Closed-loop Sushi tracking in Seattle

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Also posted on: The Holloway Angle

A recent Intermec/Microsoft announcement showcased their work for the Blue C Sushi restaurant in Seattle. This restaurant brings the kaiten style of service, popular in Japan, to American diners. A conveyor belt carries plates of sushi past diners throughout the restaurant. Instead of ordering your food, you simply pick up a plate of sushi as it moves past your table. Your bill is calculated by the number of plates that you pick up, as well as by the type of item on the plate.

The restaurant had been using barcodes to provide basic plate-tracking information. The Intermec and Microsoft BizTalk Server RFID solution allows Blue C Sushi to track information in real-time, such as how long the sushi has been on the conveyor, what type of sushi is on each plate, and which types of inventory are running low. The restaurant has successfully used the real-time reporting from the RFID data to optimize its order profile and preparation practices. In addition, it has dramatically cut down on wasted sushi and reduced the number of out-of-stocks of popular items on the conveyor belt. Another plus— the RFID system has improved the speed and accuracy of the customer check-out process.

This system cleverly capitalizes on several strengths of RFID. It is a closed-loop application, where tagged plates are re-used and readers are tied to a limited geographic area, thus making an ROI case simpler to demonstrate. It uses the increased speed and accuracy of RFID-tagged data to provide inputs to intelligent demand planning. And it also leverages the traditional RFID application of automatic inventory tracking.