Restaurants can use smartphone applications and Web-based programs for more than menus and online ordering, as software companies offer options to help ensure, document and promote food safety. For example, Inspect2GO’s app for Apple’s iPad and iPhone and Google Android tablets uses a standard template that is modified based on specific aspects of food safety that a restaurant needs to track.
“They are going through all of the food safety procedures a restaurant might have. Then they bring it to us,” says company President Paul Smith. “We create a full app so the entire process is more efficient.”
The Inspect2GO app has icons for food groups, which click through to subgroups that focus on safety issues such as hygiene, time and temperature and cross contamination. The app can cover standard operating procedures, kitchen inspections and order entry. Smith says it can plot performance over time or performance for one restaurant over another.
“It gives business intelligence or insight to managers,” he says. “They can learn from it and use it as a teaching tool.”
The app also can be designed to help restaurants comply with inspections and prepare for audits and certifications. A manager could go through a list of questions and analyze the data to see where improvements are needed.
Help for restaurant employees
More emphasis is being placed on food-safety certification of restaurant staff. The Food Safety Test by Northern Softworks is a $2.99 app that helps employees study for exams similar to what may be required by local jurisdictions. The reference material in the study guide is based federal food code regulations.
Food safety from farm to restaurant
FoodLogiQ takes a different twist by focusing on traceability and the farm-to-market concept popular in sustainable agriculture. It has a Food Safety & Quality app for tracking audits, certifications and food-safety reports, but it also has created a website, Good Growing Link, that farmers can use to show their buyers, whether they are distributors or individual restaurants, what is being done to ensure their produce, meat or other products meet safety standards.
“Traceability really feeds into safety claims,” says company President Andrew Kennedy.
Good Growing Link allows farmers to tell their sustainability and food-safety story free of charge. The site uses survey forms that ask for information about food safety practices, audits and inspections. Farmers also can upload their own photos. Restaurants can link to the site on menus or their website and allow patrons to get more information about the farmers who produce the food that goes into menu recipes.
Kennedy says he started working with local producers in the Durham, N.C., area about four years ago and now is expanding to other areas.
What technology are you using to ensure food safety at your restaurant?
Image credit: Inspect2GO