Labor management is one of the restaurant industry’s biggest headaches. U.S. unemployment is at a 16-year low, according to The New York Times, yet the National Restaurant Association expects restaurant sales to hit $799 billion in 2017 – the eighth consecutive year of growth in restaurant sales. That combination – low unemployment, high sales – makes it more difficult than ever for restaurants to attract and retain skilled staff. The hospitality workforce is more transient than ever, and restaurants can find themselves either short-staffed or hiring less-than-ideal candidates. That, in turn, can create a barrier to safe food handling. Thankfully, modern technology can help with these issues. Here’s how.
Technology can correct and compensate for worker misconceptions or under-training.
A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Environmental Health Specialists Network found that 35% of cooling foods cooled more slowly than published guidelines. In other words, workers might believe food is safe because the guidelines say so, but the reality might be very different. Given that improper cooling techniques have led to hundreds of foodborne illness outbreaks in the U.S., the burden is on workers to properly monitor temperatures regardless of what they may think is safe. Technology like automated sensors and wireless probes enable workers to stay on top of food temps.
Technology can help with workers who get distracted.
Busy workers have a harder time properly following food safety practices; for example, they’re less likely to wash their hands when they should. They might also easily miss or misread temperature checks. A temperature monitoring system with wireless sensors can automatically notify staff members whenever temperatures go out of spec, while digital checklists can recommend specific corrective actions so that nothing is left to chance – and then log whatever action the user takes.
Technology can ensure workers follow procedure, even when reluctant or unsure how.
Food safety technologies make it harder to fake data or fill out logs improperly than to just do it right the first time. Instead of a manual, lengthy process, wireless probes and sensors can work in seconds and automatically log the temperature – no pencil or paper needed. In fact, “pencil whipping,” or the practice of filling in incorrect information, virtually disappears when it’s the technology recording the temperatures.
Technology can equip workers to deliver the service consumers expect today.
Our focus has been on food safety, but technology can help your staff in every corner of the restaurant. Consider handheld tablets for servers that enable wait staff to communicate orders to the kitchen and handle payments from the table, improving order accuracy, server efficiency, and customer satisfaction. Per the 2016 Restaurant Technology Report from Toast, which sells point-of-sale technology solutions, 68% of diners agree that server handheld tablets improve their restaurant experience, and with faster table turn times, servers see a 30% tip increase due to increased efficiency. That doesn’t just make customers happy enough to come back, it also improves staff retention. Always make sure your employees have the tools they need to be successful.
Would you like more information? Contact ComplianceMate with questions.