There are plenty of inventions coming out of Homaro Cantu‘s mind, but one that was mentioned in a recent profile of Moto‘s chef in Inventor’s Digest will have a huge impact on restaurant operations:
One is for a software program that’s taken me eight years to develop. Like the iPhone’s Siri, it’s a voice-command technology, an automated restaurant management software system.[The program is billed as the first point of sale system to become fully automated and ready for commercial use in 2012.]
Restaurants are complex businesses. They lose lots of money. You’ll be able to run an entire office entirely through voice command. Monitor profit and loss in real time. It’ll be linked to electricity meters and shit like that. And it can speak any language.
Looking back on a la minute cooking brought to the US by Barry Wine at the Quilted Giraffe in the mid-1980s (see Super Chef pp. 179-180). Barry’s system required chefs, like a young Tom Colicchio, to precisely time food so that all the components of a dish were cooked when the customer order it. Cantu’s system will allow a head chef to monitor all aspects of the kitchen and dining room to the second.
Creating a software package that is all things to all people in the restaurant would be quite a feat. However, this brings all kinds of questions to mind. How does he intend to integrate the accounting system with the pos? Will an owner want his cash flow statement, balance sheet and p&l integrated into the pos? Will the CPA want to learn new software to do the taxes? There’s a quantum leap from an automated expediter to restaurant HAL. Who is going to configure and maintain the theoretical cost recipes and perpetual inventory without making mistakes in a restaurant where the menu changes daily? How will restaurants afford that? This stuff is all possible but not probable….yet.