Streamlining food safety is ongoing discussion among restaurant owners. We had the pleasure of speaking with Mike Silverman, owner of 12 Moe’s Southwest Grill restaurants. Mike began his restaurant career 13 years ago and loves the restaurant industry. As a successful franchise restaurant owner, he discussed the importance of keeping customers safe and some of the food safety struggles most restaurants experience.
Food Safety Hassles
Creating a food safety culture that managers and employees buy into is the first step to ensuring that restaurant food safety standards are up to par. While every restaurant owner will agree that serving customers delicious, safe food is the priority, food safety can become a hassle for owners.
- Food safety culture buy in. Creating a culture that promotes food safety processes is great, but getting employees to buy into it can be a challenge.
- Time consuming line checks. An average line check, when done the “old fashioned” way with paper logs can take 15 minutes. When the checks must be completed three times a day, employees spend lots of time on logging food temp and safety checks.
- Forgetting line checks. Even the most well intended employees and managers get busy, caught up in lunch or dinner rushes, and forget to check the food temps.
- “Pencil whipped” food logs. When employees forget their line checks, it can be tempting to fill in a bunch of numbers without actually taking food temps.
- Health inspector surprise inspections. When the health inspector pops in for a surprise inspection, making sure that food log binders are complete and pages aren’t missing is a challenge.
When customer safety is the priority, how can owners overcome these food safety hassles?
Food Safety Nightmares
One of the biggest nightmares for a restaurant owner is getting a customer sick with food borne illness. We have all heard about the fall out from the Chipotle food poisoning outbreak. Chipotle is a great company that cares about their customers. The outbreak did not occur because they don’t care or because they intentionally cut corners on food safety. But, a few mistakes hurt their reputation, hurt their stock, and ultimately, hurt people.
The lesson to be learned from Chipotle is that restaurant owners can never let their guard down. Streamlining food safety must be part of every task performed in a restaurant, from changing gloves, to maintaining bathroom cleanliness, and taking food temps to ensure safe temp ranges.
Streamlining Food Safety Practices
Mike and his team at Moe’s Southwest Grill knew there had to be another way to be better at food safety. He and another restaurant owner, who was having similar struggles, came up with the idea of a cloud based reporting system for food temp logs. They called the product FreshCheq. FreshCheq was developed and beta tested in several restaurants across the US. It solved every food safety hassle identified by Mike in his restaurants in the following ways:
- FreshCheq creates a fun, game-like food safety culture where temp logs are completed on smart devices.
- Automating food safety with FreshCheq cuts down on line checks by 70%, allowing employees to focus more on customer service.
- Log and checklist alerts remind employees when it is time for the temp logging. No more forgetting line checks.
- Features like time stamped photos hold employees accountable. No more “pencil whipping.”
- Enterprise level reporting allows for owners or health inspectors to see months worth of reporting with the click of a button. And the reports may be emailed in pdf form with ease.
Since Mike began using FreshCheq at his Moe’s Southwest Grill restaurants, his line checks are now completed 95% of the time. Simply put, his restaurants are safer and his employees are happier.
FreshCheq vs Other Solutions
With other solutions on the market, the developers of FreshCheq had a few different things in mind. Restaurant owners themselves, they committed to developing a product that did not require a large budget. Smaller restaurants should be able to afford the food safety solution, but it should be robust enough for larger franchises also. With other solutions on the market, here is how FreshCheq is different:
- FreshCheq does not require any expensive hardware. Use your existing thermometers and any smart phone or tablet.
- There is no learning curve. Restaurants are up and running in minutes and the product is simple for digital native employees.
- Multiple thermometers may be used at once to make logging even faster. No waiting for a bluetooth connection.
- The cost is less than $1/day. That is a small price to pay for food safety.
- Built in corrective actions instruct employees what to do if a temp fails.
The Results Are In
Since Mike has implemented FreshCheq in his restaurants, the percentage of completed line check has risen to 95%. The average restaurant only accurately completes 70% of line checks when using paper logs.
Mike uses FreshCheq for other checklists like sanitizer buckets and bathroom cleaning. His restaurants are now cleaner because of FreshCheq reminder alerts.
None of his food logs are “pencil whipped” so he is confident when the health inspector comes knocking.
His employees get back at least an hour a day to invest in customer service.
Mike no longer gets frustrated by greasy binders and scattered paper logs. Reporting is simple and stored in the cloud.
There was no resistance from employees. No more nagging employees to complete their food logs.
If you have any question for Mike about streamlining food safety, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to listen to the free podcast of this interview, find it here. You can find more information about FreshCheq at www.freshcheq.com.
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