Whether you’re a newcomer to the food service industry or a seasoned veteran, infecting loyal customers with a foodborne illness is a serious risk. With all the moving parts of your restaurant, it can be easy for you or your staff to accidentally overlook seemingly inconsequential food safety procedures that are essential to running a hygienic restaurant. Investing in the right restaurant technology can make monitoring your food safety practices convenient and practical.
It’s a Friday night, and your restaurant is overflowing with eager customers. It seems everyone has the same idea: celebrate the beginning of a new weekend with friends and delicious food. Your front-of-house staff hustle from table to table, refilling drinks and running orders like the professionals they are. Your back-of-house staff are turning tickets quickly. As your patrons leave, you receive compliments on the quality of your service and your food. Many vow to return. You retire home at the end of the night deeply satisfied, reminded of why you got into the restaurant business in the first place.
Then Saturday comes around. You start receiving phone calls. One woman who was perfectly healthy before eating at your restaurant has been throwing up all night. A couple has been tending to their sick teenagers who ordered the same entree, one of your most popular, and have been experiencing common foodborne illness symptoms. To your horror, complaints appear in online reviews, effectively souring the triumph of the previous night and replacing it with a growing sense of dread.
This is every restaurateur’s nightmare: infecting the public with foodborne illness and permanently tarnishing your reputation in the process. While the above scenario may be extreme, the threat caused by overlooking important food safety measures is all too real.
Luckily, there are easy ways to prevent food safety nightmares. While employees who cook and handle food are required to enroll in a Food Handler’s Permit course (which differs depending on the state), there is still plenty of room for error. A solution that may be overlooked is restaurant technology—software packages provided by companies like SynergySuite and Toast. These tools can improve your food safety in the following ways:
1. Tracking Inventory
Outside of being downright disgusting, serving spoiled food is a surefire way to infect customers with foodborne illness. Monitoring your inventory to prevent spoilage in the first place is a great way to enhance food safety in your restaurant.
Aided by restaurant technology that can provide live inventory updates and monitor food waste for both raw and finished goods, a restaurateur can take control of their business like never before. Reducing spoilage, and making sure that spoiled food is properly disposed of before it ever gets the chance to reach your customer’s plate, is an essential step in protecting your business and preserving public health.
2. Monitoring Suppliers
Your suppliers play an integral role in the success (or failure) of your restaurant. Investing in restaurant technology that can track your suppliers and alert you if they have repeated issues with quality and food delivery temperatures can certainly save you a headache. Holding your suppliers to a consistently high standard can improve the quality of your ingredients, enhance your customers’ experience, and make your local safety inspector’s job easy—turning sometimes dreaded surprise inspections into morale-boosting celebrations of success.
3. Temperature Recording and Alerts
It can be all too easy to relax your food temperature checks over time. Your staff is busy, and it’s impossible for you to be physically present at all times to perform the checks yourself. The right restaurant technology can not only remind your staff to regularly check temperatures while you’re away but will also send alerts directly to your phone when critical temperatures are recorded. Moving fast to correct mishandled food temperatures can save money by reducing spoilage and keep your valuable customers safe from foodborne illness, allowing them to return again and again to enjoy your food and service.
The CDC estimates that nearly 48 million Americans get sick from foodborne illness every year, with 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. These statistics highlight why protecting your customers and staff from hazardous food safety practices should be a top priority. With the help of cost-effective restaurant technology, running a safe restaurant is more convenient than ever, making it easy to do your part to protect your customers’ wellbeing and improve the quality of your restaurant’s food and service.