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Digital tools boost restaurants’ safety, cleanliness

Photograph courtesy of Ecolab

Restaurants are embracing technology to navigate a new industry landscape characterized by a tight labor market and elevated consumer expectations around safety and cleanliness. Beyond point-of-sale innovations, tech-driven solutions are helping restaurants operate more efficiently and effectively throughout both the front and back of the house, simplifying workflows and creating healthier and happier work environments.

Mandy Sedlak, REHS, Senior Manager of Food Safety & Public Health for Ecosure, a division of Ecolab; and Elaine Black, PhD, Director of Food Safety & Public Health at Ecolab, recently presented an Innovation Forum on this topic at the Restaurant Leadership Conference.

“Digital tools are successful when they save time by simplifying or automating tasks in a restaurant,” said Black. “Digital tools also can be used to gather and track data, providing insights and allowing a manager or person in charge to make timely, corrective actions and even make proactive change on those areas that need it most.”

Following are four key types of technology that Black and Sedlak said can help in ensuring food safety and providing safe and clean experiences for consumers:

  • Food safety software: Digital tools include food safety checklists and data entry and inventory control apps that feature time stamps and log ins to ensure integrity of data and alert managers of issues or potential issues.
  • Connected tools and equipment: IoT, or the Internet of Things, and connected kitchens often go hand in hand with food safety software. These can include digital thermometers for heating, cooling and cold storage and connected dispensers and consoles for key equipment.
  • Data and analytics programs: Analyzing data from digital tools (along with customer complaints data, health department insights, Ecosure or third-party audits and social media feeds) can show where to direct training or resources and help highlight successes. Ecolab’s Foodservice Intelligence, powered by ECOLAB3D™, is an example of a program that collects and analyze data into actionable alerts to drive smarter performance across restaurants.
  • Digital training: Ecolab provides short training videos for restaurant workers and managers, accessible on demand on any device. Using digital tools to track and schedule training can save time, bolster compliance with regulations and ultimately provide a clean and safe experience for customers. Insights from data analytics can also help direct targeted, personalized coaching.

“Cleaning and sanitization practices are fundamental to providing a positive experience in a restaurant,” said Sedlak. “A clean space is inviting and evokes a sense of well-being.”

In addition, allowing customers to witness cleaning activities can show that the restaurant cares about its customers’ experience and safety. Restaurants can be transparent and take credit for their food safety and public health practices by utilizing programs such as Ecolab Science Certified™. The seal shows customers that the restaurant partners with experts and that its practices and programs are backed by science.

Ecolab uses digital technologies to give detailed visibility and insight into restaurant operations. Digital tools strengthen the core drivers of its restaurant partnerships, offering simpler, more efficient protocols with proven best practices, a selection of multi-surface and multi-purpose cleaning products and proven expertise.

For more information about how Ecolab can enhance a restaurant’s performance, visit www.ecolab.com/restaurants.

This post is sponsored by Ecolab

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