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Innovating Technology In Response To Adversity
Andy Shang, Vice President Of Engineering, Gold Medal Products Co.
Innovation is always the driving force for solving wideranging problems. In times of crisis, innovation makes the difference between succumbing to challenges and overcoming adversity. In 2020, the world was struck by the COVID-19 pandemic with the most brazenly difficult business conditions seen in 100 years. Travel and entertainment, hospitality, and foodservice were hit particularly hard. And innovation prompted the reinvention of these industries. Watching a first-run blockbuster movie at home, renting a socially distanced vacation home, or having groceries delivered to your doorstep are now mainstream ideas that have changed customer expectations.
A Look Back in History
Historically, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that eradefining events shape innovation. One only needs to look back to 9/11 to see the fundamental change in travel security technology innovation from explosive detection, magnetometer advancements, body scanners, and data sharing processes. Moving forward, we shall see COVID-19 causing long-lasting innovations in the health and safety fields.
Each company navigates these challenges differently, but those that will succeed look deeply at their core business and boldly make plans to not only solve immediate problems but also anticipate that our previous paradigms around health and safety will forever change.
The Challenge for Gold Medal
Gold Medal Products Co. is a 90-year-old company that is a world leader in developing and manufacturing equipment and food supplies serving the concessions and foodservice industry.
It pushes us to use our creativity and technology to overcome whatever challenges are before us
The Launch of Self-Serve Popcorn Machines
In response to the changing consumer marketplace, Gold Medal fasttracked the development of three products designed for self-service of popcorn. ReadyPop® is a 16-oz popper and self-serve dispenser in one compact unit. Its counterpart is an 8-oz popper and self-serve dispenser called ReadyPop® Jr. Lastly, ReadyServe® is a large warming cabinet and self-serve dispenser designed for movie theaters, stadiums, and other high-volume venues. Using a push-button system that powers an auger system, customers can self-serve popcorn into cups, buckets, boxes, or bags without any direct contact. Operators can pop multiple batches, and the warmed cabinet holds the popcorn, keeping it fresh and hot until it is dispensed. The self-serve technology allows food safety issues to be addressed while still providing the sensory appeal that customers enjoy. The push-button dispensing is more convenient and sanitary than other options.
Looking toward the future, the self-serve concept is one that will continue to develop. Imagine true touchless dispensing with no contact hand gestures, container detection, and full integration of cashless payment systems that completely automate the entire process.
Innovation is driven by the need to solve challenging
problems. The most difficult environments can bring clarity and purpose to a business. There is a saying that states, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” There is no better catalyst for innovation than a crisis. It pushes us to use our creativity and technology to overcome whatever challenges are before us. As the economic recovery from the pandemic continues, we will see broad sweeping changes to numerous industries and businesses demonstrating, that innovation is alive and well.