With restaurant brands like Faasos, Behrouz Biryani, Lunch Box and many more under its wings, Rebel Foods is one of the largest cloud kitchen restaurant companies that serve across 35 cities in India via online food delivery service. The company owns 2,200 restaurants in 350 locations pan India and 301 cloud kitchens across three countries. Currently, the company works with 10,000 employees and claims to be one of the largest and fastest-growing internet restaurant companies. This nine-year-old Mumbai-based startup, Rebel Foods, also boasts of having a large customer base across the country and also has tie-ups with online food delivery platforms like Swiggy and Zomato.
Rebel Foods, with $90 million revenue and a 110% year-on-year growth, has aimed to create an entirely disruptive model of establishing the largest chain of restaurants on the cloud. By creating the restaurants on the cloud, the founders omitted their location dependency, which in turn helped them keep their business open even during the pandemic.
According to a news report, even now the company has approximately 200 of their kitchens open. Although there are still some hassles, which are impacting their network uptime to a certain degree, the company is still experiencing significant customer loyalty. The company believes that this is due to the pandemic, where customers are becoming less “experimental” and prefer ordering from more trusted brands.
The company has also witnessed a rise in customer demands for more healthy food products amid this lockdown, and therefore, in order to keep their business sustainable, it started offering personalised diet plans as well as DIY meal kits for people staying at home. However, the pandemic outbreak brought in the paramount urgency for restaurant companies to take necessary steps that would ensure staff hygiene and premise sanitation, in order to prevent the spread of any virus/contamination through hands and other sources.
In fact, according to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, which recently issued guidelines that food business operators need to follow in order to keep their restaurants open during this pandemic. These guidelines involve a lot of criteria which includes maintaining social distancing, keeping proper sanitation of the restaurant, and keeping the food operation appropriately disinfected.
Having said that, while the industry as a whole has struggled to keep track of hygiene and sanitation practices in their kitchens, Rebel Foods with multiple brands under its umbrella has taken great pride in ensuring that that is not the case with them. Comprehensive hygiene and sanitation in kitchen premises was critical for companies involved in the food business. Rebel Foods had to address some standard operating procedures for their restaurants to be open, and in order to keep up the accuracy of these SOPs implementation, the company decided to replace their industry-standard manual monitoring model thereby ensuring that they don’t have to rely on any manual monitoring which was sporadic.
According to the company, maintaining proper hygiene and sanitisation level on their kitchen premises was their key focus. When asked, Mukhtar Ansari, Associate VP-IT of Rebel Foods Private Limited said that “We wanted to ensure fully that our staff was wearing the prescribed PPE, washing their hands at regular intervals, and full premise sanitisation was taking place.”
The Solution & Benefits
Rebel Foods required a comprehensive solution that could keep continuous monitoring of their day-to-day operational decision which will keep their business in check during the crisis. After careful consideration, the company came across Wobot, a company that provides computer vision solutions for its customers to monitor their business operations. Wobot analysed the situation, and after going through their existing CCTV infrastructure, it suggests a cloud-based AI-powered video analytics solution for Rebel Foods.
Explaining the process, Adit Chhabra, CEO of Wobot.ai said, “Since their key focus areas were hygiene and sanitisation we suggested to them our hygiene model which includes use cases such as PPE monitoring which includes proper application of hairnets, gloves, uniforms, and aprons, facial recognition-based hand-wash detection, and premise sanitisation module including floor mopping, deep cleaning, and wiping.”
According to the Chhabra, the video analytics tool has been designed to plug into the existing CCTV cameras already positioned in the kitchen premises and starts keeping a check on the process compliance that involves hygiene and safety. With computer vision and machine learning algorithms, the solution identifies people, objects and their activities.
Further explained the deployment process Chabbra stated that to avail the solution organisations need to choose from pre-trained models and assign it to a camera from tracking and monitoring employees. The solution tracks explicitly and monitors the employees responsible for specific areas and checks them against the assigned model for the camera. Once any of the stipulated guidelines are violated, it sends a real-time notification along with red-flagged video clips to relevant managers via the app or email.
According to Rebel Foods, the kitchen staff or the employees didn’t face any deployment issues with this cloud-based AI solution on their already-established CCTV infrastructure in the premises. Wobot’s hygiene and safety suite have been designed to detect personal protective equipment, necessary hygiene and sanitisation, hand-wash compliance for 20 seconds, social distancing among employees, crowd count, as well as unauthorised access of personnel. The solution also provides a well-equipped ticketing platform for issue capturing and resolution.
“These days it is of utmost importance to opt-in for an AI-based hygiene and safety monitoring solution,” said Ansari. “Working with Wobot has helped us to keep an eye on the hygiene and quality of operations within our kitchens which has enabled us to serve our customers better and has also helped us in improving employee transparency in our business.
Post the deployment, the company experienced some direct benefits in terms of improvement in their hygiene and safety of food operations. It also ensured a 100% sanitisation level in their kitchen premises, which in turn helped in securing their employees and their customers amid this crisis. Also, with this advanced AI solution, the company managed to cut down a substantial cost of manual monitoring of their restaurants, risk of non-compliance, as well as massively improved their customer Net Promoter Score, which measures customer experience and predicts business growth.
Alongside, keeping a minute check on the employees has not only improved the sanitisation level but also drastically enhanced the productivity of their employees. “We have been using Wobot’s tool for quite a while now. It is safe to say that the hygiene and cleanliness level in our kitchens has improved drastically, which directly leads to fewer complaints by customers and a huge increase in customer satisfaction,” said Ansari. “The saved cost from the manual monitoring had helped a lot to save in terms of resource spent amid this pandemic.”
This unprecedented time has forced restaurant companies to ensure the maximum amount of hygiene and disinfection to keep their business functional. However, that’s not always a simple task for all companies, due to the cost and workforce issues. And therefore, it is critical to deploy a technology solution that can remotely monitor various process compliances required for food companies, especially hygiene. “A tool like Wobot helps in eliminating the requirement of manual monitoring that is often inaccurate and time-consuming while making an organisations’ daily operations efficient and risk-free,” concluded Chhabra.
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Sejuti currently works as Senior Technology Journalist at Analytics India Magazine (AIM). Reach out at email@example.com