Rob Grimes: Hi this is Rob Grimes with the IFBTA and I am really proud to be here today with Jeff Pinc who is the Director of Foodservice Technology for Panasonic, one of our industry suppliers. So welcome Jeff.
Jeff Pinc: Thanks for joining us at the Panasonic CES experience.
RG: Well one of the things somebody might say is of what you’re not doing is showing necessarily food industry specific technology. However, what you are showing is the vision and the future of that technology because anytime you can take consumer technology and apply it, it makes cost effective and it’s also a good connecting point between the two. [JP: that’s right] And I think that’s part of the concept of what you have here.
JP: Absolutely, I think most restaurant brands right now predominately focus on consumer engagement. How did they capture the consumer when they come inside their restaurants? Or how did they bring them back in an entertainment sort of fashion? So we’re showing a lot of that technology here.
RG: So is consumer connectivity one of the main marketing or key words that Panasonic is using today? What is the tagline and the slogan?
JP: We’re saying connected screens. Everything is connecting together…using IoT technology, connected kitchens, and connecting with your consumers through engagements.
RG: When people have thought about Panasonic in the past, and I’m guilty of this as well, people have always thought about boxed selling. We have devices – we are selling how many devices can we do. But as soon as you start talking about connections, I believe you’re probably talking about Panasonic’s role as being more than just connecting a series of boxes. There’s the stuff in between. So how does that vision of connectivity fit into the Panasonic world? How was it changing for the person who is buying the products in the foodservice industry?
JP: Interesting question and even before that, most people thought of us as a consumer electronics company and really, 80% of our business is B2B. We are really a solutions company. In fact, we are number six on the patent list so we are really truly an innovation company. More than anything, I think, we are coming to the market with different and a variety of solutions.
RG: So, we are using the word solutions. We’re not using the word hardware but we know that that’s part of the picture. We are using the word connectivity in here. So where does software fall in there?
JP: It’s sort of the nucleus of it all, really…
RG: But Panasonic’s never been a software company.
JP: Well, stay tuned!
RG: Stay turned?
JP: That’s right. So we’ve made a couple of nice strategic acquisitions and we’re continuing to make more. So we have bought some back office software, some point-of-sale software, we’ve developed some kiosk software as well, analytics and loss prevention software. So I think you’re going to see software come to the forefront of Panasonic.
RG: And not necessarily all through partnerships? Some of it you’re doing yourself.
JP: Most of that is all now internal either through acquisitions or development.
RG: See and I’m not sure people thought that a Panasonic that that was the role you wanted to be. So is the goal then to be an end to end solution provider?
JP: Absolutely. A full connected restaurant. The restaurant of the future.
RG: Is there anything you guys don’t do?
JP: No, we’re into kitchen appliances now as well, I think you saw behind me. So, I think, we can do a lot on acquisitions we make…Last year was Hussmann Refrigeration so we also have a refrigeration side now as well. And Sanyo is now part of us as well.
RG: That I didn’t know. We used to go to the Sanyo booth as well. I guess we won’t be doing that this year…it’s in here. You actually used to have a very cool hologram type of display of the standup people that I’ve seen in airports and things but they did cash registers on that which was pretty cool. Okay, so clearly we have software solutions, hardware, we have connectivity solutions…A lot of people make decisions today also, especially on a global basis, based on service and support. Where do you guys fall on that?
JP: We’ve got a large service infrastructure in place today. We’re supporting a lot of large brands that are out there today domestically and globally so we are there, we’re expanding there too.
RG: Just Panasonic product?
JP: No, actually we are an end to end solution provider on the services side through third-party peripherals, third-party hardware, we are supporting at all. We’re supporting software as well. It’s interesting, that sort of at the core of what we do already and we have been doing for a number of years already.
RG: Well great, listen, we really appreciate the support both of you personally and Panasonic as a company as being one of our founding industry partners. We appreciate you joining the IFBTA and what you do for the IFBTA on the local level and also the educational piece. So, we want to thank you.
JP: Rob, it’s an honor be a part of it.
Both: Thank you.
RG: Rob Grimes, here with Panasonic our global industry partner at CES.