May 17, 2007This article was originally published by RFID Update.
May 17, 2007—Intermec has deployed RFID at the Blue C Sushi restaurant in Seattle, Washington, to improve both inventory management and customer service. The system uses Microsoft BizTalk RFID and an inventory management software solution from integrator Kikata.
Blue C Sushi serves sushi in the so-called kaiten style, in which plates of the fish are placed on a conveyor belt that travels around the restaurant rather than being pre-ordered by customers and delivered to their tables. The conveyor belt winds its way past every table, and customers remove the plates of sushi that they want to eat. Customers' bills are calculated based on the quantity and types of sushi eaten.
The restaurant previously had a barcode-based system in which the bottom of each sushi plate was labeled with a barcode. That system allowed Blue C Sushi to track when plates were added to the conveyor by the sushi chefs, and when they were removed by customers. The new RFID system from Intermec provides far more information, including what type of sushi is on each plate and which chef prepared it, how long each plate has been on the conveyor, and which types of sushi inventory are running low.
This additional information provides Blue C Sushi a slew of business benefits. It can determine the sale patterns of its menu items according to the time of day or day of the week, which allows it to better plan inventory purchasing quantities and schedules. The improved purchasing has enabled the restaurant to pare down its sushi suppliers to one and reduced wasted sushi by avoiding over-orders. Chefs can now observe in real-time which sushi plates are still on the belt and which have been consumed, so they can easily decide which sushi to prepare next. This further cuts down on wasted sushi (the chefs don't prepare more of what is still uneaten) and improves customer satisfaction ("out-of-stocks" on the conveyor belt are less common). Lastly, the RFID system also improves the automation of the billing process, resulting in more speedy and accurate check-out for customers.
Intermec worked with 3M to design the RFID tags that are affixed to the bottom of each sushi plate. The tags had to be specially designed to withstand standard restaurant wear and tear, including resistance to high-temperature dishwashing with harsh cleaning chemicals. The system uses Intermec IF5 fixed mount RFID readers whose antennas are installed both on the conveyor belt and in the sushi chefs' cutting boards.
Read the announcement from Intermec