How to turn Food Safety and Sanitation into a unique and powerful marketing asset that will bring more customers into your restaurants?

If you are involved in marketing in the restaurant trade, you might be struggling to come up with a message that resonates to your audience.

How do we re-instil confidence with our customers?

How do we prove that we are doing everything necessary to protect our co-workers and our guests when it comes to Sanitation and Food Safety?

What can we do to demonstrate our company’s commitment towards their well being?

What will be the next criteria of choice when choosing a restaurant to go to, or even order food online?

In this article, I will demonstrate that this isn’t very complicated and that you are probably already doing everything in your power to protect your customers, you are just not using the right medium to communicate about it.

Smart companies have transitioned from Pen & Paper to digital when it comes to operational checks.

Here is an example of a company who was using pen and paper for their operational checks, and successfully made the switch to digital.

Heath Ince, Operational manager, The Brooke leisure group

This is how a multisite restaurant operation usually runs in regards to food safety and operational checks:

  • A quality management team crafts the quality manual
  • The quality manual folder gets printed out and sent out to the different restaurants
  • The restaurant manager acknowledges the documentation
  • Chefs and waiters are trained as they go, usually by their peers or online
  • Managers, chefs and waiters are requested to complete their daily logs
  • Restaurants are internally audited on a regular basis and sporadically but unexpectedly externally inspected
  • The marketing department communicates about menus, special offers, etc…but never ever communicates about the processes in place to protect its customers.

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The most common problems associated with such methods are:

  • Staff are often not trained quickly and thoroughly enough, due to the very high yearly turnover in our trade. 61% according to the National restaurant association, the highest of all trades. Training becomes a constant challenge
  • Due to the cost of labour, most restaurants are understaffed
  • Chefs are busy cooking and waiters busy looking after the guests
  • The data in the logbooks is often inaccurate
  • Marketing can be totally disconnected from operations

As a result, staff members are not empowered, they don’t feel accountable, and they don’t feel like the processes are suited to match their daily activities and workload.

The huge amount of data generated by these logbooks is not actionable. It’s a cost to the company.

The enormous amount of efforts deployed for compliance don’t convert into money.

In the recent few years, there have been several infamous examples of food poisoning in restaurant chains damaging heavily their reputation and subsequently their bottom line and even their valuation.

The Department of Justice announced on Tuesday, April 22nd 2020, that Chipotle had agreed to pay a $25 million fine to resolve criminal charges related to food poisoning outbreaks that sickened more than 1,100 people from 2015 to 2018.

While the fine sounds expensive, it doesn’t even come close to the drop of business related to the loss of confidence from their customers.

It is believed that in subsequently to the 2016 outbreak the valuation of the company dropped by $11 billion in the span of 3 months. They have managed to put food safety at the heart of the operation, food safety culture is into the company’s DNA, and they have now recovered and their stock is doing really well.

In the UK, 2012, Mitchell and Butler pub, 1 43 years old woman died, and 33 other clients were made sick by Turkey meat cooked the day before Christmas, left outside overnight and served the next day. Paperwork was fabricated, the pub chain was fined £1.5M, both the manager and the chef served solid jail time.

A food poisoning outbreak can turn into a PR disaster, and it’s really tough to recover from this.

Many restaurants who don’t have the financial means to stay afloat are just going under.

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If you are…

A marketing manager, you are wondering how you could communicate about all the efforts that your teams on the ground are deploying to keep the customers safe.

Running Facebook/Google ads, TV campaigns, Billboards, won’t do the cut to regain the trust of customers as it was before this crisis. You will need to come up with something stronger and more meaningful.

Transparency is probably the answer you are looking for.

Here is the truth…

(Notebooks are often the dirtiest thing in the kitchen! These logs end-up with fingerprints and bits of food on them as chefs usually keep their pens in their back pocket)

Restaurants can still achieve results with pen and paper; you must, however, expend an enormous amount of energy to ensure the accuracy and timeliness of your compliance paperwork.

There is a problem, however, as chefs don’t have time for such things; they are focused on the food and often end-up fabricating the data.

Most food businesses are not equipped with the skills and knowledge to deploy a proper food safety management plan.

Even if you can keep up with compliance then you’re probably more focused on running the business, cooking, and making your clients happy.

Yet, there will always be a fear that individual behaviour can ruin everyone’s efforts

Using Qualizy reduces the team’s workload, empowering the entire company, and putting the knowledge into everyone’s pocket.

Most importantly, it transforms the compliance data collected into a highly valuable marketing asset.

The company is doing everything to protect the customers and can prove it.

To put it blankly, the company is now getting paid for something which was initially a cost. Everyone is on the page creating a genuine food safety culture.

We are the only solution out there allowing to bridge the gap between the back-end and the front-end of your business.

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Trust a team that knows the industry!

Been there, done that!

My name is Cedric Seguela, I am the founder and CEO of Qualizy.

I hold a Bachelor’s degree in culinary science and a level-four in food safety, both of which were obtained with merit and numerous other qualifications related to the industry.

I have spent the first part of my career as a chef, in several famous Michelin stars restaurants and luxury resorts around the globe.

In 2006, I created one of the first and most successful private chef companies in France. We’ve served hundreds of celebrities and prominent companies worldwide.

In 2012, I felt the need to create something more meaningful. Therefore, I founded a cookery school and designed food safety and educational culinary programs for the maritime industry. I have trained over two thousand food professionals in food safety to date.

I have felt the pain of following checklists and making temperature logs by hand as a chef. Those I had to train weren’t the only ones hating the process in its entirety. This is where the idea of creating a digital solution originated.

I researched the market extensively and I didn’t find a single solution that could connect the dots between data, knowledge, and people. That is when I founded Qualizy. A solution that chefs would love to use.

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To protect your customers, this is what needs to be done

Step#1 – A solid Food Safety Management System is needed

Make sure that you have a solid food safety management system in place. A food safety management system is a mandatory piece of documentation listing the policies and procedure that your business needs to have in order to serve safe food to your customer.

This is usually based on the 7 HACCP principles.

Records and logbook play a significant role when it comes to during audits and inspection. They help to demonstrate due diligence, proving that you have taken all the necessary precautions to serve safe food.

This can be extremely useful to protect your business in case of a food safety outbreak.

Old way:

The quality team crafts SOP’s and a quality manual, get them printed and sent to the different restaurants. Staff are reading them only if they are forced to. The data on the logbook is often fabricated or missing.

New way:

Deploy SOP’s in a blink of an eye on a digital platform. The manual gets updated instantly for every single restaurant in the group. Pieces of information can easily be traced and communication becomes streamlined and efficient.

The knowledge fits into everyone’s pocket, Staff members feel empowered and accountable, as a result, everything is logged properly and you can rely on the data.

Technology can help you overcome implementation challenges

When the food safety management system is well implemented and understood by everyone, it becomes a very powerful business asset and improves efficiency across your entire operation.

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Step#2 – Train the staff effectively

Empowering staff is key to efficient food safety

Once you have successfully created and deployed your SOPs, you need to make sure people are reading and understanding them properly.

In food businesses, the owner or manager has a legal duty to make sure that the staff are sufficiently competent to perform their duty in a safe manner.

That means you need to take on the responsibility of training your staff and can’t rely on an online food safety course done sporadically.

You also need to perform regular competency checks.

Old way

You train your staff online; once done, it is forgotten. You don’t have time to ask questions and make sure that everyone stays up-to-date with their knowledge base.

New way

You can store all your training material into one digital solution. Your whole training program fits into everyone’s pocket via a mobile device. You can create questionnaires and always know everyone is staying atop their game.

Old result

You run the risk of staff not understanding the SOPs you have in place; they never dare to ask for a review of the process. In most cases, the results are outdated knowledge.

New result

Everyone can read the fact sheets and the SOPs from anywhere. Your staff will feel like they own the SOPs and will act accordingly.

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Step #3 – Supervise and monitor

For a supervisor, leading by example is crucial but unfortunately, that is never enough.

A supervisor needs to put measures in place to make sure everyone follows the directions and does the job properly.

In restaurants, it comes with a certain number of challenges, especially due to the nature of the trade and its very very high turn over rate.

The training cannot be done quickly enough and people leave before they become proficient at doing their job adequately.

Chefs are busy cooking and leave the paperwork as one of the last things to do, often fabricating the data.

Old way

If you want to make sure that people are doing their job then you must physically perform checks and often nudge people in the right direction. This process feels uncomfortable and counter-productive.

New way

Monitor task completions in the blink of an eye. By seeing what has been done by whom and when you’re able to apply corrective actions when necessary.

Old result

Let’s be honest, chefs are busy cooking and don’t have time to complete paperwork. As a result, they end up fabricating the data. While this might not seem like a big deal when everything goes well, the consequences can be devastating if there is an outbreak or a complaint.

New result

First, they can carry the whole food safety management plan in their pocket via mobile device and tablet; so, there are no excuses not to do it. They are prompted when a task is not completed on time. Managers can easily monitor team performance.

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There are 2 options…

Once the operational aspect of things is in order, 2 possibilities:

  • Either your company continues using Pen & Paper, continues suffering the pain of having inaccurate, uncompleted logs and eventually end up burying the data as soon as an audit or an inspection is over. Ditching hours of labour costs and valuable insights.

Or

  • Get onboard with Qualizy and its simple yet very powerful system, helping your business to transition 100% of its operational checks to digital and transforms this data into a live-stream of information that you can share with customers and prospective customers.

Bringing transparency to a whole new level and leading to an unprecedented level of confidence. From now on, your business does everything to protect its customers, and it can be proven.

What else could be more powerful than that?

In all honesty, there is also a third option: your company is using an old-fashioned digital food safety management system and you can’t use the data that it generates…I feel for you ☹️

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And again this is for you if:

You are involved with marketing in the restaurant trade, you are looking for the most powerful message to communicate with your customers.

How does this work?

Smart badge and transparency portal

Every single piece of data that your team produces can be published and shared on a public portal.

We provide you with a smart badge that can be embedded on your website and social media, even a QR code to stick on your restaurant’s window.

As soon as a client interacts with the badge, she/he will have access to a live-stream, of time-stamped, digitally validated data, reflecting precisely your operation and displaying instantly what you are judging right to share publicly.

Make sure that inspections are fly-by

  • Reports: Built for you and always available
  • Data: Secured, accurate, and always there when you need it
  • Traceability: Full-fledged food and task traceability across your entire operation

Reduce food waste and keep track of allergens

  • Use-by-date: Get notified the day before a product’s expiration date
  • Allergens: Keep a precise list and always see potentially harmful situations
  • Smart food labels: Print them on the fly and use to store a variety of information

Gather 100% of your operational checks via one solution

  • Modules: Use pre-built templates to create your own model
  • Data: Secured, accurate, and always there when needed
  • Scope: Food safety, temperature checks, HSE, accident reports, fire safety, audits, inspections and much more…

Deploy and communicate SOP’s in the blink of an eye

  • Knowledgebase: Put your entire operation’s documentation in everyone’s pocket
  • Chat: Talk to your co-workers, share documents, ideas, recipes or whatever else you like
  • ​Advantage: Connect the dots between data, knowledge, and people
  • ​Bonus: A Full HACCP plan including flowcharts and posters awaits you

What’s next?

This is a breakthrough in terms of marketing innovation for the restaurant sector.

Our client’s satisfaction is paramount therefore, we can only accept 50 new companies per month.

First arrived, first served.

Diligent companies willing to make a change, and ready to communicate efficiently with their customers will WIN against the competition.

Don’t get left behind.

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