LeanPath today announced a new mobile version of its product that helps fight food waste in commercial kitchens. The new LeanPath Go is an item-based mobile tracking system that the company claims was specifically designed for the changes COVID-19 has brought to food operators, namely the shutting down of buffets and hot bars.
Typically, LeanPath’s product offerings use a combination of food scale, camera and cloud computing to help combat waste in high-volume food operations like cafeterias. Kitchen staff puts pre-consumer (i.e., to be served) food on the scale. The camera then snaps a picture of that food and sends the photo to LeanPath for analysis. LeantPath categorizes the reason for the waste (food was burnt, or spoiled, etc.) so that kicthens can better understand why food is getting thrown out and from that information train their staff to reduce waste.
All that, however, was before COVID-19.
Now, the global pandemic has shut down high-volume food operations like cafeterias and even hot bars in grocery stores. Instead of leaving big trays of food out all day long for hundreds of people to interact with, restaurants and grocers are turning more towards pre-packaged to-go items. To adapt, the new LeanPath Go system has ditched the food scale in favor of a mobile device.
From the LeanPath blog post announcing the new system:
Leanpath Go measures waste on an “each” basis when the unit and unit cost are distinct. A pre-packaged turkey sandwich with chips and a pickle spear, for example, is a single unit with a cost-of-goods already assigned to it. Leanpath Go’s picture-based interface allows the user to tap to track one item, or tap-and-hold for fast, multi-item tracking.
LeanPath’s new system then can help identify which items are selling (or not), and the costs associated with making that item so operators can better manage their inventory.
LeanPath isn’t the only company offering high-tech tools to fight food waste. Winnow and Phood both offer similar AI-enabled systems that use a scale and camera to automatically identify food waste in large food service operations.
In today’s crazy, unpredictable world, getting a handle on food waste and by extension the food budget, is something restaurants and other foodservice companies can actually control. And given the thin margins restaurants operate on in good times, being able to control food costs during this downturn could certainly help keep the lights on longer.