Over the past year, I’ve met with nearly 50 chain restaurant companies that vary in size from 10 to 10,000 units. I’ve had conversations with Safety, Operations, Supply Chain, and Facility executives in and out of C-suites. While different companies face different challenges, one thing is clear across the board: restaurant inspections – and the antiquated, paper-based inspection processes – suck. In 85% of the visits, executives said their restaurant managers pencil whip daily, weekly, and monthly inspections. The old-fashioned clipboard and pencil system is inefficient. For one thing, it’s incredibly time consuming.
What is your organization doing to make sure that every meal is safe?
Another day, another potentially brand damaging story—just ask Little Caesars. On February 7, the health department closed down an Indianapolis-based location because customers found some rodent feces on their pizza—it was clearly a food safety violation, and pretty disgusting. Meanwhile on the other side of the planet, athletes prepared their entire lives to compete in the Olympics. More than 100 people contracted Norovirus around the Olympic sites in Pyeongchang, where the athletes were in danger of getting a violent, contagious stomach illness that would derail their dreams and prohibit them from competing.
A MOVEMENT IS AFOOT IN THE FAST-GROWING SECTORS OF THE FULL-SERVICE SPACE TO UPGRADE OPERATING TECHNOLOGY.
Hairnets and name tags will make a triumphant return to my household this summer. I have two teenagers and restaurant work beckons. But Generation Z runs their entire life—from homework to paying for movie tickets—on their phones. How will the restaurant industry, which counts millions of teenagers as employees, alter its workflow for a mobile generation?
Restaurants are increasingly moving from clipboards and pens to digital technology. And they should. These digital tools streamline and simplify multiple processes – from taking customers’ orders to facilitating inspections.
Food Engineering features some thoughts on the recent Romaine lettuce contamination by Aaron Cohen, co-founder of CoInspect and adjunct professor at New York University where he teaches the History of Internet Media. Wayne Labs, FE senior technical editor, conducted an exclusive, one-on-one interview with Cohen, immediately following Cohen’s text. Cohen has been CEO of several technology companies including MenuPages, which was acquired by Seamless.
Restaurants must take food safety seriously—every employee, every day, on every shift.
Today’s consumers are seeking fresher, healthier food, focusing more on salads and other produce versus more processed, high-fat convenience foods. As Americans demand healthier products, restaurants and other food businesses are responding with fresher ingredients. And this is a big reason that we’ve seen a huge uptick in foodborne illnesses lately. It’s a great irony that produce and other fresh foods are healthier for consumers to eat, but they inherently carry more food safety risk.
Earlier this spring, the CDC started issuing warnings about an E. coli outbreak in romaine lettuce from Yuma, Arizona. Since many food businesses rely on antiquated pen and paper record-keeping, as opposed to digital technologies, it was challenging to pinpoint exactly where the tainted lettuce came from and where it was shipped, sold and served.
WE MUST RETHINK ORGANIZATIONAL PRIORITIES STARTING AT THE C-SUITE.
Over the past year, I have met more than 100 highly dedicated, thoughtful food safety leaders—and they are an anxious lot. You see, they know better than every executive, investor, regulator, and customer how broken the American food safety system is. But they can’t fix it.
Today's consumers demand fresh, locally sourced food and that means ingredients are now more susceptible to food safety issues than at any point in recent history. Here are some recent lowlights:
- Recent (massive) romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak - and subsequent product recall
- Tainted produce in McDonald's salads which recently sickened hundreds of consumers
- Bacteria in pre-cut fruit - the list goes on and on.
Topics: Food Safety
WHAT IF YOU COULD IMMEDIATELY AND ACCURATELY FIND OUT IF ANY OF YOUR PRODUCE HAD BEEN INVOLVED IN A FOOD SAFETY RECALL?