Two restaurant employees prepare food in the back of the house.

pexels/Elle Hughes

Food safety is the bedrock of a good restaurant.

Quality Initiatives for Restaurants: 4 Industry Trends to Focus On

The time for doing things the way they’ve always been done has passed.

We live in a world where a bad experience can circle the globe before your PR rep has had their first cup of coffee. However, quality initiatives have not evolved as quickly as our ability to communicate, and it’s time for that to change. You need to modernize your quality model.

The time for doing things the way they’ve always been done has passed. But we know updating quality initiatives is easier said than done, so we pulled together four key trends in quality and some concrete ways you can begin incorporating each of these trends. By using the trends as building blocks to modernize your quality initiatives, you will get a system that gives a full-circle view into your quality operations.

Adoption of Continuous Quality Management

Brands dedicated to quality understand that only getting scattershot information is not enough to paint a full picture of their quality operations. Building a comprehensive, continuous monitoring process feels daunting, but the best first step is getting a quality management system made to handle this kind of data collection and analysis.

When you have a system made to meet your needs, the more onerous parts of quality management naturally fall away. Digital audits will replace spreadsheets. Your reports are automatically compiled and available in an easy-to-use dashboard. Connect IoT devices to your QMS to alert you to any potential food safety issues. Meet the requirements of new tech-forward government requirements like the New Era of Smarter Food Safety. A robust quality management system will help you get full-circle management and visibility into quality initiatives.

Incorporating More Types of Audits

Formal annual audits have been the norm for decades. However, self-assessments and virtual audits prompted by the restrictions of COVID-19 have opened the door to incorporating other types of audits into quality assessments.

Adding more frequent audits from employees in different positions enables you to get a new perspective on quality. Diversifying your quality ecosystem with more types of audits gives you the ability to evaluate your company on multiple levels, making your quality insights more accurate.

If you think of it like a map, you were previously getting one satellite photo a year. Bringing in new kinds of audits is like adding Street View, plus user photos of different landmarks. All are helpful in different ways, and incorporating these different perspectives ensures you have all the information you need to make good decisions.

Focus on Food Safety Culture

New menu items and fun promos can sometimes feel like they get all the attention, but food safety is the bedrock of a good restaurant. Unfortunately, your frontline employees may not take it as seriously as you’d like. Food safety is seen as a box to check, then the details quickly fade from memory. One way you can get employees more invested in food safety is by making sure they know their insight and feedback is valued. When employees feel their voice is heard, they are more bought in to the process and outcomes. By empowering employees to understand and advocate for better ways to be food safe, you turn every employee into the chief quality officer. This type of proactive, involved culture toward food safety is invaluable when it comes to protecting your brand.

Meeting Goals Without Busting Budgets

Margins in food are small, so getting more out of your department doesn’t always come with more budget. So how do you invest in new software, employee engagement, and revamped assessments without an increase in budget?

It’s time for more creative thinking. Look at what parts of your tech stack could be streamlined into a better quality management solution for a lower cost. Identify how much you could save by sharing software costs with suppliers, who are also being asked to meet digital data requirements. Adding capabilities doesn’t have to come with a higher price tag.

Modernizing your quality initiatives doesn’t happen overnight, and you can start with one step toward transformation. Choose one of these trends as your focus for the next six months and look at how you can shift your current quality model to include this idea. Once you’ve identified a plan and begun implementing the first trend, start on your second. It’s time to step into the future of quality using these trends to pave your way.

As president of RizePoint, Kari Hensien is championing a new continuous quality initiative. Since travel and interpersonal interactions have been devastated by COVID-19, it’s been challenging for businesses to obtain regular third-party audits, which are integral to access and analyze key data and ensure safety compliance across the enterprise. Kari is facilitating an increased self-assessment auditing model, where businesses and their locations can use RizePoint’s digital platform themselves, resulting in more frequent audits and broader visibility during the pandemic and beyond. For more information or to discuss RizePoint’s solutions, please contact Kari at kari.hensien@rizepoint.com.

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