Scaling Your Food Safety Training: Best Practices Across Multiple Locations
A foodborne illness outbreak can hurt your customers and the reputation of your entire brand. Learn how to scale your food safety program across all of your stores.
Is your organization’s food safety training scalable? According to the latest data from the United States Centers for Disease Control, there were 841 foodborne illness outbreaks in the U.S. in 2016, with Norovirus being the most confirmed, single cause. And 60% of those outbreaks were traced to restaurants. Furthermore, sit-down dining establishments accounted for nearly half of the restaurant sources.
Food safety is one of the most important issues in any restaurant, but it can often be taken for granted. While employees know how important food safety is to the overall health of the guest and their store, when a 45-minute wait has built up and everyone is rushing, food safety can fall to back-of-mind.
Now take that single store’s lapse in food safety protocol – something that could happen during any busy lunch rush – and multiply it by 20, 50 or even 400 units.
While food safety oversight may seem more challenging the more an organization grown, a multi-unit restaurant group has size and in general, more resources and budget at its disposal.
In 2017, for example, restaurants were increasing their spend on training. That’s great for training, learning and development departments charged with rolling out food safety training and accountability programs alongside their auditing teams.
Four Steps to Build a Better Food Safety Culture
How do you make your food safety training scalable? You make it part of your company’s culture. Leadership must ingrain food safety practices into daily operations so that every employee is thinking about them. When you build food safety into your culture, it can’t be forgotten. It becomes another part of your employees’ days.
Mitigating the risk of foodborne illness in a growing and franchised business requires a solid training program, transparent communications and verifiable, electronic documentation of your food safety procedures. The key pillars of building a food safety culture include:
Food safety and compliance start with education. Take-home guides and rushed training periods don’t fully benefit your workers in an increasingly complex supply chain. Give your employees easy access to their materials and track their progress in an online environment. Food safety and responsible alcohol service training are integrated into Clarifi Talent Development for continuous compliance and team engagement.
If your employees are unaware of your food safety program, it’s impossible to implement properly. Don’t leave the understanding of your food safety program to chance or hearsay. A documented understanding of your program is the first step in food safety becoming a part of your company culture. Regular check-ins with your employees show you’re invested in their success and the importance of these tasks. Ensure that team members know what is expected, have the training they need and the online tools for collaboration and shared learning.
Provide clear expectations of what you need from your team. Build accountability into your line checks and food safety programs. Establish site-specific rules when needed. When you can easily review time-stamped daily activities, like follow-up actions on out-of-tolerance temperature readings, you can have peace of mind. Your employees have an easy-to-follow procedure and everyone realizes the importance of the task.
When your food safety program is integrated with your technology, it’s truly possible to establish supply chain transparency. Consider systems that integrate thermometer readings with cooling and warming equipment to track temperature readings. Mobile alerts issue quick notifications of possible problems and limit food safety concerns and potential product loss. This is all possible with open API integrations with your software solutions.
Food safety needs to be a priority for every single employee because it is an issue that lives and dies in the details. It demands the attention of everyone on your staff.
Create an environment and culture where food safety is an integral part of everyone’s duties in providing a great restaurant experience. Hospitality is at the heart of the restaurant business, and that all starts with the safety and well-being of your guests.