Rob Grimes: Hi this is Rob Grimes with the IFBTA and I’m really proud today to be with Jeff Pinc who is the Director of Food Service Technology for Panasonic, one of our industry suppliers. So welcome Jeff.
Jeff Pinc: Thanks for joining us at the Panasonic CES experience.
RG: So if we think about how the industry is changing, what is your prediction for where the industry is going to go in the next couple of years? What are the hot topics?
JP: I think the consumer engagement side of it, the infotainment part of capturing a consumers interest into your brand, I think that’s going to continue. Two challenges that I continue to hear throughout the years that’s going to help develop technology is restaurants have to take an order any way I consumer wants to give it to them. Quite frankly, they also want to pay in any form of payment for that transaction. [RG: Well that’s the problem] It’s definitely a problem but in there are solutions of the future as well. Things like text ordering now and mobile ordering and you’ll see some light ray technology from Panasonic – transferring information over light. Anyway, interesting stuff to come.
RG: It’s funny, early on in our conversation you were mentioning the connected automobile of which there are a couple of cars here in this booth. And we looked at that over in your innovation center in New Jersey. But in reality, I just got off the phone with someone who was asking me the future of drive-through. I said well, is there really a future in the drive-through? Is it more about pick up because you really could have a connective automobile in there. It sounds like Panasonic could be making strides to be on the forefront of connected technology through the on mobile whether it’s through food service or not.
JP: That’s the age-old problem everyone is trying to solve… More cars through the drive-through, right? So I wouldn’t doubt that you’re going to see speed lanes installed. [RG: Or we just eliminate the drive-through.] Maybe some beacon technology. You know what’s interesting too, some brands are trying to pull in the drive-through customer into the building now so we’re seeing things like self-ordering kiosks and that infotainment part of the technology. They’re trying to pull them in.
RG: You know listen, we’re standing here at CES and we’re standing here at a huge Panasonic booth – one of the largest presence here at CES. So, you’ve got to walk around this booth and see new things. Is there something that you’ve seen at CES or at Panasonic’s booth that’s really a consumer thing that you’re thinking, “you know what, that’s going to be big in food service going forward?”
JP: I think a lot of the projection and display technology, that you see typically used in the consumer environment are some of the things that we are seeing put into restaurants or will be in restaurants. I think digital menu boards, maybe protection technology versus a digital menu board.
RG: And you guys are big into displays…on the consumer side. I mean, there’s a lot of it here.
JP: Not really, I think were really stepping away from the consumer side A business and really focusing on the B2B side. So what you’re going to see in here, mainly, is commercial displays.
RG: Right, well but a lot of people use commercial displays. No I’m sorry, commercial displays being used in the B2B environment…well great, listen, we really appreciate the support both of you personally and Panasonic as a company as being one of our founding industry partners and we appreciate your joining the IFBTA, and what you do for the IFBTA on a local level and also the educational piece so we want to thank you.
JP: Rob, it’s an honor to be a part of it. Thank you.
RG: Thank you. Rob Grimes here with Panasonic, our global industry partner at CES.