Article contributed by Greg Staley, CEO, SynergySuite
There are plenty of things that can keep you awake as a restaurant operator. Variables like rising food and labor costs, the possibility of a food safety issue sickening customers, or a new employee forgetting their training and creating a bad customer experience are all stressful. Whatever your concerns, odds are there are tools to help you control what previously felt uncontrollable.
Modern restaurant technology offers valuable tools to give you peace of mind about things that previously kept you up. As the restaurant industry continues to find its footing in this new normal, using traditional methods to juggle things like food costs, keeping shifts full and food safety can feel more difficult than ever. The good news is that it doesn’t have to.
Reducing risk in areas that pose a danger to your business is within your grasp. Restaurant technology can help you navigate things like food safety violations, labor law mistakes, falsified data and more. This allows you to reduce the risks within your operation, and better protect your business.
1. Training that sticks with employees
The staffing problems for restaurants are complex, but one of the side effects of many long-time hospitality employees leaving the industry in 2020 is that restaurants are finding themselves training what is essentially a new staff.
The pent-up consumer demand for dining is at a high and it can be overwhelming for new employees trying to recall something they saw a coworker do twice during orientation. These seemingly minor slip-ups may lead to food safety problems, an incorrect order, or another poor customer interaction, exposing your business to risk.
A welcome packet and a few days of job shadowing just doesn’t cut it. If you want to create training that helps employees when they need it, you need to start building a training library that they can access on the go. Short how-to-videos, quickstart guides, and even physical flash cards can all be ways to create microlearning moments that remind and reinforce key takeaways for employees through alerts, push notifications or quick reminders during shift meetings.
2. See data trends to help all locations
Historically, restaurants run reports weeks or even months after the activity they’re reporting took place. This not only creates greater exposure to risk by not catching problems early, but it also means you don’t identify positive behaviors quickly either so they can be implemented at other locations.
Strong business intelligence and reporting tools make it easier than ever to spot potential areas of risk before they grow into a problem. Automatic, real-time reporting at all levels of your business is a critical part of reducing risk. Getting these reports allows you to see trends in every area of your operations so you can act quickly.
3. Make food safety culture a priority
Food safety problems and foodborne illnesses are a concern for every restaurant and any missteps can do serious damage to your brand reputation. Your employees are always the front line to food safety, but even the most dedicated employees can make mistakes. This is why many restaurants are turning to technology for additional peace of mind regarding food safety.
Food safety software has been evolving quickly, now allowing you to ensure things like line checks or other safety checklists are being completed correctly by using things like edit logs and photo audits. Plus, you can keep an eye on your equipment with Bluetooth sensors to get alerts as soon as they go out of a safe temperature range, helping avoid spoiled and wasted food.
4. Watch for pandemic health and sanitation
The spread of the delta variant of COVID-19 and likely future variants has led many customers to re-affirm the importance of COVID-19 risk mitigation in their decision-making process when deciding where to dine.
It’s important to not only follow data-based sanitation, but also reassure customers of their safety on a more emotional level. This communication that you value employee and customer safety goes a long way toward building trust between the brand, employees, and customers.
Tools like digital checklists and alert banners help employees adhere to evolving pandemic safety procedures, such as cleaning at specific intervals or mask requirements. Additionally, with a digital record, you can easily pull reports on health and safety behavior to see where you may need a little help, or where things are going well.
You don’t have to feel like you’re always a step behind when it comes to risk mitigation. Advances in restaurant technology have made it possible for you to run your business effectively, maintain margins and reduce risk that could threaten your brand reputation.
About the Author: Greg Staley is the CEO of SynergySuite, a back-of-house restaurant management platform. Greg focuses on facilitating better visibility and increased profitability for restaurant chains through the use of intelligent, integrated back-of-house technology. For more information or to discuss SynergySuite’s solutions, please contact Greg at firstname.lastname@example.org.