My Equipment Wishlist: A Smart Countertop

Mark Freeman is widely known in foodservice circles as an innovator. The global foodservice strategy manager, Ford Motor Co., Dearborn, Mich., (and former senior manager of global dining services for Microsoft) shared with Foodservice Equipment Reports his ideal vision for a serving counter of the future. The dream: A smart countertop that senses when a person is approaching and flashes information about the products on display. In the back-of-house, this smart counter may feature an embedded display that tells chefs where to place product. Freeman also imagines a counter that senses whether food is hot or cold and adjusts the temperature accordingly. “I think about what’s coming, and how it can improve my productivity, the customer experience and the interaction between the customer and the foodservice provider,” he says. Freeman challenges manufacturers to think more innovatively, as well. “There’s risk in blazing a trail, but we need more risk takers.”

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