Everyone loves sushi (well, maybe not everyone -- I took some MBS guys from Fargo to sushi once and they looked rather horrified). But it's hard to resist fresh, RFID-laden sushi. The sushi doesn't contain an RFID tag (I hope), but the plates could.
If you've never been to a kaiten-style sushi restaurant, it's a pretty cool experience. You sit around a large sushi bar, and an array of different sushi plates pass you by -- on a conveyor, or sometimes little sushi-carrying boats. If something looks good, you pick it up. Different plates let you know the prices of that plate, i.e. if it's on a square green plate, that'll be $4.50, please.
One challenge to this approach is keeping the food fresh; if an item has been traveling around and around for too much time, it should be discarded. Check out this case study, where Blue C Sushi has implemented a pretty cool system with BizTalk Server 2006 R2 and RFID to monitor items in "rotation" as well as track customer sales data. Cool stuff!
“The problem,” Allard says, “is that we could only track the time when we put a plate on the conveyor belt, and that it was gone after a customer pulled it off the belt. The system could not provide important details, like what item was on a plate or which chef made it. Nor could we tell if a particular menu item—say, California rolls—was running short. We could not capture much in the way of useful operational data.”
“Because the system knows what’s on a plate and when a plate is removed by a customer, the system can send an alert to the chefs when inventories are running low,” Allard says. “Say a chef starts by making 10 California rolls, and within 20 minutes of putting them out, 8 are taken. The system gives the chef a heads-up that it’s time to make more. It helps the chefs focus more on making good food and less on keeping track of inventory.”
There seems to be a lot of chatter on the wire about this story, too. See, everyone loves sushi/RFID stories, including: