In the latest episode of Hospitality Hangout podcast, Michael Schatzberg “The Restaurant Guy” and Jimmy Frischling “ The Finance Guy” chat with David Rolston, president and chief executive officer at Hatco Corporation about automation and efficiency in foodservice equipment.
Rolston has an engineering background and has been with Hatco for twenty seven years. Hatco was the first to recognize the need to sanitize dishware and developed the technology to do so. Hatco, now one hundred percent employee-owned company, designs equipment for foodservice, including warming, holding, and cooling equipment.
Shatzberg asks about the company getting into automation and efficiency, Rolston says, “now it’s all about labor savings and so these electronic eyes really aren’t much of a labor savings but they were meant to be an energy savings device, so that we’re basically looking across the surface of a heated surface, see if there’s any food there and if there’s no food there we turn the heaters down. It’s a very simple concept.”
Rolston says when asked about Minnow, “We got into lockers before Covid, we were fortunate that we had started focusing on this area prior to Covid hitting because it became a big deal and during that process we started to see ads for Minnow lockers and we thought oh my gosh, there’s another competitor from outside the industry and you know, just one more person we got to deal with as far as competition.” “We realized there was tremendous synergy here because they had great depth in both industrial design and the software that was going with this system.” Rolston shares that Hatco is manufacturing Minnow lockers.
In terms of robotics, Rolston says, “you know you can have an actuating lever that pushes a burger off a conveyor or onto another conveyor and these days I think more about automation than I do robotics and to me automation is a broader category that includes software and I see software adoption tremendously throughout our business and restaurants. When you think about something as simple as POS adoption I mean, what restaurant doesn’t have a POS these days whereas you go way back they didn’t have that and the savings that has brought us is tremendous. So I think software adoption is a no-brainer for restaurants and for manufacturers.”
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