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Dataschool Journal

UNOX

Data Driven Cooking

Food service equipment provider Unox is known in the industry for innovation. Their state of the art ovens feature capabilities like fix–it and forget–it presets and self–cleaning cycles to free chefs to focus on what matters most: cooking. To encourage customers to take advantage of smart functionalities, Unox contacted Accurat to build a platform that would make even the most tech-averse chef want to connect.

2019 — 2020
UNOX
IoT analytics software Manufacturing Appliances

Unox gleans insights from connected ovens that help them build better, more efficient products for chefs and managers of professional kitchens. By 2017, they had gathered a wealth of information, but they lacked a centralized approach to data collection that would enable them to scale analysis. With the end–goal of transforming into a more data–driven organization, Unox's CTO Gabriele Ballarin reached out to Accurat to lead a pilot project.

Process

Our work began with a thorough inventory of data streams: information from many different types of ovens, each with distinct capabilities. In the process of parsing, cleaning, and organizing data, we established architecture to process information irrespective of its source.

Next, we began to build a more user–friendly environment for Unox customers to analyze the performance and activities of units, whether they owned one or dozens. Of course, in order for such a program to work, it would need to receive data from connected ovens. Leaning on insights learned from the lengthy process of studying Unox's data, we endeavored to build an irresistible program that addressed user needs with smart technology.

Solution

We designed and developed a new environment for Data Driven Cooking (DDC): an oven–connected platform that automates rote aspects of food preparation. Within DDC, smart features generate data that can be analyzed to optimize production. For example: a chef can save tried and true settings (e.g. 40 minutes at 425° for roast chicken) as "recipes" to standardize fare and make it available for analysis. Observing trends over time on DDC—say, the popularity of chicken dinners on Sundays—users can plan ahead for demand.

For overseers of complex and/or large scale operations, the benefits of DDC are manifold. In addition to monitoring the performance of menu items, managers can deduce areas of overlap and suggest cooking schedules that make the most of oven space and reduce energy costs. They can provide failsafe guidance (and effectively operate units remotely) by sending recipes straight to ovens. Beyond cooking, supervisors can keep track of bigger picture considerations—such as the age of units and time between cleanings—to keep business running smoothly.

Results

In 2019, UNOX won a Kitchen Innovation Award for Data Driven Cooking from the National Restaurant Association. Speaking to CATERING INSIGHTS↗ the same year, Unox North America President Mark Klindera praised DDC as “very innovative" and "unique to the industry."

“[Data Driven Cooking] is very new—we have seen where a couple of competitors have tried to do something similar and were not able to satisfy some very high profile customers here in the US in particular and those customers are now coming to us... We are going to continue to innovate on our ChefTop ovens here in the US because it is a very solid platform for us to continue to innovate and bring new ideas.”
Mark Klindera, Unox President, North America