Labor. When you can find it, it's expensive and lacks the skills required to operate today's high demand and busy throughput kitchen. Enter automation. While examples of automation have been in our industry for some time now, the past 18 months have led to accelerated advancements in the quest to enhance profitability through the deployment of targeted technologies. From IoT to collaborative robotics, automation is broader than we realize, and it's making its way into every facet of operations of a typical brick and mortar restaurant to the virtual brand.

James K. Pool III, Chief Technology and Operations Officer, The Middleby Corporation

Mr. Pool is responsible for Middleby commercial foodservice technology initiatives including IoT, ventless cooking, robotics, advanced controls, and air purification. In his current role as a company officer, Mr. Pool is directing the long-term company strategy, including M&A and innovation development. He has held several senior leadership positions within Middleby since the company’s acquisition of TurboChef in January 2009.