A consortium led by the University of Turku has received two million euros in funding from Business Finland for the Dining Flow project, aiming to enhance diners’ and service providers’ experiences and to increase sustainability in self-service restaurants by reducing waste. The project is a part of KONE’s The Flow of Urban Life program within the Veturi initiative.
The Dining Flow project addresses the Restaurant industry’s needs to understand and improve the diner's experiences in self-service restaurants and the industry responsibility to reduce food waste. The project also aims to develop data-driven decision support tools to enhance the decision-making process.
Dining Flow utilizes the University of Turku’s Flavoria® research platform, which is a self-service restaurant. In this living lab, researchers have the possibility to monitor diners’ activities, decisions, and preferences as well as the amount of waste. This information combined with data provided by various systems such as automatic doors, elevators, and building automation systems creates an interesting data ecosystem that could be used to both predict and influence customer flows within the self-service restaurant settings to enhance experiences and reduce different kinds of waste.
“The University of Turku prides itself on being multidisciplinary. There can hardly be a better example of multidisciplinary research than the Dining Flow project, which draws on expertise and experience of software engineering, mechanical engineering, experience design, food science, to mention a few. Tackling today’s difficult problems requires a wide range of competences”, comments professor Jaakko Järvi, dean of the Faculty of Technology at the University of Turku.
Behind the Dining Flow project is a transdisciplinary team, which consists of different knowledge areas from University of Turku (Department of Computing, Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Functional Food Forum, and Turku School of Economics) and companies from several industries: KONE (as Veturi-company), JAMIX, SmartKitchen, Haltian, Safera, METOS, Suomen Yliopistokiinteistöt (SYK), and SODEXO.
"Enhancing diners' and service provider's experiences while improving people flow in urban spaces in a sustainable manner is an exciting venture for us at KONE. We are eager to solve the challenge by utilizing data collected with our equipment, together with the consortium and as part of our Flow of Urban Life program within the Veturi initiative,” says Janne Öfversten, digital innovation lead at KONE.
“Jamix wants to be an active party in enabling the flow of data in the professional kitchen ecosystem. It is a key part of our strategy and by utilising the data available we, and other companies as well, can create new exciting features and capabilities to our customers around the globe”, adds Timo Lehto, COO from JAMIX.