If there is a silver lining to the past couple of years in the restaurant industry, it could be that operators have become significantly more nimble. Technology has supported this transition, enabling restaurants to monitor and measure everything from ingredient waste to menu profitability. Expect even more fine-tuning as restaurants continue to manage steep operating costs. That will include greater precision when it comes to not just ingredient use, but also the prediction of exactly what ingredients a restaurant will need in the near future. Chipotle, for one, is piloting a “cook-to-needs” kitchen management system in select California stores that provides demand-based cooking and ingredient preparation forecasts, according to a Restaurant Technology News report. The goal of the system is to help each restaurant make the most of its ordered ingredients, maximize freshness and minimise food waste. The report said the system uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to monitor ingredient levels in real time, then notifies the team how much to prepare, cook and when to start cooking. This information then feeds data collection that supports real-time production planning for each restaurant.