The cost of a foodborne illness outbreak to a restaurant can be astronomical and ironically more expensive than prevention and control measures. A study published in Public Health Reports estimated that the cost of a single foodborne illness outbreak ranged from approximately $4,000 to $1.9 million for a fast-food restaurant and up to $2.6 million for a fine-dining establishment (Bartsch et al, 2018). It goes without saying therefore that prevention is better than having to cure.
This is the mission of Squadle, a Boston-based food safety software company. Squadle aims to help operators proactively avert food contamination at the service level through digital food safety. “Customers who have rolled out Squadle have seen a 31% reduction in health department violations,” said Vice President of Marketing, Derek Stangle. The goal of this digital innovator “is to simplify complex operations, streamline food safety, and achieve compliance for foodservice multi-unit operators,” he said. “We work with restaurants, convenience stores, and grocers to digitize back of house operations. We streamline activities that were traditionally done on paper and transform them into digital tasks ranging from food temperature logs, shift management responsibilities, and equipment monitoring.”
Being mindful that food safety is a shared responsibility, Stangle said “Foodservice operators and employees alike have a lot of challenges on their plates. So, what we do and the niche that we’re trying to solve for is really making food safety less complicated and less time consuming. Our goal is to save time for foodservice businesses, make compliance more straightforward, and ensure performance is trackable,” he added.
The company’s name provides further insight into its mission. “It comes from the fact that we work with multi-unit operators. Internally, we have always referred to these individual locations as ‘squads’ or teams, so we thought that Squadle was a great way to represent our business model, a fun way to capture what it is that we do, and also resonate with customers.”
Squadle puts food safety and accountability at the highest priority for the operator and enables simple compliance with health protocols, said Stangle. “Squadle sends timed alerts that notify employees when hot or cold bar items are no longer safe to serve to customers.” These are some of the safety checks that we put into place to ensure that operators always meet the local and National Health protocols to avoid outbreaks.” Stangle explained that his company uses “technology built on algorithms and AI that helps simplify operations with a suite of digital technologies.”
In this age where society increasingly embraces touchless technology, Squadle offers its clientele the opportunity to use “Our ZeroTouch™ temperature probe takes food and equipment temperatures 83% faster as compared to a manual thermometer. This gives operators up to the minute food safety compliance and it helps them to reduce spoilage within their stores,” Stangle added.
The Squadle platform also features SMS alerts that monitor freezer or refrigerator temperatures around the clock. “If the system goes out of range, we will notify operators instantly that they’re at risk of inventory loss, allowing them to save thousands of dollars in potentially lost inventory,” Stangle explained. “This technology automatically pulls in temperatures from coolers and freezers and uploads them into your Squadle digital checklists. The auto-temperature logging is crucial for operators when they arrive at their store in the morning and capture temperatures for each piece of equipment. Historically, store owners needed to individually check up to 10–20 fridges and freezers at an individual location and manually capture equipment temperatures across multiple locations. However, our SmartCapture feature achieves this with one click and pulls in temperatures from all these various coolers and freezers that have a Squadle sensor located in them.”
This patented feature, Stangle explained, is both economical and labor-saving. “From an ROI perspective as it relates to remote temperature monitoring, there’s a lot of ways the software pays you back. With our SmartCapture functionality, we’re reducing the need for manual checks. So we’re seeing operators save 20 minutes per shift when they switch to wireless temperature monitoring. Historically operators were using pen and paper for tests that require 2 employees specifically for food safety. One employee would capture the temperature and another person would record the temperature . Now, with Squadle’s ZeroTouch™ bluetooth temperature transmission, one employee can both capture and log temperatures, so that’s saving these operators one hour per day on their food safety tasks specifically.”
Undoubtedly the pandemic brought clean and safe to a new level of priority in our consciousness. Now that life is on its way back to normal, Stangle said there are several key issues that Squadle can help to address. “Protocols that we’re able to address with some of our digitized safety task management include scheduled handwashing alerts or reminders to clean the customer dining area. Management can view progress for these tasks in real-time and communicate to employees if there are task completion issues,” he concluded.
With its suite of innovative Bluetooth devices, Squadle has made its mark on the food safety industry and is here to stay. The Squadle system enables quick serve restaurant (QSR) and foodservice operators to make a statement to employees and dining patrons that food safety, general health, and cleanliness are a top priority.
To learn more about Squadle, visit their website