Creating a culture of food safety with IoT technology
From a managerial perspective, actively implementing steps to ensure food safety can decrease your inventory costs, help you comply with the law, and keep your customers happy. You need to trust your team to follow through with the necessary actions to achieve your desired results. However, knowledge of food safety protocols may not be something your employees inherently know. Currently, 40% of US states require managers to pass a food safety course to work. While some areas require the certification of all employees, these regulations vary by locality.
Everywhere else, foodservice operators are left to teach safe food handling practices to their employees on the job. Due to the fast-paced nature of restaurant service, these tasks can often fall by the wayside. Even if you train your team adequately there is no guarantee that they will effectively implement their training in their daily operations. This can often result in the forging of logs and records otherwise known as pencil whipping.
The success and longevity of your restaurant partially depend on creating a culture of food safety among your employees. You want to empower your employees to educate and hold each other accountable for food safety before an incident occurs. Therefore providing your team with the best equipment to do just that is essential.
Educating teams on the importance of temperature monitoring
Temperature monitoring is a prime area to integrate IoT monitoring because of how central it is to restaurant processes. Improper inventory holding temperatures rapidly deteriorate the quality of your inventory, in many cases forcing teams to discard it. These “loss events” are prevalent in foodservice, with the typical restaurant throwing away 50,000 lbs of food per location annually. While an expensive proposition, opting to serve spoiled food is known to cause foodborne illness, leaving your business vulnerable to legal consequences and a negative reputation on the ever-important review websites.
Federal law and many local jurisdictions require businesses to log the holding conditions within their cold storage routinely. Frequently, health inspections include the checking of temperature logs as part of their audit. These logs can be time-consuming to fill out when performed correctly and sometimes require staff to come in on nights and weekends. Therefore, implementing IoT monitoring is a great way to increase team morale and create a positive mindset towards food safety.
For these reasons, it's essential to train your team on the importance of temperature monitoring. Your staff is the first line of defense against food spoilage given their frequent interaction with your inventory. By training them to notice the signs of food spoilage and how to properly utilize temperature monitoring, you can reduce inventory loss, health inspections, and food-borne illness in your business.
Make it easy
To get buy-in from your team, you need to make following food safety protocols as easy as possible. If your team perceives food safety practices as monotonous or arduous, they may be reluctant to take them seriously, let alone perform them proactively. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by automating some of these tasks.
Automation through IoT-enabled devices has changed the way teams in all industries perform essential tasks, creating better data and saving time along the way. The foodservice industry is no different. The integration of this technology into restaurant operations, specifically in temperature monitoring, can be a crucial component in your food safety program, keeping your restaurant safe and profitable along the way.
What is IoT technology?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects, such as your phone or laptop, connecting through software, sensors, or any other technology. These objects communicate information to each other and to the cloud.
With an increasing number of items existing in the IoT, experts estimate that more than 7 billion devices are connected today, with experts expecting this number to grow to 22 billion by 2025.
Keep everyone informed
Another way to get your team personally invested in food safety is to give them agency in the process. One of the best ways is to keep them informed on key food safety indicators with IoT monitoring. IoT monitoring systems, like Therma°, often have alert systems that allow teams to anticipate and respond to cold storage-related food safety mishaps before they happen.
Consider implementing a technique known as tiered alerting to keep your employees in the loop. Tiered alerts are successive alerts that notify different team members based on the time a unit has been out of threshold.
- The first alert sends after 30 minutes to your shift lead
- The second alert sends after 60 minutes to the location manager
- The third alert sends after 90 minutes to the regional director
By allowing your staff to make proactive decisions to protect your inventory, you also instill ownership, which can lead to a sense of pride in their work.
Promote food safety culture with Therma’s IoT technology
At Therma°, we thoroughly understand how promoting and maintaining food safety can affect the success of your business. Therma’s IoT monitoring system provides easy-to-understand, customizable temperature alerts that keep your team at the center of your food safety strategy. Ultimately, this approach promotes personal empowerment and responsibility, which will keep your inventory and customers safe. Click below to try Therma° for yourself today.