Food safety is a significant concern for restaurants of all kinds, whether they’re fast-casual chains or five-star restaurants. The ramifications of food safety problems are too significant to leave to chance or loosely regulated protocol. Restaurants need formalized processes to measure and monitor food safety. It’s not enough just to put a policy in place either. Instead, a company wide commitment to creating proof points that measure historical and current compliance with regulations keeps patrons safe and regulators happy. Enacting the process may seem difficult, but mobile solutions can help restaurants monitor adherence to safety standards by tracking internal processes and making it easier to share relevant data. Here are some tips to consider.
1. Make it About Customers, Not Compliance
A compliance framework, driven by the adoption of mobile solutions, must be designed to promote a stronger brand reputation and make the customer experience as positive as possible. Employees will be more committed to the tasks required for compliance if it’s clear that the motivation is customer service, not just avoiding punishment. Making compliance part of the culture means making the motivation behind the process clear and providing employees with every tool they need to complete necessary tasks. Mobile solutions are an ideal fit for any policy that calls for a highly structured process that must be followed meticulously. Since so many employees already own smartphones and are well versed on using tablets, they can adopt the technology and smoothly work it into their routines. For example, if companies need to monitor and log refrigerator temperatures, they can check and log readings and instantly enter the data into a mobile app on their smartphone.
2. Develop and Adhere to a Formal Process
Formalizing the process means making sure employees know exactly what’s expected of them. Food-safety compliance starts with the people directly preparing food and interacting with it every day. However, everything must come from the top down. Supervisors, managers, and other stakeholders need to put processes in place that empower employees to collect data simply and transmit it without bogging them down in paper work or extra steps. Mobile solutions mean a worker can instantly measure a relevant reading regarding food temperature, for example. The information is accessible to relevant parties and stored. Whenever a step is missed, team members are alerted so it can be addressed and the process can be completed.
3. Train Every Employee to Understand and Monitor Food Safety
Onboarding new employees is never an easy task. Training them on the customer-facing activities of any position can be time-consuming enough. It’s critical that compliance protocol be worked into their first few days, though. The goal of compliance checks must be expressed, as well as employees’ role in the process. It can’t be a secondary consideration. Although mobile solutions make the process easier, the importance of compliance still needs to be emphasized in the earliest stages of training so employees understand that it cannot be ignored. On an immediate level, regulatory violations mean closing of restaurants and stores, which equates to lost wages and employment for some employees. Furthermore, fines and the loss of customer trust can devastate restaurants, from fast food chains to local grocery stores.
4. Get Better Every Day
Even without a violation coming down, there is always room for improvement of any process. While food-safety violations are rarely the product of malice, neither can we tolerate negligence or a faulty process. If a step in the process is regularly missed, mobile solutions can alert managers so the process can be refined to ensure such oversights don’t occur again. Compliance with food-safety standards is about a positive customer experience. Ignoring a recurring issue in the compliance chain is a dangerous precedent to set, making it appear acceptable and undoing much of the positive culture you’ve established. Identifying issues in the process, such as a bottleneck or regular negligence, calls for a commitment to steady, incremental improvements.