It goes without saying that restaurateurs want to pass their health inspections with flying colors. Foodborne illness outbreaks happen despite the fact that they are 100% preventable. In order to be in compliance with food safety guidelines and keep your employees and customers safe, businesses need to consider integrating tech tools. For years, the industry norm has been to track safety protocols with a pen and paper. In the midst of taking customers’ orders, employees are instructed to check if the floors are clean and aisles clutter-free. Employees are also tasked with storing products properly, sanitizing equipment, separating chemicals from food-related items and much more. The paper method leaves room for risk of human error and pencil whipping. However, with food safety technology, businesses can automate complex workflow operations and abide by food safety compliance. With the right digital tools, passing health inspections can be a breeze.
In this blog article, we will break down what common health code violations look like and how food safety technology can manage safety compliance at every turn by mitigating risk. In this post, you will also find a downloadable restaurant checklist to help your restaurant or store streamline safety protocols.
Health inspections vary from state to state but the overall mission is to ensure restaurants and other food retail outlets are serving safe food. A visit from health inspectors can benefit your business since passing inspections can boost staff morale and instill customer confidence. A suboptimal inspection can also be a valuable lesson for your team by reinforcing the importance of food safety practices. By putting the right food safety softwares in place, restaurants can keep staff and guests safe. Here, we will outline two of the most common code violations and how to alleviate risk in your restaurant.
Time and Temperature
It is important to check the time and temperature control. Failure to do so will lead to unwanted bacteria growth and the spread of foodborne illnesses. A common mistake is thawing frozen meats or fish on counters instead of within refrigerators, cold water, or in microwaves. Another mistake is leaving food or ingredients unattended or not in use; any food taken out of cold storage should be prepped, cooked and/or returned to cold storage.
By having robust and comprehensive training sessions where staff understand the proper use of thermometers, how to label foods, and how to thaw frozen foods, your restaurant can avoid common health code violations based on time and temperature. To solve this problem entirely, restaurants can consider investing in digital food safety. Technology like Squadle’s bluetooth pyrometer allows restaurants to automate temperature logging for efficiency and accuracy. Temperature sensors for refrigerators and freezers can also help prevent equipment failures before they happen, saving your business from unscheduled downtime or inventory loss. With remote temperature monitoring such as Squadle’s sensors, temperatures are automatically monitored 24/7 and are visible in your business’s customized report dashboard.
It is important for staff to maintain strict personal hygiene in order to prevent a health code violation. Poor hygiene, specifically improperly washed hands, is one of the biggest contributors to foodborne illness. Having your staff create good habits like frequently washing their hands with soap and warm water for the recommended amount of time, or changing their gloves when needed will help keep your customers safe and your restaurant free of this common violation. Other common personal hygiene mistakes include attending work when feeling signs of illness, touching personal cell phones when handling foods, washing hands in any sink that is not the designated hand washing station, missing hairnets or other PPE.
Upon hire, ensure that your employee is well versed in a hygiene training program. For the manager in charge, it is imperative that they conduct frequent follow ups with the team in order to stay on top of any mistakes. This is the best way to avoid code violations when the inspections take place unexpectedly. Something as simple as making sure the hand washing sinks are stocked with soap and clean paper towels at all times can help promote cleanliness in the workplace. Squadle’s platform allows you to configure ongoing hand washing alerts throughout the day, among other reminders. Having various clear posters such as hand washing procedure signs and change glove alerts can help remind staff of food safety protocols along with some other restaurant “must-have” posters. With digital checklists like food safety inspection checklists, pre-shift checks, equipment calibrations, digital shift notes, COVID-19 safety checks and other customizable checklists, your restaurants can stay on top of compliance and implement corrective actions as fit.
Other common health code violations like food storage, cross contamination, and cleanliness practices are outlined in this past blog article.
Independent companies like EcoSure partner with restaurants to help minimize food safety and public health risks. They offer a wide array of products and services that range from food preparation supplies to employee and guest safety supplies to quality assurance programs. One of the programs they offer is advanced health department intelligence which helps food service operators more strategically and proactively prepare for health inspections and better comprehend their inspection results. In short, it is a way to get inside the minds of health inspectors. There are similar courses that restaurants can seek out in order to become food-safety-certified per their local health jurisdiction. By doing this, managers can better understand what health inspectors are looking for in order to keep customers safe.
As the food retail industry continues to ditch paper and go digital, companies like Squadle are able to provide businesses with digitized checklists, automated reminders, and 24/7 monitoring software that does the heavy lifting for you. We invite you to download the manager daily self inspection checklist here to help keep your restaurant clean, orderly, and in compliance. To learn more about how Squadle’s suite of products can improve your daily operations and bottom line, consider scheduling a demo or chatting with our sales team. Whether you continue using the traditional pen and paper or a tablet, food safety is always the top priority.