The complexity of the regulations governing health and safety in the restaurant industry is mind-boggling. To name a few, restaurateurs must continually prove compliance with federal, state and local agency regulations, temperature control guidelines, and the Food Safety Modernization Act — and that’s before we get to all the recent guidelines brought about by an international pandemic.
It’s no longer reasonable to think your crews can put off audit preparation and then suddenly “cram for the exam.”
Today’s regulations are so far-reaching and detailed that restaurants are turning to regular, ongoing internal audits to help keep each location fully compliant and “audit-ready” at all times. This has also proven helpful in our post-COVID society, where it’s crucial to maintain customer confidence in the effectiveness and consistency of your chain’s health and safety protocols.
Here’s how mobile audits can improve adherence to health and safety SOPs across your chain.
Maintaining health and safety is restaurants is no longer just a question of whether the bathrooms are clean and the meat is cooked to the right temperature. Today’s restaurants have to worry about proper handling of allergens, sanitation of all surfaces (along with proper storage and handling of all the special cleaning products), air filtration systems, employee health checks, OSHA guidelines for services like pickup and delivery, and much more. To make things even more confusing, any regulations and guidelines can be updated or expanded as often as necessary.
We don’t know how anyone expects to use paper-based training and documentation procedures to keep all employees fully trained and all locations completely up to date – not to mention continuously recognizing best practices around SOPs and migrating them to other locations.
But a digital, mobile checklist and audit app can. MeazureUp was designed specifically for the restaurant industry for exactly these reasons.
MeazureUp’s mobile capabilities mean all your employee training can be housed in the customizable app and accessed through any smartphone or tablet. Employees complete their training online from any location, and all training records are centralized and stored in the cloud, easily accessible to anyone who needs them.
When any policy or procedure must be updated, your operations team updates it just once in the app, which automatically updates every employee in real time. You no longer have to wonder if the latest updates have gotten through, and no employee ever trains on outdated information.
Execution and Transparency
When it’s time to go to work, MeazureUp’s daily checklist solution keeps every employee on track and fully informed as to what needs to be done, how, and when. When employees forget about the specifics of a particular SOP, they can quickly look it up. If they have questions, they can send them to their managers and trainers and get quick answers, no matter where everyone is located.
When snapping a photo or video is appropriate, it speeds up documentation and is added to the official record (as easy as taking a selfie). No employee, no matter how new, need feel isolated or uninformed as to their job duties.
Whenever an employee completes an action, the app automatically records the employee’s name, location, and timestamp, and updates the app’s central dashboard in real time. Pencil whipping is eradicated, and feedback can take place on the basis of objective information.
Your management team will be “in the know” any time something happens that is out of compliance and can act quickly to address the problem. The app also stores templates for action plans so they can be quickly assigned, complete with reminders and automatic notifications when the plan is complete.
The Formal Audit
One alarming thing about regulatory audits is that many of the agencies are not required to tell you when they’re coming. But with MeazureUp, no employee, nor team, nor location should ever fear an audit. No complicated, time-consuming effort is required to prepare; it’s already been done with all the details stored in the app.
All your operational team should do to be fully prepared is to conduct internal assessments and audits of SOPs at every location on a regular basis. With today’s videoconferencing capabilities, you can conduct them remotely for an even more convenient process.
Auditing a location according to what you expect external agencies to check provides several benefits:
- It encourages your teams to look at things every day the way auditors do. For instance, yes, it’s important when a piece of equipment like a temp gauge or a sanitation unit becomes unreliable, and yes, you should report it as soon as you notice a problem, not just develop a workaround that will get you through the day.
- Any deficiencies you find can be explored and addressed over time, not in the rush brought on by a poor inspection report.
- You run less chance of incurring fines or disciplinary action at any location – not to mention more completely ensuring the health of your customers and employees.
MeazureUp keeps all the details of every audit centralized, up to date, and ready for analysis through a series of built-in, customizable reports. Audit results can help pinpoint where additional training is needed as well as what best practices are ready to be rolled out throughout the organization. You can observe the age and workload of various pieces of equipment and project when any piece is likely to need replacement. Your internal audits provide the details to not only establish and maintain compliance with SOPs but also to streamline other operational planning.
Ensure All Restaurants are Operating Safely and Optimally – At All Times
You can see why digital, mobile checklist and auditing apps like MeazureUp are becoming part of the standard SOPs for restaurant chains. MeazureUp automates some systems, such as collecting data from devices like “smart” thermometers, and boosts human systems through its reminders, automatically collected and centralized data, and accountability features.
If you’re interested in ensuring SOPs are done correctly while making all of your restaurants run smoother, visit https://meazureup.com/restaurant-checklist-app/.