Exclusive Q&A: AMC Theatres automates temperature monitoring

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
Dan Berthiaume profile picture
Rob Bennett
Roh Bennett, director of strategic development, AMC Theatres.

AMC Theatres is using Internet of Things (IoT) sensing technology to ensure proper storage of food products at its dine-in theaters.

Chain Store Age recently spoke with Rob Bennett, director of strategic development, AMC Theatres, about how the movie theater operator is leveraging the SmartSense Sensing-as-a-Service IoT platform to provide continuous asset monitoring and prescriptive workflows in the kitchens of its dine-in theaters.

This enables the company to track food temperature and provide instructions to food prep staff at its dine-in theaters, which deliver entrees such as flatbreads and loaded macaroni and cheese directly to customer seats.

What made AMC Theatres decide it needed to monitor cooler and freezer temperatures?

There weren't any issues. It was just that usually we work with a less experienced staff and needed a system to monitor cooler temperatures that we can follow up on automatically. AMC is also expanding our number of dine-in theaters and had a need for a program that would enable us to consistently roll out food safety.

What led you to select SmartSense?

SmartSense allows to us monitor in-store coolers and freezers without actually being in the theater. The SmartSense solution also gives us the ability to customize everything. Our industry is built on mergers and acquisitions.

As a result, all of our theaters look different. We don’t have the same kitchen design in any two of our buildings. The other thing is, most of our kitchens are usually in the middle of an 800-square-foot building that's filled with concrete and steel. SmartSense was able to work with us to develop a network solution, as well for cellular connectivity.

What was the rollout like?

We tested the technology at two theaters in the Kansas City market to work out the bugs out and send the hardware out of implementation by local installers. We ran a test for six to nine months at those theaters, and then once again, we were comfortable with our choice and rolled it out to all our other dine-in locations. The system is installed within a day, and staff training takes about 15 to 20 minutes.

How does the system work?

Sensors measure the ambient temperature, and then send a repeat reading to a router every five to 10 minutes. Readings are sent to a dashboard that we have access to online or through the SmartSense app. There is no other dashboard or database involved.

What results have you obtained from the technology?

There has been a reduction in manual labor. AMC was able to eliminate a lot of pen and paper-based systems. It's just it's faster using smart sensors to monitor cooler and freezer temperatures. There have also been food cost savings from not losing food as a result of being able to monitor the coolers and appraise them correctly.

Are there any future plans for this technology you can discuss?

As AMC develops and acquires more dine-in theaters, the SmartSense temperature monitorjng system will be part of what gets rolled into them. So this technology a staple for us and those theaters.


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