Chipotle deploys RFID for traceability and food safety
Chipotle Mexican Grill has become one of the first restaurant companies to announce that it is piloting Avery Dennison RFID solutions to optimize their operations and trace ingredients at its distribution center and approximately 200 restaurants in the Chicago area. The spotlight is on the restaurant sector as food safety along with better supply chain and inventory management becomes ever more critical. To address these market needs, Avery Dennison is leading a number of initiatives to drive digital transformation in this field.
"RFID labels transform inventory management into an automatic, digital function that optimizes restaurant operations and gives our Restaurant Support Centers access to inventory data in real-time. This integrated technology is improving our employee experience in participating restaurants while also benefiting our supply partners.” — Scott Boatwright, Chief Restaurant Officer at Chipotle.
Scott Boatwright, Chief Restaurant Officer at Chipotle remarked: "RFID labels transform inventory management into an automatic, digital function that optimizes restaurant operations and gives our Restaurant Support Centers access to inventory data in real-time. This integrated technology is improving our employee experience in participating restaurants while also benefiting our supply partners.”
Chipotle will be using serialized RFID case labels to track ingredients from suppliers to restaurants. Ingredients arrive at Chipotle restaurants affixed with Ultra High Frequency (UHF) RFID enabled case labels and are scanned by staff using RFID readers. The RFID system does not require line of sight and reads hundreds of tagged items in seconds. The tech-enabled traceability system is designed to allow the company to act on food safety and quality concerns swiftly, efficiently, and precisely.
Avery Dennison has partnered with RFID software provider Mojix, plus scanning and printing hardware provider Zebra Technologies on the pilot.
"We have been developing our RFID program for two years and see this innovation as the next evolution of traceability and food safety. We are excited to test this innovation in the field with our suppliers and restaurants to enhance our robust traceability program," added Laurie Schalow, Chipotle’s Chief Corporate Affairs and Food Safety Officer.
Francisco Melo, vice president and general manager at Avery Dennison Avery Dennison Smartrac, highlighted the drivers for the project: “Food safety and inventory efficiencies are paramount for the food industry. RFID plays a critical role in solving these challenges by enabling accurate inventory visibility, operational improvements in labor, and end to end traceability. We are pleased to be working with Chipotle on this game changing initiative.”
At Avery Dennison we believe that traceability across the food supply chain is critical to optimizing operations. Digital ID solutions offer the opportunity for businesses to avoid overproduction by gaining better visibility into inventory and products' expiration dates—reducing spoilage and waste.
Implementing RFID now also sets the foundation to drive future sustainability initiatives: We are confident that, over time, the data collected through RFID-enabled supply chains will enable Chipotle to optimize food supply to meet consumer demand.