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How Temperature and Humidity Sensors Save Restaurants Money

Food waste accounts for nearly a third of overall restaurant expenses per year, weighing in at an average of 50,000 pounds per location! With the average restaurant spending 30-33% of its revenue on ingredients, reducing food waste and loss events can greatly impact a restaurant's bottom line.


Humidity—the harbinger of every restaurant’s fears

Humidity is the concentration of water vapor present in the air. Generally unnoticeable to the human eye, humidity can still wreak havoc on your restaurant operations—especially when it’s present in your cold storage.


From equipment failure to product spoilage and foodborne illnesses—these are just some of the risks you can mitigate by ensuring you have effective humidity sensors in place.


To help mitigate inventory loss, here are 3 things humidity sensors detect

Without correct humidity monitoring processes in place, restaurants risk inventory loss. Reliable humidity monitoring acts as your early warning system, giving you enough time to take appropriate measures to protect your inventory.


Much like driving with your headlights on at night, you’ll see any upcoming dangers and avoid them in time.


1. Growth of mold, bacteria, and mildew

Humid environments within cold storage can provide the perfect conditions to foster mold, bacteria, and fungus growth. All three can contaminate restaurant inventory rendering it as waste. 


One particular form of bacteria, Salmonella, thrives in food stored in high-humidity environments. Salmonella is one of the leading causes of foodborne illness in the United States, causing 1.35 million infections every year.


2. Excess moisture

When food is exposed to excess humidity, particularly frozen food, this excess moisture can cause its quality to deteriorate.


Though it may not be visually apparent, food exposed to this excess moisture certainly has an inferior taste and texture—both of which won’t go unnoticed by your customers. Bob Schrader, a consultant for food humidity solution MicroGold agrees, stating: “It tends to be on the chewy or tough side.


This is because food is more porous at warmer temperatures and therefore absorbs moisture. When the product falls below freezing point, ice crystals form from the absorbed moisture, leading to deteriorated quality.


3. Early signs of equipment failure

Did you know that the rubber gaskets that keep your cold storage equipment sealed can deteriorate in high humidity? Aside from causing expensive component replacement costs, their deterioration also leads to an increase in internal temperature—causing food to spoil faster.


The worst-case scenario? Your cold storage may stop working, leaving you with thousands of dollars of spoiled inventory. 


That’s not all, poor humidity management also leads to ice build-up on equipment. To combat ice build-up, operators rely on freezer defrost cycles, which in turn generate power surges that drive up your restaurant’s electricity costs.


Sometimes, frost builds up to the point that it blocks airflow within vital components, such as the evaporator or cooling coil. This then causes the refrigerator unit to stop cooling altogether.


Temperature monitoring is also just as vital for any restaurant

Saying temperature monitoring is essential to restaurants is an understatement. It’s a full-blown must-have! 85% of restaurant product loss issues are caused by substandard food storage conditions.


Temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Fahrenheit can spoil sensitive items such as greens or meats in less than 2 hours. These warmer temperatures allow bacteria to thrive and multiply every 20 minutes. 


For most restaurants, this leads to soggy boxes and spoiled inventory. In extreme cases, this can also lead to food poisoning. And don’t even get us started with the headaches these would cause your restaurant—such as responding to customer complaints and health department reports.


Wireless monitoring is revolutionizing restaurant temperature logs

Wireless temperature monitoring is already prevalent in various sectors, such as healthcare, transportation, and logistics. Like a restaurant, these businesses need precise data and can’t afford to throw away valuable products.


Despite an enormous need for sensor technology and many options on the market, only 8% of restaurants are currently using sensor technology because of cost and feasibility restrictions. 


For instance:

Some temperature sensors need to embed wires into the infrastructure of the building to function effectively. Recent innovations have brought WiFi and Bluetooth sensors to market, but the signals can be unreliable in walk-ins or freezers. 


How IoT temperature and humidity sensors fill the gap

While temperature monitoring has always been part of the restaurant business, it’s mostly been done traditionally through manual thermometer temperature checks. 


Unfortunately, manual checks put your inventory at risk through human error, inaccurate readings, or equipment failure. Additionally, traditional thermometers don’t always give accurate readings, and staff can’t monitor facilities during after-hours.


To eliminate inventory loss events and improve profits, restaurateurs and fast-casual franchises have turned to a new solution.


Enter—IoT (Internet-of-Things) temperature and humidity sensors.


IoT Humidity readers and monitoring systems record and compile all of the individual sensor data within a given location. From there, restaurant operators interpret the data and translate it into actionable strategies. 


For example:
Fluctuating humidity readings can prompt staff to perform thorough area inspections when conditions vary, enabling identification factors like moist air seeping through doors and other entryways before it causes food to spoil.


Additionally, alerts allow staff to relocate inventory to alternate storage areas in case of equipment failure—preventing mass inventory loss.


IoT temperature and humidity sensors bring real payoffs

One franchise that saw benefits from temperature and humidity sensors is Eggs Up Grill. Based in the Southern US, Eggs Up Grill is in the heart of hurricane country. Their locations are prone to power outages in the summer and fall.


Looking for solutions, owner Marc Cotone implemented GlacierGrid and found it simple to install and immediately useful.


When recounting how GlacierGrid helped him save money in his restaurant, Marc said that an unexpected ROI driver for him was “saving the labor costs for re-prepping food that had to get thrown out due to spoilage—that can be hours of time!


GlacierGrid—your reliable and user-friendly IoT temperature and humidity sensor solution

We’re proud to offer the first sensor solution designed with restaurants in mind. Our wireless technology uses Long-range Radio Wide Area Network (LoRaWAN) connection rather than Bluetooth or WiFi temperature sensors.


This wireless communication type allows our sensors to reliably and consistently send, record, and measure data even through a restaurant's thick metal-plated concrete walls.


Cut costs without cutting corners

Ultimately, temperature and humidity sensors create more profitable businesses and save restaurant owners time. At GlacierGrid, we’ve seen our clients save at least $15,000 per location/per year in food waste and equipment costs


Take the next step closer to your restaurant’s sustainable future—try GlacierGrid.