Tech Trends

The latest advances in oven technology, digital menus, point-of-sale systems and much more were on display at the National Restaurant Association 2015 Show in Chicago. The following are some of the newest innovations applicable to the bakery business:

The new WP Riehle ITES high speed oven from WP Bakery Group USA defrosts and cooks frozen baked goods in about 10% to 25% of the traditional time. You can defrost and bake pretzels in about eight minutes. This high speed oven uses specialized infrared technology to quickly defrost frozen baked goods, then quickly bake, toast, crisp or brown the food – producing fresh-baked quality pretzels, pastries, dinner rolls, pizza, and more. This infrared technology penetrates deep into the product for rapid thawing and rapid baking while retaining the product's moisture

ShopKeep, the cloud-based technology provider with more than 16,000 registers in use by retail shops, restaurants and others, offers ShopKeep Payments, a fully customizable payment processing solution for businesses that prefer to have one centralized system for their merchant services with no annual contracts. Norm Merritt, president and CEO of ShopKeep, says, “Most merchants do not have the time to fully research the intricacies of payment processing, and because ShopKeep has such transparent pricing options, so many of them have requested a simpler payments solution from us.”

Newton, Mass.-based Paytronix exhibited a system that integrates with restaurant POS systems and allows restaurants to market to individual guests via e-mail, text or social media, based on what the guest prefers. “If you make your marketing more relevant, you’re going to have more significant returns,” said Jim Guest, a sales representative for Paytronix.

Square Register from Square offers a powerful point-of-sale app that turns your smartphone or tablet into a complete point-of-sale system. Customers sign in and tip right on the device. You send receipts via email or text message, or connect a receipt printer to an iPad. Retail merchants can easily handle payments, tipping, digital receipts, inventory, sales reports and more. According to Square, beyond Square Reader and Square Register, this technology affords you the ability to handle secure online invoicing, produce insightful sales reporting and analytics, and handle staff and locations.

BrightSign representatives were on hand promoting their solid-state media players, which allow restaurants to integrate digital signage and menus, automated order taking, social media, music and other functions. Brightsign products allow the restaurant operator to control all of the functions without a PC.

Foodservice operations are finding that digital menus are providing cost saving over time, because they eliminate the need for reprinting and increase sales, said Paul Veltri, a national sales consultant for eTouchMenu, which offers a tablet-based ordering and payment platform that also encrypts the payment information being sent and received during each transaction. And customers report that the tablets are improving their dining experience.