Five Guys – a Virginia-based restaurant chain famous for its fantastic handcrafted burgers and fries – takes food safety seriously. In an RFID Journal interview last year, Five Guys’ VP of Food Safety and Quality Assurance, Jim Gibson, describes how the chain decided to get ahead of the curve on temperature safety. He outlines a comprehensive program that includes third-party audits, automated sensors, and frequent, consistent temperature checks.
Those checks are especially important at Five Guys. Unlike many chains, they don’t use frozen meat in their burgers. In fact, many of their stores don’t even have freezers on-site. Instead, everything is made fresh, which make temperature monitoring absolutely critical to ensuring safe food preparation. In the interview, Gibson notes some key reasons why manual temperature monitoring didn’t quench their thirst for food safety.
Manual records, especially paper, can be fudged.
Even if restaurants employ only trustworthy workers, paper records mean there’s always the risk that an employee might not be as exacting in their duties as management would like. It doesn’t take outright malfeasance to become a problem; anything from too-lazy-to-work to too-busy-to-take-the-time can lead employees to fill in paper forms without making the effort to check temperatures every time.
Manual checks are prone to human error.
Even if the employee does check, they might misread the temperature, says Gibson. That’s where automated temperature monitoring comes in: the thermometer does its job regardless of employee interest or action.
Manual checks can get missed.
If customers are clamoring for service, employees might have been too busy handcrafting those juicy burgers to even realize it’s time for a temperature check – until it’s too late. That’s why Five Guys installed an automated system of sensors in their cold holding units; the sensors ensure that temperatures do not rise above safe levels – no human intervention required.
Manual checks don’t let restaurants get ahead of the curve.
Bottom-line: time-intensive, error-prone manual checks simply prevent restaurants from meeting their ideal goals: getting ahead of the food safety curve. Automated solutions like those employed by Fives Guys, by contrast, empower eateries to protect themselves against problems before they arise.