Food Safety and Quality in Fast Casual

95% of foodborne illness cases in the fast casual segment stem directly from employee behavior.

In the information age, nearly everyone can name the brand that suffered a catastrophic food safety outbreak, which caused multiple illnesses, shareholder and class action lawsuits, and a voluntary shutdown of all stores for a day.

But I’ll bet you most people could not tell you the details of what went wrong, why, and how it could have been prevented. The truth is more than 95% of foodborne illness cases in the fast casual segment stem directly from employee behavior.

The brand always takes the hit, however, the notion that these issues were not the brand’s fault, but rather the fault of their suppliers, is largely false. Proper employee supervision and management will mitigate nearly all cases of Norovirus, Salmonella, eColi, and so forth. Following well established standards for cleaning, cooking, hygiene, separation, and monitoring, are the basis for both food safety and quality.

Herein lies the real challenge. Namely, how can you be certain that all employees follow the established daily efforts to prevent against the denigration of food quality and the liability of food poisoning?

Employee training and management is the bedrock foundation for food safety in the fast casual business.

Restaurant businesses yield inconsistent human nature, high employee turnover, and language barriers. These factors, when coupled with disparate operations across multiple stores, causes the system inevitably to break down. Employees predictably forget, disregard, or slack off on performing best practices tasks that further the brand.

Brands should not expect consistency in quality and safety across multiple locations without investments in modern tools. Paper logs and thermometers are insufficient.

Once a food safety culture is defined, it needs to be enforced every day using better tools. Digital HACCP plans that route employees, dynamically coupled with intelligent checklists and advanced sensor technologies, are no longer science fiction, but instead the mainstream.

Fast Casual brands must consider the shift to the modern technology tools of cloud, mobility and IoT. Specifically, a cloud-based, task management solution, which drives behavior while also serving as the required system of record for food safety log audits.

The brand should be motivated by protectionary instincts against the negative perceptions associated with safety and quality. They should pride themselves in providing the appropriate tools to their people to drive a culture of quality and safety. Lastly, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) requires by law that the brand provide 2 years of HACCP records.

SureCheck is a task management app that is focused on food safety and quality. Store reports and alerts are available in real-time, which allows managers and other stakeholders a training opportunity immediately. The tool becomes the brand’s system of driving great food culture by defining, monitoring and measuring employee behavior.

Undeniably, 100% of a brand’s identity is tied to the product and the customer experience. Investments that secure quality and safety, while driving positive employee behavior are paramount. Providing a system of record is FDA required, but performed at its lowest levels, paper and pencil checklists provide little protection from a brand’s devaluation in the information age.

PAR has a decade’s long history in building and supporting restaurant technologies around the globe. The SureCheck solution is built out of this experience. It is comprised of a handheld mobile device, an application client and a web-based reporting engine. SureCheck incorporates four different methods of temperature measurement; probe, infrared, RFID, and IoT (static temperature monitoring sensor). The solution drives accountability by assigning individual employees dynamic checklists that are time bound and sequential in workflow. Metrics are captured and training opportunities are created sooner rather than later. As the old adage goes; “how can you improve if you are not measuring”?

The problem is not how to create a food safety and quality culture in restaurants. The problem is the sustainability and ongoing improvement of your employee’s behaviors that deliver safety and quality. Culture is every day, every shift.

SureCheck significantly affects product and experience. SureCheck protects the Brand.

SureCheck Food Safety Solution