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The Showdown: Manual vs. Automated Temperature Monitoring

When it comes to restaurant food safety, automated temperature monitoring solves many of the problems associated with manual inspections—inefficiency, inaccuracy, spotty reporting, and lack of real-time data. Here’s what you get when you compare old-fashioned manual reporting with state-of-the-art automated systems.

Time-Consuming Inspections vs. Efficient Monitoring

It takes time to perform regular temperature inspections. Managers have to train employees in HACCP food safety procedures. In many cases, they have to stop what they’re doing and oversee the monitoring process to ensure accuracy and compliance in food temperature logs.

At the very least, employees must take time out of their busy day to check each gauge manually. If they hurry through the inspection, they risk misreading or misreporting temperatures. In short, manual inspections are tedious, inefficient, and, in many cases, inaccurate. Managers and employees have better things to do with their time than watch temperature monitors and record numbers.

Why waste time and resources to achieve an inferior result when you can get more precise recording around the clock? No interruptions. No clerical errors. Just real-time monitoring delivered straight to a tablet, phone, or computer. That’s the advantage of an automatic food temperature monitoring system.

Analog Sensors vs. Wireless Monitors

Restaurants have used analog sensors to record temperature readings ever since they began to focus on HACCP compliance. A decade ago, that might have been the best, most cost-efficient solution.

Not anymore. Not with the advent of cloud-based storage and the evolution of wireless monitoring devices. In years past, if a manager wanted an instant reading from a remote location, he would have to call the store, ask an employee to check the gauge, and then wait while an inspection was performed.

Now, food service establishments can install the devices in their kitchens and get instant access to up-to-the-minute measurements from any device, anywhere in the world, at any time of the day.

Since they transmit information over a secure connection to the cloud, such automated systems take the guesswork out of HACCP Compliant food temperature monitoring.

Spot Checking vs. Centralized Monitoring

It’s hard enough to stay on top of temperature readings when you’re in charge of one busy restaurant. It can seem like an insurmountable task when you’re in charge of a chain or franchise comprised of multiple locations.

With an analog system, you must manually gather readings from each location, consolidate the reports, input the numbers into a central system, and then repeat the process—a tedious and never-ending cycle of collecting, recording, and analyzing. With a cloud-based temperature monitoring system, you get centralized data collection and storage.

Automated temperature monitoring

Paper Checklists vs. e-Checklists

Paper checklists take up space. They’re unwieldy. They only allow employees to record a number—not photos or other information. Hard copies also pose risks. Lose your paperwork, and you’ll have nothing to show the health inspector when the time comes for a run-through.

With electronic checklists, you not only get a more streamlined reporting process; you also have the ability to take photos and videos, which is essential if you need visual documentation. In other words, e-based reporting makes inspections faster and compliance easier.

Intermittent Checks vs. Continuous Monitoring

By definition, manual checks only occur at certain intervals. No one hires an employee to watch the temperature around the clock—but what happens in between inspections? What if a temporary power outage strikes? What if your gauge’s electronics malfunction? What happens when an employee gets too busy (or too lazy) to perform a routine inspection?

Rare failures aside, temperatures often fluctuate throughout the day as people open and close the doors to walk-in freezers, refrigerators, and storage pantries. Manual inspection methods often miss these ups and downs, which can, nevertheless, have a dramatic impact on food safety.

Unfortunately, such oversights could lead to catastrophe. Perhaps not the first, second, or third times, but the risk of disaster always looms. Many restaurants have come to accept such hazards as part of the job. No longer. With automated food temperature monitoring, you get instant alerts whenever the temperature falls outside a pre-determined safe zone, allowing restaurants to jump on problems the moment they occur.

Want to know more about how Compliance Mate can make your life easier and your safety record better? Download our white paper on How Technology-Driven Behavior Improves Food Safety Compliance.

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