At MUFSO today, we attended an interesting presentation about an important topic for all restaurant organizations: safety. Customers and employees are the driving forces behind any successful restaurant so their safety and well-being is a top priority for restaurant managers. When a restaurant is identifying opportunities to keep its customers and employees safe, it doesn’t focus only on facility safety issues like using “caution wet floor” signs. Rather, restaurant management and food preparation personnel are constantly focused on the safety of the food they’re serving. While many angles of food safety can be discussed, Powerhouse Dynamics is most focused on preventive measures, instead of responsive tactics, when it comes to the food safety conversation.
Measures to control hazardous bacteria in the food system began at the government level nearly 76 years ago. But, the fact remains that close to a quarter of the United States population still end up sick each year from something they eat. Although government-run food safety efforts continue, restaurants and suppliers deserve more than just guidelines. Restaurant managers would benefit from additional tools that help prevent the development of food-borne illnesses.
To better understand the value additional tools can bring, it’s important to first understand the repercussions of one customer falling ill, aside from the obvious discomfort to that customer. In today’s fast-paced world of instant communication, one public-facing customer complaint can reach the masses in a matter of minutes or hours, severely damaging an organization’s reputation. Recovering from an incident like this, often involving negative media exposure, lawsuits and increased insurance premiums, takes a significant amount of time and cost.
Luckily, there are technological innovations available for restaurants and food service providers that offer the tools they need to take preventive measures into their own hands. While human error is difficult to control, automating operations in the food industry provides restaurants with a simple solution to tackle some of the key factors leading to food-borne illnesses.
Among a fairly long list of culprits including poor employee hygiene and unsafe food sources, temperature is the most prominent cause of illness.
To explore this further, temperature becomes an issue when it falls into the danger zone, the temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F, wherein harmful bacteria multiply the fastest. If food is kept in the danger zone for too long, often defined as more than two hours, it becomes irreparable, making it dangerous to consume.
To remedy this issue, restaurants need an automatic monitoring and management technology, like our SiteSage Smart Kitchen module, that (among other things) keeps food out of the danger zone by alerting restaurant managers when their refrigerator or freezer temperature spikes and could compromise food safety.
Enabled by temperature sensors installed in relevant kitchen equipment and energy sensors installed in electrical panels, SiteSage integrates temperature and power consumption data, with minute-by-minute updates, 24/7/365. SiteSage enables facility and restaurant managers to readily and remotely diagnose equipment performance issues before they become food safety issues.
Automating this process of constant control and monitoring over operations is the first step in actively creating a food-safety culture that practices and enforces preventive strategies, ultimately saving restaurants time, money, and an enterprise-wide headache.