Robert KellermanWorkforce Management

Managing compliance in the restaurant industry is a complicated task as it includes managing people, processes and equipment to continuously ensure high-quality food standards. Compliance in the food industry must be understood rather than underestimated. In the USA about 48 million people get sick from foodborne illness every year whereas in South Africa even though food poisoning is a notifiable disease, it is hard to place a percentage value on its prevalence due to ineffective data capturing and surveillance.

Maintaining effective food safety and compliance plans are crucial for restaurants and their consumers' wellbeing. When using manual and error-prone methods such as paper-based clipboards can lead to food poisoning by just missing one step. Furthermore, restaurants must ensure equipment is being serviced and kept by employees. Adopting digital checklists can help manage and ensure equipment upkeep and most important of all, food hygiene and quality. The two sections which will be elaborated on are:

5 Steps to change from paper to digital checklists.

4 Benefits of replacing Clipboards

5 Steps to change from paper to digital checklists

Too many companies in the food service industry still rely on manual processes and paper-based checklists to complete all the required tasks to ensure quality food production. Paper-based checklists are often unmanageable and provide little visibility into non-compliance escalations. Notwithstanding, some restaurants are still reluctant to embrace a digital solution because of the perceived costs and efforts needed to shift to a digital solution from a manual system.

Let’s outline the actions to achieve a digital food safety and hygiene solution:

  1. Identify the Tasks that need to be completed.
  2. This includes the daily operations to ensure food hygiene and compliance and uphold the standards of the brand.

  3. Group and rank tasks according to necessary completion time.
  4. Set up your organisation for success by optimising tasks according to the ideal order of operations.

  5. Prioritise by restaurant layout.
  6. Streamline and plan for efficient task completions based on the timing and location of tasks.

  7. Set Restorative Actions for Excursions.
  8. Identify essential steps for when irregularities are discovered.

  9. Analyse your current processes, and based on the outcome, update priorities, tasks and restorative actions.
  10. Try and identify areas for improvement based on review processes. Perhaps, upgrade a few damaged equipment by purchasing new ones from a company similar to Nella.

4 Benefits of replacing Clipboards

Yet to this day, paper still dominates various restaurant organisations. It’s a fact that more often than not manual processes are ineffective, provide minimal visibility into what occurs and remain error-prone. Piles of paper are challenging to organise, not to mention analyse the occurrence of a compliance audit. One of the main advantages of switching to digital is non-compliance escalation. The system helps to identify anomalies and errors quickly which can be escalated and resolved almost immediately. This is not possible using paper-based methods where a manager has to filter through 100s of pages of paper-based reports. The result: Being proactive (resolving issues immediately or even before they could turn into a big problem), rather than being reactive, addressing issues days later.

Digital checklists have been found to be more valuable than paper-based solutions like clipboards or Redbooks because they are easy to analyse, it's easy to update tasks and have the ability to ensure consistency across different restaurant locations. Paper-based methods only can provide a snapshot in time and not monitor continuously in real-time. Furthermore, changing to a digital solution can contribute extensive value over paper-based methods:

  • Daily Operations
  • Daily operations can be defined as perceptibility into task fulfilment, how food safety initiatives can be improved and how points of failure can be identified. Managers can view scheduled food safety tasks and task statuses and immediately address employees if tasks are not being completed. For example, if an employee was assigned the task to put the newly delivered chicken in the fridge and has not completed the task, the manager has visibility and can make sure the chicken is placed in the fridge quickly to prevent spoiled meat from being served to customers.

  • Source of Truth
    The certainty that workers are obtaining and capturing reliable information is vital. Digital solutions offer real-time insights and employees can be notified immediately if a change is required. This means that all forms and checklists can also be updated without any hassle. For example, if a new checklist item needs to be added to a digital checklist there is no need for new paper forms to be printed. Instead, a new field can simply be added to the checklist and employees can be notified directly.

  • Pen and Paper Methods are ineffective
    Sorting through paper may take hours to complete which makes this method extremely ineffective. Eliminating paper-based methods is therefore not only good for the environment but also provides new sources of valuable information. More data points are available to management that previously were not accessible. Pictures and videos can be required for the completion of tasks for future reference. Furthermore, in the event of an error, a detailed account of what went wrong and what steps to prevent it from happening again can be provided.
  • Shift Management
    Taking responsibility for improvements inspires worker performance insights since employees are more accountable and constantly aware of this. It also contributes to improved staff engagement. A more engaged workforce has been proven to be more productive, ultimately leading restaurants to be more profitable.

Digital checklists carry great value in the restaurant industry as it simplifies the management of employees and streamlines compliance. Its further benefit lies in the fact that it allows you to take a big step forward in optimising your business operations. If you want to know more about how Bloodhound can help you with digital checklists contact one of our competent consultants today. For more similar content sign up for our monthly newsletter or follow us on LinkedIn .