Back in 1994, National Food Safety Month was created to help increase awareness about food safety in the restaurant industry. It’s now been over two decades, and restaurant food safety fails continue to plague our national news. With well-known brands like Chipotle proving that no restaurant is safe from food contamination issues and food borne illnesses, now is as good a time as any to equip your restaurants with proper food safety measures.
This means it’s time to get rid of the paper.
In Honor of National Food Safety Month
Here are five reasons why you need to stop managing your restaurant’s food safety with paper:
- Paper can get lost or easily be ignored.
- You and your employees lose valuable time in the transfer of paper notes and records to the computer.
- Safety protocols might not be completed consistently, thoroughly, or on time.
- The system of checks and balances is severely compromised if you have no way to easily check in on the completion of food safety processes and goals.
- There are no real-time insights when paper records are used.
Before you ditch the paper, make sure you’ve got your operations set up with and fully trained on a digital management system to cover all of your food safety procedures:
#1: Digital Checklists
Checklists are most likely already a part of your restaurant food safety process. With digital checklists though, you can:
- Create as many safety checklists as you want: for cleaning procedures, self-inspections, OSHA training, food handling and preparation training, log management, and more
- Update the checklists as often as you want without having to worry about team members using the right version
- Use the checklists on any device
- Monitor and manage the progress and completion of each required (and scheduled) checklist
#2: Online Safety Training
Your staff—FOH, BOH, as well as management—should be well-versed in restaurant food safety. This is why online safety training is so useful. Team members can review required training materials and obtain food safety certifications from any device whenever they want—and you’ll have the ability to ensure all requirements have been satisfied before any team member hits the floor.
#3: Smart Sensors
While it’s ultimately up to your kitchen staff to properly wash produce, thaw meats, and prepare food, there are times when flaws are introduced to the process by way of technology. By installing smart sensors in your refrigerators and freezers, kitchen and restaurant management can stay attuned to any real-time issues that may lead to compromised ingredients.
#4: Email or Text Reminders
Just because you’ve got other competing priorities doesn’t mean that food safety procedures need to fall by the wayside. Hold your employees and management accountable, too. Send them regular reminders, news, and facts about food safety so the topic always stays top-of-mind.
- Share tips for proper hygiene, hand-washing, and surface cleaning procedures.
- Let them know about new cases or lawsuits related to foodborne illnesses.
- Provide them with helpful tips on food preparation.
- Remind them to do legally required temperature checks and to log them digitally, so you have an ongoing record for health inspectors.
#5: Online Scheduling
This one may not seem the most obvious, but it could save you a lot of trouble in the long run. Think about it this way: you’ve got a line cook who fell ill over the weekend with fever and vomiting. He thinks most of it is out of his system, but he’s still not comfortable working his shift tomorrow. By using digital scheduling software:
- Employees can more easily and quickly manage shift swaps.
- They can also communicate with management about last-minute absences.
- Management can better prepare for shifts in advance if they know what’s happening with their team.
Keep Your Restaurant Safe
As a restaurant operator, it’s your responsibility to keep your restaurants safe. Equip your operations and teams with the digital tools they need to properly monitor, manage, and mitigate for food safety issues.