Restaurant Operations Versus the Food Safety Department: Partnering for Success
By guest blogger Steve Franke, FoodLogiQ Enterprise Account Manager
For 25 years, I was a restaurant operations guy. I lived and breathed KPIs related to food cost, labor hours, and supply budgets. I had no time or interest in anything that required me to turn my focus away from increasing sales and lowering costs within the four walls of my building.
That’s why for years I resisted when the food safety department made changes to our standard operating procedures (SOPs). My staff was already too busy to learn something new, and my labor hours were too tight to provide extra time for training. Besides, it seemed unnecessary because they were already storing, cooking, cooling and holding the food properly. In my mind, any new SOPs and training did nothing more than distract my staff from their focus on our guests.
Does this sound familiar? If you manage or work at a restaurant, you may be nodding your head right now in agreement, because you think food safety people don't know what it takes to run a restaurant on a daily basis. If you’re in food safety, you are frustrated by this attitude because you feel that operations doesn’t see the bigger picture of protecting the brand and reducing liability. However, times have changed. There is now a way both food safety and operations can partner together instead of fight separate agendas.
For years, food safety at the store level consisted of scribble marks on various clipboards. And when a restaurant employee was busy, food safety documentation was hardly a priority. Getting staff to not "pencil whip" was a daily challenge, and data that did exist was not necessarily reliable. Sometimes the restaurant would get dinged by the health Inspectors who marked off for incomplete documentation. Everyone lost with paper systems because they were time-consuming and inaccurate. Back in the day, the most technological advancement was an Excel file, which again, was only as good as the data collected, and it took a lot of time away from other tasks that brought better value to the store.
But technology has revolutionized this process, and FoodLogiQ is best-in-class when it comes to providing a solution that balances the needs of operations and of food safety. Industry leaders like CAVA Grill, IPC/Subway, Five Guys, and Buffalo Wild Wings are just a few of the many companies that have already partnered with FoodLogiQ and are enjoying the rewards of automation.
With leading technology, both operations and food safety can learn to partner together for a win-win scenario that creates visibility while lowering food and labor costs. For example, when a delivery comes in with damaged cases of eggs, FoodLogiQ's Manage + Monitor product makes it easy for an employee to open an app, take a picture, and submit the incident so that food safety has visibility to ensure faster credit. Instead of time-consuming clipboards and manually manipulated Excel files, Manage + Monitor frees up time that used to be wasted compiling and analyzing handwritten documents, while increasing accuracy in the process.
Also, most restaurant chains have a fragile plan on how to handle a withdrawal of a product when a recall happens, or when quality issues are affecting their supply chain. This erodes consumer confidence by serving poor quality or potentially hazardous product, and it hurts operators on the bottom line with higher labor costs and unnecessary waste. With FoodLogiQ’s Track + Trace and Recall + Response products, restaurants have increased visibility to their supply chain and are able to take immediate, focused action with real-time tracking of progress.
Food safety wins with FoodLogiQ’s ability to limit liability, create visibility into the supply chain, and have a plan in place to handle issues. Operations wins with FoodLogiQ’s ability to free up labor at the customer level, better manage food cost, and be able to focus more on the guests.