ANN ARBOR, MICH. – Competition for talent is fierce in the foodservice industry. A shortage of individuals with previous experience to fill job openings and train new hires has implications for quality assurance. But a new innovation in augmented reality could help improve the employee training experience.

NSF EyeSucceed uses augmented reality (AR) paired with wearable smartglasses. The hands-free technology can be used to train employees at workstations for shorter onboarding and on-the-line accuracy, allowing for immediate product sales, reduced food waste and higher retention, according to the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF). The technology also supports greater efficiencies in food safety protocols. Self-audits, reporting and inspections are hands-free and made easier with digitizing documentation for task checklists to inventory management.

EyeSucceed enables front-line workers to install, set up and maintain equipment via livestream. Workers can connect with technical experts to diagnose and fix issues to avoid asset downtime and technical travel time.

This leads to another benefit of the technology – remote work. Foodservice operators can significantly reduce travel and on-site visits by offering real-time remote audits, inspections, tech support and collaboration while maintaining quality and safety expectations, NSF said. 

“This capability was proved especially helpful during COVID-19 lockdowns when travel was restricted,” the company noted.

“The need for cost-effective smart solutions has been growing for years. Through the pandemic, the food industry is seeking even more ways to leverage new technologies to improve training and efficiency while maintaining quality and consistency,” said Tom Chestnut, a co-founder of NSF EyeSucceed with Jennifer Tong. 

“NSF EyeSucceed provides foodservice businesses with a customized suite of applications, helping to keep pace with the rapid hiring and increased consumer demand that has resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Chestnut said.

The Wendy’s Co. was an early adopter of NSF EyeSucceed. It was among the first to investigate AR and pilot smartglasses using NSF EyeSucceed in 2020. Wendy’s and its franchisees employ hundreds of thousands of people across more than 6,800 restaurants worldwide.

“Since introducing NSF EyeSucceed to our suite of quality assurance tools, our team at Wendy’s has experienced greater efficiency in our food safety and supplier oversight practices, from product evaluations to audit improvements,” said Jorge Hernandez, vice president of Quality Assurance at Wendy’s. “This hands-free solution has been especially useful throughout the pandemic, as it’s provided connectivity between sites and deepened supplier relationships, despite travel restrictions around the world. As a result, we’ve seen time and cost savings and positive feedback from our employees and supplier partners. We look forward to completing the pilot program, including testing the smartglasses for employee training and scaling up key learnings.”

NSF EyeSucceed can detect human error by monitoring employees to ensure they are making products the exact same way no matter where they are in the world. NSF EyeSucceed uses Google Glass wearable technology that is supported by Glass Enterprise Edition 2 and runs on Google Cloud’s cloud infrastructure.

“Our proof-of-concept testing and implementation in five global markets has proven that NSF EyeSucceed delivers transformational solutions,” Tong said. “We are encouraged by the wide use of applications for this technology to truly transform the foodservice industry — from decreasing the need for in-person visits to vastly improving employee training. For foodservice managers, this means reduced costs while also enhancing food quality and safety for both employees and consumers.”