Turner, Emily Remo and Jake Brewer.CKE

He says that his team can now complete recording, staffing, analysing, building and retesting kitchen configuration processes in a matter of minutes. A simple and convenient drag and drop option allows them to alter the design almost instantaneously. Apart from saving months of valuable time for the Brewer and his experts, the VR technology has cut millions in expenses.

This technology has so far managed to impress every member of CKE’s leadership teams and franchise committee members. At such an event, Brewer’s team demonstrated the power of this revolutionary system, where they compiled results from simulation tests with 10 different equipment and made 5 distinct changes in the kitchen layout. When taken into account together, these changes add up to over 100 tests, that would normally take thousands of days to conduct without the aid of VR.

Since turnover is a major challenge in most work environments, CKE’s VR programme can help create a safe and interactive environment inside restaurant kitchens. This can help retain staff and simplify the training procedure.

Plans to take VR technology further

Brewer assures people that CKE is looking into more VR innovations for a faster kitchen environment. Specifically, his team is currently working on using this technology to establish communication between the various equipment in a normal restaurant kitchen. Although he abstained from going into details, it seems the company is seriously considering VR communication enhancement methods as well.

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