Catering is an increasingly profitable segment of the hospitality industry. According to the CaterSource.com State of the Industry 2017 report, three-quarters of respondents reported that business was increasing. The global contract catering market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4% from 2016-2021, according to Azoth Analytics.
A recent market research report by Koncept Analytics identified several key factors driving demand for contract catering, including growing demand for customized food and the increased role of technology. Certainly, today’s consumer is much more connected and expects the same convenience out of food service that they get from any other app.
But as this food service area grows, so do its challenges. Koncept Analytics indicates that increased competition and regulation are squeezing the industry, as are food safety issues.
Catering faces food safety issues that traditional restaurants do not. Food must be transported at safe temperatures, and then stored at safe temperatures at the event site for its entire duration. The risks of cross contamination increase as food is stored together in small containers and moved in cramped quarters. Caterers are also at the mercy of the event site, and the resources that restaurants have at hand (everything from sinks for hand-washing to sneeze guards on restaurant counters) may be missing or inconvenient to access.
Studies also show that catering workers may not practice rigorous safety protocols: “The most common food safety violations were not wearing gloves when required, not washing hands, not checking food temperatures, and not properly covering foods in warming and/or refrigeration units,” reports a research study published in the British Food Journal.
Thankfully, modern food safety technology is a perfect fit for catering.
Perhaps the major risk is that food will fall into the temperature danger zone (41°F – 135°F) either during transportation or at the event. Although wireless temperature probes have historically been too large to be feasible for many travel containers, new technologies (like LoRa-based wireless temperature monitors) can surmount such difficulties. Simultaneously, handheld temperature probes not only check temperatures in a snap, they can even log the temperature wirelessly for verification purposes.
Meanwhile, digital checklists, which can be completed with a few taps from a tablet or other smart device, can ensure that food safety practices are consistently followed, even by new hires or third-party contractors, while simultaneously keeping staff consistent in food setup and service. Best of all, caterers can do all of this without needing to lug around cumbersome equipment.
The ComplianceMate system addresses a critical need for proactive food safety initiatives at growing restaurant chains. Through a combination of wireless temperature sensors, mobile technologies, and easy-to-use tools built for the modern kitchen, ComplianceMate gives you total control over food safety and compliance at your stores. For more information, contact ComplianceMate.