by Greg Staley, CEO of SynergySuite
Part of running a successful restaurant is managing risk. Every day you work to reduce the risk of foodborne illness, security breaches, illness outbreaks or labor violations. And how operators monitor risk varies widely, from paper checklists to comprehensive reporting systems.
Many operators know how important risk reduction is in theory, but don’t do everything they can when it comes to putting improvements into practice. It can be difficult to invest in technology optimization for something that you only notice if it goes wrong. However, the impact to your brand of lost customer trust or confidence makes these investments necessary.
So, what are a few of the ways you can use technology to reduce the risk across your organization?
1. Implement Additional Food Safety Monitoring
Foodborne illness and poor food safety are every operator’s worst nightmare. Sickening customers or a viral video of an unsafe kitchen have long-term consequences for your brand and reputation, with repercussions that can last for years.
And your employees aren’t trying to be unsafe, but it’s easy for them to get busy and justify skipping a line check or forget that a certain food should be thrown out at the end of the night instead of going into the fridge. That’s why adding technological backups can give you both additional peace of mind and insight into whether food safety processes are being done correctly.
Food safety software can cover a range of things within your restaurant. Bluetooth integrations have changed the food safety game by making it possible to continuously monitor temperature sensors in your fridge and freezers and alert if they go out of safe range.
Similarly, the integration allows your employees to use temperature probes and have the data entered automatically. Managers and corporate can see how the data was entered, by whom and whether it was changed. This allows you to spot any potential trends with employees mis-entering data or skipping line checks entirely.
2. Monitor Health and Sanitation
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, restaurant guests have demonstrated they value what health and sanitation processes restaurants have in place as they make their dining decisions. Monitoring that health procedures are being followed, especially across a large, multi-unit restaurant brand, can be tricky without a central place to communicate and collect information.
This is why restaurants are increasingly turning to technology solutions such as checklists, wellness checks, employee alerts and team communication apps to ensure proper procedures are being followed. Digital checklists allow operators to push new updates to the correct locations as soon as necessary, without worrying that a location may be working off an out-of-date paper checklist.
Similarly, team apps allow restaurants to push critical notifications to employees, or in-app alerts will display when employees check in. This allows operators to communicate quickly and effectively across their workforce.
This is critical as regulations and procedures will vary by location, and time-critical updates may need to be communicated to multiple locations at once. Whether it’s displaying signage about masks and distancing, or alerting employees that a scheduled cleaning is required, operators have more control and visibility into what’s happening.
3. Boost Training Stickiness
Training has always been a critical part of protecting your business and mitigating the myriad risks that come with the restaurant industry. However, traditional restaurant training leaves a lot to be desired. Training used to be frontloaded, “drinking from a firehose” style with employees being deluged with new information in the first week and quickly forgetting crucial pieces in the weeks to come.
Better training materials and more ready access to those materials makes a world of difference when it comes to avoiding cognitive burnout in employees and lowering your business risk. This is more important than ever before as restaurants onboard new employees, many of whom are entering the industry for the first time after many long-time hospitality workers left during the pandemic.
Work on creating bite-sized pieces of training you can text to employees as quick and easy reinforcements. Operators can also make sure training information is accessible to employees so anytime a question arises, they have guides they can reach for.
There’s no way to eliminate risk entirely, but the more you can reduce or mitigate the risks for your business, the more customer and employee loyalty you’ll have. Risks are slipping through the cracks of traditional processes, and it’s time to look at how technology can help you bolster the places you need more help.
Greg Staley is the CEO of SynergySuite, a back-of-house restaurant management platform. Greg focuses on facilitating better visibility and increased profitability for restaurant chains through the use of intelligent, integrated back-of-house technology. For more information, please contact Greg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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