During the last two years, the restaurant and food retail industries have had to be agile amid a global pandemic that continues to lob unexpected curve balls in everyone’s direction (Delta, Omicron, need we say more?). In a previous blog, How to Keep Facilities Safe in a Post-Pandemic World, we discussed how these hard-hit industries continue to hold out hope that things return to normal, but the stark reality is that shopping and dining out may never be the same. Facility and food safety are still evolving in relation to Covid-19, which means it’s important for restaurant and food retail establishments to continue shifting operations and implementing new technologies to stay ahead.
Find out how connected equipment from Powerhouse Dynamics offers a better way to manage your equipment, energy, and operations.
According to Food Safety News, most people don’t realize how much food safety has actually changed as a result of the pandemic. While the fundamentals are the same—proper temperature storage, avoiding cross-contamination, thorough cooking, handwashing, and more—new factors have come into play. Things like cognitive overload, turnover, and supply chain disruptions have had a significant effect on food safety processes. The retail industry has been presented with similar issues that have business owners searching for better ways to manage operations and support employees.
So what can be done to increase facility safety and minimize risks? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers guidance for workplaces and businesses, some of the most important being cleaning and disinfecting, ventilation, and contact tracing. To further ensure employees and customers are happy and safe, take the following actions:
Prevent Cognitive Overload
Employees already have a lot to remember. Add to that list the ever-evolving and changing Covid-19 protocols and it’s easy to understand why cognitive overload is a growing phenomenon among pandemic-fatigued workers. Cognitive overload occurs when a person is mentally overwhelmed, and as a result, their memory and decision-making abilities begin to decrease. To combat this phenomenon, retail and restaurant establishments can use connected equipment to provide alerts, automated checklists, reporting, and more. Helping employees remember proper procedures reduces stress and improves operational efficiency.
Automate Workflow Management
Connected equipment can also help automate workflow management by ensuring compliance with cleaning and other safety practices through use of a mobile app and workflow templates. Businesses can better manage protocols like capturing and automating Covid-19 checklists, or HVAC inspection tasks that help maintain proper airflow. For example, with Open Kitchen, restaurants, convenience stores, and food retailers can connect, analyze, and control key equipment such as HVAC, refrigeration, and many kitchen equipment brands to automate essential facility functions.
Use an Air and Surface Purification Solution
Air purification is extremely important in stopping the spread of Covid-19 and many other viruses. While face masks and social distancing are helpful, air purification systems are a better solution for stopping the spread. For example, Bluezone kills more than 99 percent of viruses, bacteria, mold, and other contaminants in indoor spaces by utilizing ultraviolet-enhanced oxidation technology to purify air. An additional benefit is that Bluezone can be integrated and controlled with both Open Kitchen.
Focus on Ventilation and Air Quality
In a previous blog, we discussed how automation through connected equipment is helpful in ensuring proper air flow. To reduce airborne virus transmission, increase ventilation rates and the amount of outdoor air circulation. Remotely controlling fans stimulates air movement, and monitoring factors such as humidity, air pressure, CO2, CO, and VOC ensures an overall safer environment.
With no real end to the pandemic in sight, business owners continue to impress by remaining agile and willing to do what’s necessary to stay in the game. Elevating facility and food safety remains to be a surefire way to keep employees and customers safe and satisfied.
Wondering how a connected facility will help your business increase safety and decrease costs? Chat with one of our experts today.