Case Study: Meadowbrook Restaurant Co.
Joe Sharp is the Area Facilities Manager for Meadowbrook Restaurant Co. He's in charge of every aspect of the companies' buildings and making sure their equipment is fully functional. He does it all with the help of ControlByWeb expandable I/O controllers.
Sharp has undertaken the task of automating his facilities as much as he can. His goal is to create a safe, efficient workplace for restaurant staff, and to make managing multiple restaurants faster and easier. With ControlByWeb, the possibilities are nearly as big as his imagination.
His first task was to monitor walk-in freezers and refrigerators. Initially, he installed a competitor's temperature monitoring product. However, trouble arose when they received so many false temperature alarms that his staff began to ignore them. Eventually, they had a real equipment failure that went ignored, causing them to lose their inventory in a freezer. Sharp estimates that the loss cost them more than $10,000.
The mission quickly became to find a temperature monitoring system that had enough logic to ignore defrost cycles, typical door openings, etc. He found his answer in the X-600M from ControlByWeb. He is now able to monitor multiple coolers, log typical temperature fluctuations from normal operation, program alarm logic that only sounds for real problems, and add in a variety of building automation for safety and preventative maintenance.
A former refrigeration technician, Sharp simply taped temperature sensors to his coolant lines on the roof using the same X-600M to monitor his freezer/refrigerator performance. Now he knows if his coolers need maintenance a lot sooner, and he can distinguish between a door left open on a walk-in and equipment failure. Similarly, he runs his building HVAC through his X-600M, giving himself a remotely accessible thermostat.
Automatic Equipment Shutoff & Lock Control
To prevent human error from causing a dangerous situation, Sharp turned to the kitchen equipment. He uses the same X-600M to automatically turn on and shut off all his hot cooking equipment each morning and every night respectively. He doesn't have to worry about a mistake causing a building fire. Likewise, the restaurant doors automatically lock and unlock at preset times. If his system doesn't perform as expected, he knows about it while he can still fix it quickly.
Complete Building Automation
Sharp is looking for more ways he can use ControlByWeb controllers to automate his restaurants. He's doing something new all the time. Some of the things he's already automated include:
- Building lights
- Irrigation system
- Water flow & leak monitoring
- Valve control
- Bulk cooking grease tank level monitoring
He's gotten very creative with displays as well, mounting televisions that display the current temperatures and equipment status to kitchen staff and general managers. For Sharp, our X-600M is his choice due to the dashboard feature and sheer I/O capacity. He says, "I told my [boss] at one point 'I don’t think there’s anything that ControlByWeb can’t do.'" We're still waiting for his call that he's found a limitation we can't overcome.
For most restaurant automation tasks, our X-400 is our ideal controller. The newer X-400 features most of the same capabilities, but with our improved Task Builder and ControlByWeb Cloud compatibility.
Contact us to discuss which controller is best for your restaurant automation needs.
As the facilities manager and refrigeration technician for a 6 location restaurant chain in the Atlanta area, I needed a means of monitoring my critical equipment temperatures. I used several different systems that would alert me above a certain threshold, but found that through daily operations there were many reasons why temps would break that threshold for a short time and then return to normal. There wasn’t a problem, that was a normal ebb and flow of equipment operation. False alarms become the norm and when a problem truly does manifests itself, the system that cried wolf doesn’t receive the attention it should.
In my journey of automation I found ControlByWeb. I installed ControlByWeb in one location as a test. The installation was simple and before long I had 12 temperature probes in place and was recording data. Then the fun began, through several tech support calls I was taught how to setup parameters and alerts that would eliminate false alarms completely. With not only threshold alerts but delays, we used the data to determine what normal parameters looked like and set alerts just outside of them. No more false alerts during defrost cycles, truck deliveries, or restocking with doors open. When CBW alerts me, there is a problem.
I gradually created more and more facility automation and supervision with ControlByWeb. The powering on and off of cooking equipment eliminates the risk of staff failing to turn them off and starting a fire. Automatic locking and unlocking of doors, controlling my building lights, replacing my HVAC thermostats, monitoring bulk oil tank levels, controlling my irrigation zones, monitoring the gallons or water per minute flowing into my facility and automatically closing a valve at the main inlet if we start flowing outside of norms to prevent flooding and waste. Temperature sensors on specific refrigeration lines give me real-time pressures as if I have service gauges recording equipment health all the time.
I told my owner at one point “I don’t think there’s anything that ControlByWeb can’t do.”
I claim myself to be an automation junkie, and ControlByWeb has really taken what’s possible to another level. I’ve yet to concoct a scheme that ControlByWeb hasn’t brought to reality.
Meadowbrook Restaurant Co.
Area Facilities Manager