How to Create a Restaurant Temperature Monitoring System (The 4 Essential Elements)
Tracking food temperatures is a serious matter of compliance–but if that’s all it is in your restaurant, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to use that data to make your operation more automated and resilient.
The old-school method of using analog thermometers to manually track and log temperatures is more a burden than an asset. But it doesn’t have to be that way—enter the restaurant temperature monitoring system.
We’ll show you how to build an efficient temperature monitoring system of temperature records, automatic alerts, and corrective actions that turns old-school logbooks into a fully automated process.
In the article, we’ll break down:
Four common types of restaurant thermometers (+ which is best for an effective monitoring system)
The best way to record and leverage temperature data
How smart triggers can save you thousands in spoiled food
Ready to start using your temperature data for something useful? Here’s how:
Choosing the Right Restaurant Thermometer: Four Common Options
A temperature monitoring system is only as good as its thermometer—the fundamental starting point of the entire process.
Your choice of thermometer can make or break the effectiveness of your system. After all, an inaccurate reading or a failure to record temperatures consistently can throw the entire process out of sync.
The four most common types of restaurant thermometers are:
Analog Thermometers — Using an analog thermometer, employees must go into the freezer/refrigerator/heating cabinet and manually record the temperatures in a logbook. While these thermometers are cheap, they may not produce the most accurate readings and are easy for stressed and busy employees to misread.
Basic Digital Thermometers — This type of thermometer still requires manual data entry into a logbook, but the digital display improves accuracy and expands capabilities through various thermocouple attachments.
Bluetooth Thermometers — Bluetooth thermometers continuously monitor temperatures and send that data to a spreadsheet or software via the cloud. With this option, your employees don’t have to continuously monitor and record temperatures throughout their shift—it’s always recorded and monitored, automatically, without fail.
AI-Powered Temperature Modeling — This software uses machine learning to create product-specific temperature models based on routinely collected data from thermometers and information about what kinds of foods you store. For franchises that require product temperature logging—not only ambient temperatures—this type of AI simulation eliminates the need for employees to probe specific foods in storage.
When choosing a thermometer type for your temperature monitoring system, keep the following concerns in mind:
Data Collection Convenience: Rather than relying on employees—who may succumb to pencil whipping—to collect temperatures daily, specific thermometer types can automatically collect, record, and analyze temperatures for you.
24/7 Compliance: A study conducted by the Environmental Health Specialists Network discovered that 53% of food service workers do not use a thermometer to check food temperatures. Yikes. Automatic temperature logging ensures that refrigeration and heating unit temperatures are recorded regularly and accurately in compliance with health ordinances and corporate guidelines.
Additional Features: Depending on your standards, you may need your thermometer to record and monitor other data points such as humidity for pizza dough or light and motion sensing for activity in walk-in freezers.
Next, Decide Where to Collect Your Temperature Data
Having a designated place to compile temperature data is critical for operations, equipment management, and audits. Most restaurants opt for one of the following options:
Manual Logbooks: The default logbook is a physical binder, tucked away somewhere in the back room or office. This technically complies with regulations, however, it limits your ability to systematically analyze and leverage temperature data for future use. And, this type of data collection can lead to incorrect information, skipped recordings, and is subject to physical damage.
Excel Spreadsheets: Recording temperatures on a spreadsheet can be accomplished manually or via a bluetooth-enabled thermometer. These spreadsheets are helpful, but still require you to learn your way around data modeling to identify trends, potential failures, and other key information.
Digital Food Safety Systems: Instead of relying on manual data entry, restaurants can take advantage of digital food safety systems to complete daily checklists, record temperature data, and customize alerts for a safer, more comprehensive experience.
When you need a secure location to store temperature data, there’s no better option than an optimized digital food safety system that’s stored in the cloud and accessible from any remote office.
The last thing you want to deal with is inventory waste and spoilage after discovering the walk-in fridge was left open all night. The next element of the system is to develop corrective action triggers based on time and/or temperature, and react to potential problems in real-time.
And, through the use of artificial intelligence, digital food safety and remote temperature monitoring systems like Squadle can also predict upcoming equipment failure. If a piece of equipment is recording inconsistent temperatures or is triggering too many alerts, predictive analytics will warn you of upcoming equipment issues.
Instead of hunting through old logbooks to identify potential equipment issues or dealing with surprise inventory spoilage, enjoy peace of mind and confidence with automated triggers from a temperature monitoring system.
Recall Past Temperature Data with Ease
When it’s time for a routine inspection or surprise health department audit, you need to be able to comply and recall past temperature data right away.
Whether via a logbook or a remote temperature monitoring system, you need information fast. And, digging through the old logbooks collecting cobwebs in the storage closet is not the best look.
Digital temperature monitoring systems, on the other hand, can configure dashboards and reports to display the data inspectors want and monitor it 24/7.
Whether it’s ambient temperatures from yesterday or the freezer temperature on the day you opened, all the data you need is at your fingertips.
Skip the DIY Temperature Monitoring System
Trying to build a remote temperature monitoring system all on your own is challenging, especially if you’re running multiple units.