Leslie Park Lynn is a 15 year restaurant industry veteran.
Restaurants have to work hard to manage their prime costs in order to maintain profitability. With food costs rising, reducing waste should be a very important initiative for any operator. But more importantly, restaurant owners and operators must protect the health and safety of their guests and their employees in order to survive. Finding effective and efficient ways to maintain a healthy and safe environment is one of the cornerstones of long-term success.
Creating processes, procedures, protocols and standards to maintain a high level of food safety and health standards in your restaurant is a must. It’s not an easy process but there are some tools and technologies that can certainly make things easier.
Keeping track of critical temperatures in your operation is central to food safety and guest satisfaction through food quality. However, without some structure and accountability it is easy to become inattentive to details and set your operation up for failure.
Most chain restaurants have scheduled food safety checks to monitor and record temperatures and sweeps to check for expired product multiple times a day, usually in the morning and at shift changes. This usually involves a walk around, checking the temperatures of food being held on the line, in the coolers and in the freezer. Bluetooth thermometers save steps and time as temperatures can be checked via tablet or other handheld devices. This is certainly quicker than the time-consuming checks that usually require a manager’s time. Additionally, food safety validation is easily recorded and archived, which is a common requirement of health inspectors.
Saving time and automating processes translates to efficiency and that translates to more profit to the bottom line.
Automated Monitoring of Food Safety Practices
A revolutionary new system, created by the company first known for bubble wrap, has brought safety compliance to a new level. Sealed Air Corporation, based in New Jersey in the United States, has developed technology that monitors employee’s compliance with certain safety standards such as proper hand-washing techniques. Through RF technology, employees are identified as they approach the hand-washing station. As they go through the hand-washing process the system monitors how long the hand-washing lasts and whether or not they use the required hand sanitizer. Proper hand-washing is one of the first lines of defense against the spread of food-borne illness in your restaurant through cross-contamination and bacteria. Having technology that makes sure it is done properly is a huge advantage for restaurants.
LED Alert Systems
In the hectic environment of a restaurant kitchen, especially at volume, it’s easy for managers and employees to lose track of critical processes such as dishwashing, food prep and cook times. Led alert lighting signals employee’s effectively, but not through obtrusive means such as timers and buzzers, when important tasks are complete or due.
Keeping on track with important processes, even during the busiest of times in your restaurant, is part of running and efficient and effective restaurant. Attention to detail translates directly to increased profits.
Automated Pest Control
Controlling pests in your restaurant is a very important part of your food safety efforts. When there is lots of food around, pests such as rodents and cockroaches are easily attracted. These pests pose a health hazard for both employees and guests in your restaurant. Health inspectors look closely during inspections to see if there are any signs of infestation. If they find evidence of any pests the consequences will most likely be severe, as they should be.
There are lots of ordinary methods for controlling pests in your restaurant. Traps and poisons have been the primary, most common methods for a long time. Pest control companies, hired by restaurants, come into the restaurant on a regular basis to monitor, check and replace the traps. It is up to managers to make sure traps are maintained in their proper location and position.
The newest technology to address pest control in restaurants is electronic. There are two types available: ultrasonic and electromagnetic. Ultrasonic systems work by sending out a very high frequency tone in pulses that is a strong deterrent to pests. Electromagnetic systems alter the electromagnetic field in the wiring of the restaurant that make it inhospitable to pests. Both systems are effective in keeping both intruding pests away and chasing away any that may be living inside the walls.
Food safety and good hygiene in your restaurant is nothing to take lightly. Aside from the jeopardy your restaurant could face on the heels of a failed inspection by health officials you have a duty and a moral obligation to protect the health of your guests and your employees. Take advantage of the new technologies emerging to help maintain a safe environment in your restaurant.