In the restaurant business, you are only as good as the last meal you served. In fact, over two-thirds of customers will never visit a restaurant where they have had one bad experience. So, maintaining high food safety standards in restaurants is of paramount importance.
According to the center for disease control and prevention (CDC) statistics around 48 million people in the United States fall sick roughly and 1,28,000 people are hospitalized and 3000 lose their lives due to foodborne disease every year.
Restaurants should maintain certain hygiene practices that will ensure overall food safety to be able to prepare better and more hygiene foods for their customers. On the other hand, inadequate hygiene practices could result in serious health issues like food poisoning which is detrimental to the reputation of your restaurant.
Why is food safety important in a restaurant?
Food safety and cleanliness play a vital role in ensuring that the food is safe for consumption. Without proper food safety standards in place, your customers are likely to fall sick with food poisoning and foodborne illnesses.
Maintaining proper food safety and hygiene practices are important factors to ensure the good health of the customers. Offering excellent food health goes a long way so that customers can dine out and consume food without having to worry about the potential risks. Setting good safety standards will help in preventing infection in food, avoid cross-contamination, adhere to the rules and regulations, and protect the company's track record and brand image.
The most highly coveted foods across the globe undergo a laborious process like transportation, logistics, storage space facilities, and so on. The food items are vulnerable to spoilage as they can be exposed to microorganisms and impurities that can later lead to contaminated food. Such incidences typically tend to happen if food items have not been stored well or have been poorly handled in the food preparation process. Not storing the food items at the appropriate temperatures and the food constantly being exposed to changing temperatures can pose risk. This is especially true if there are items being stored in the door of the refrigerator. Such items are likely to have changing temperatures which are attributed to the door being open and then shut again, thereby making it difficult for those food items to maintain a cold enough temperature that will eliminate changes in bacterial growth.
When the quality of the food has been compromised and is accidentally served to your guests, it might put your customers’ health in harm’s way. Not only will this lead to serious consequences for the customers' health but it will also have repercussions on the credibility and ethics of the restaurant management, thereby leading to a loss of sales.
Therefore, safety and hygiene protocols should be given utmost priority at various levels of food production. At every level of the food supply chain, food items should undergo a thorough evaluation to ensure that everything is in order. It is also worth noting that consistency and dedication is the way to go and such factors should take precedence in the handling and evaluation of food in order to produce the finest quality to their customers.
Serving Up: What the customer wants
Why do most people visit their favorite restaurants? Is that because of the food or the experience they enjoy? The food might take customers to restaurants but the experience will make them come back for more. According to the report, 74% of customers prefer a positive experience to purchasing from restaurants.
Customer safety and good quality food are factors that go hand in hand, which contributes to the overall customer experience. So, if a customer has a negative experience owing to a lack of food safety, then it becomes a matter of concern and can even deter them from revisiting your establishment in the future. On the other hand, if the food doesn't meet the customers’ expectations in terms of taste and presentation then it can also be a major cause for concern. Customer safety and wellbeing should always be the primary focus to enhance the dining experience.
Even if you maintain all possible precautionary measures while the food is in your hands, remember that raw materials used in the cooking process can become a food safety concern even before entering the restaurant. This is because there is a possibility that bacteria can be carried through ingredients and that contaminated pieces of produce could possibly spread to others. Fruits and vegetables that haven’t been correctly handled during harvest can cause pathogens to spread to other foods in your restaurant. Ingredients may have also been temperature compromised during transportation
Restaurants should be aware of how dangerous foodborne illnesses such as salmonella, campylobacter, listeria, and Ecoli are and should take mandatory steps towards keeping their customers safe from such health issues. When it comes to restaurants there are two vital concerns- customer experience and food safety. Food safety enhances customer experience and keeps them coming back again.
Lawsuits, inspections, reviews and more - The business perspective
If your business is serving food to the public, it is your moral obligation to ensure the food you serve is devoid of any impurities and has been prepared using the most well-rounded safety protocols. Good hygiene practices can only be followed if they are properly inculcated and when provided with the proper training and skills, there is no doubt that food will be of the most exceptional quality. Therefore, food service businesses should have robust food safety management by law.
The entire process should be monitored with strict safety protocols to provide the right food. A lack of adequate measures like standardized operations and increased accountability could put your customer's health at risk. This damages your credibility and also leads your business to potential lawsuits.
A customer can take legal action against the restaurant if his health has been compromised due to ill-prepared food and the restaurant can incur a case of health code violations and foodborne illnesses. Therefore, implementing a food safety culture that includes due diligence to transportation, inspection and preparation of food will make a major difference to your food safety levels.
Some of the issues restaurants often deal with:
Random inspections are carried out by the local health departments to ensure the correct protocols in managing the restaurants. These inspections are usually carried out twice a year and in the case of customer complaints regarding safety standards.
Bad customer reviews
In this digital era, customers share their opinions and experiences on many social media platforms like Facebook, Google business listings, and so on. So, if your dish has not performed well then, the customer is at liberty to post their negative reviews on social media platforms which is likely to be viewed by many people. A little can go a long way which is why it becomes all the more critical to provide the best quality food and service at your establishment.
Lawsuits could be expensive in terms of money and also damage your reputation among your current and prospective customers. Ensure food safety standards and hygiene practices to serve better food for your customers.
The high cost of non-compliance with food safety protocols
When restaurants are found to have poor health practices, that can put forth many consequences. If the customers' health has been compromised because of poor quality food then the business could very well face persecution in terms of fines, restaurant closure, or even a jail sentence. When the restaurants fail to meet the food safety standards, it can deter customers from future repeat visits even after resolving the safety issues.
Just because it completely damages your restaurant's credibility which can never be healed. Restaurants should follow stringent practices for handling, storage, preparing, and serving food for their customers if not it may even lead to the restaurant closure.
Food safety checklist
Every restaurant should follow certain food safety and health practices and also should ensure their staff members adhere to these standards to serve better food.
- Maintenance of equipment is the most considered aspect as well as it should be clean and hygienic.
- Prepare your equipment and utensils accordingly for raw items and final serving.
- Ensure your hands are clean before preparing any food.
- Avoid cross-contamination and ensure proper training for your staff
- Never use expired food items for better food and ensure before buying.
- Store the Frozen food at an adequate temperature and make sure your refrigerator works well.
- Train your staff to wear gloves and hairnets while handling food.
Streamline processes with AI enabled innovations
The rise of technological innovations has called for more effective streamlining of operations, informed decision making, and allowing restaurant employees to be more efficient. With technological advancements such as video intelligence being increasingly integrated into the domain of food safety, restaurant owners can now take the necessary efforts to ensure that employees properly adhere to hygiene guidelines and procedures.
When your restaurant is tasked with video analytics, you’ll be in a better position to maintain hygiene and cleanliness protocols. This can best be explained if employees aren’t following the established hygiene regulations such as wearing gloves, hairnets, aprons, etc. In such circumstances, AI solutions will help improve these hygiene procedures and better identify staff members who might require additional food safety training or who aren’t taking the procedures seriously.
With new AI technologies comes the ability to ensure that your freezers and refrigerators are functioning at the appropriate temperatures to eliminate the chances of food spoilage. There also needs to be a close watch on factors such as humidity levels and time spent in the temperature danger zone.
By adopting AI tools, foodborne illnesses and health code violations can be greatly controlled. Owing to this, technological inspections are highly accurate and consistent when compared to manual inspections.
Embracing AI technology will mean many of the daily activities can be automated which could save time and money and offer you accurate data effortlessly. Your restaurant can cut back on labor costs while also providing high-quality food and safety from being contaminated, handling food storage efficiently, and ensuring an overall clean and hygienic environment.
Video intelligence to ensure food safety compliance
Video intelligence solutions like Wobot help to keep track of all safety standards to serve safe food and ensure hygiene. In addition to video intelligence, you can monitor whether your employees are cooking and storing the food at the right temperature with real-time alerts.
For this, the temperature is consistently monitored and communicated through alerts in the case of failures. Video intelligence checks for all quality controls at every level and ensures cross verification.
Benefits of video intelligence
Food safety audit checklist
Restaurant owners can update standard operating procedures (SOP) and checklists to make their employees aware of the current safety standards.
Using cloud-based technology, it is easy to add tasks and SOPS with pictures and videos. Each update will be auto-synced for quick check-through and fast changes in the case of food safety violations. Find better solutions with real-time data.
Train your staff and ensure food safety with integrated temperature solutions, corrective action, and a hazard control checklist for better accountability.
Remote monitoring and consistent quality
Make it simple to monitor multiple locations just by video intelligence. Manage your storage efficiently to offer good food for your customers which is safe for consumption.
At Wobot.ai, we offer AI driven solutions to help your restaurant maintain exceptional food safety standards and ensure smooth and effective day-to-day operations. Our solutions will also improve your restaurant’s security posture, ensure a better customer experience and make the workplace safer for employees, thereby increasing the efficiency and productivity levels of your workforce.
Want to learn more about how Wobot.ai can help your restaurant. Click here to book a demo now.