How to create a strong food safety process at your stores

Regardless of where, when, or how a food safety issue is born, the teams at the store are the last line of defense for the health and well-being of your customers, and ultimately your brand. 

In this article, you’ll learn how to get insights into whether your teams are completing food safety checks correctly and on time.

Specifically, we’ll go over:

  • Food Safety Basics
  • Creating a Food Safety Check form
  • Creating recurring Projects to assign the Food Safety Checks to your stores
  • Configuring reports to send to your field and operations leaders so they can track execution.

Throughout the article, you’ll see hyperlinks- most of these will take you to the support page for more details on a particular feature.

In Zenput, we recommend implementing a 3x/day food safety check. A thorough food safety check should consist of two main areas: temperature checks and proper food safety standards.

Temperature Checks

A critical pillar of food safety is ensuring food is always held at the correct temperature while being stored in walk-in coolers or held in makelines. Food stored outside of the appropriate temperatures windows, known as the “danger zone”, can result in bacteria (e.g.Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella Enteritidis, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and Campylobacter) to grow and customers to get sick.

Recommended temperatures:

  • Walk-in cooler temperatures (between 35℉ and 38℉)
  • Reach-in cooler temperatures (between 35℉ and 38℉)
  • Hot food holding temperatures (at or above 140℉)
  • Make-line temperatures (between 33℉ and 40℉)

Zenput also offers a temperature monitoring solution that monitors equipment temperatures 24/7/365, ensuring that if temperatures go out of range, the appropriate people are automatically notified.

For checking the temperature of hot food, Zenput integrates with Bluetooth thermometers that store employees can use to take accurate temperature readings directly from their Zenput forms.

Food Safety Standards

Checking your stores to make sure they’re adhering to critical food safety standards is an important part of ensuring food safety at your stores.

In addition to temperature checks, the Food Safety Checks should cover the following food safety standards:

  • Food contact areas have been cleaned and sanitized (Make-line surface, Dishes and pans, Grills and stovetops, Utensils, Other kitchen equipment)
  • Non-food contact areas are clean and in good condition (Walk-in cooler shelves and doors, Kitchen floors, Cashier counter)
  • Soap dispensers in the kitchen area are full
  • Employees are washing their hands at least at the top of every hour and are using the proper handwashing technique.
  • No evidence of pest infestation
  • Employee health and wellness checks before the start of the shift (Here’s how to do this in Zenput)
  • Raw meat & poultry cooked to proper internal temperature
  • No expired products present (Learn about the Zenput Labels food prep labeling solution here)
  • Sanitizer used in Dishwashing Procedures are at the proper concentration (100PPM)

Here’s how to set up a food safety check at your stores:

To set up a food safety check at your stores, you’ll first need to create a Food Safety Check form. Then, you’ll need to assign the Food Safety Check three times per day by creating three separate Projects. Finally, you can set up reports so that your teams have insights into the execution of these tasks.

Set up

  1. First, you’ll need to create a Food Safety Check form. From the forms page, select Create Form on the top right. Then select Blank Form.
    1. Alternatively, you can also upload a form and our team will build it out for you. If you choose that option, you can skip to the Assign scheduled food safety check to your stores section below.
  2. Name your form (i.e. Food Safety Check) and select the Safety category from the dropdown list.

Form Questions

Temperature Checks

    • For temperature checks, you can add Temperature fields under the Advanced section for both food and equipment temp checks.
      • Note: If there are a lot of temperature checks, you can split the questions up by creating a Section.A._i._screenshots.png
    • If a food item’s temperature is out of range, you want the submitter to know what to do in order to correct the temperature issue.
      • Select the Enable Pass/Fail Range checkbox. Either select one of the preset temperature ranges or create your own by selecting Custom. Once you have set the ranges, ensure that the Pass/Fail options are correctly selected. 
      • Select the Enable Dependent Questions checkbox and select Fail from the dropdown. Then, drag and drop an Instructions field from the left-hand side into the box under “If the answer fails”. In the Instructions box, type in the action the submitter needs to take to fix the temperature issue. Alternatively, instead of an Instructions field, you can put a Multiple Choice or Text field so the user can indicate what they did to resolve the issue.www.zenput.com_builder__Screenshot-_Desktop___3___1_.png
    • If using non-Bluetooth temperature probes, you can also require submitters to take a photo of the thermometer so you can verify that the inputted temperature is accurate.
    • If an equipment’s temperature is out of range, you may want to notify the maintenance team and district manager for that store.
      1. Here, you will also select the Enable Pass/Fail Range checkbox and set the temperature ranges. Then, select Create Trigger. You’ll be asked to Publish the changes you made- select Ok.
      2. On the Triggers page, input the temperature threshold for triggering the alert.
      3. To send a task to your maintenance team if the temperature is out of range, click into the Task section.
      4. In Assign to, select Role and select the role name of your maintenance users. Under Due, select how long the maintenance user has to complete the task of fixing the equipment.
      5. If you want to send any Alerts in addition to the task, you can set that up in the Alerts section.www.zenput.com_builder__Screenshot-_Desktop___4___1_.png

Food Safety Standards

  1. For non-temp food safety checks (e.g “Was the soap dispenser refilled?”), you can add fields such as Yes/No, Multiple Choice, Number, Checkbox, and more.
  2. If any critical violations are uncovered, you want the submitter to know what to do in order to correct the issue, or for management to be made aware. For example: if the question “Is the walk-in freezer clean and free of dirt, mold, and food scraps?” is answered “No”, you want to automatically assign a follow-up task to the store manager to have it taken care of.
    1. For that question, select Create Trigger. This will take you to the Triggers tab of the form builder (you’ll be prompted to publish your changes before navigating away). Input the criteria for which you want a follow-up task created and who you want the task to be assigned to. Below, I’m assigning a photo task to the store’s General Manager whenever the question “Is the walk-in clean” is answered “No”. Similarly, you can alert someone about this issue in the Alerts section.www.zenput.com_builder__Screenshot-_Desktop___1___1_.png

Optional: Use Scoring to count food safety issues

To easily identify food safety check submissions that had many food safety issues (deviations), you can score the form to add up each deviation. If a submission has more than 5 deviations, for example, you can set up an alert to go to the Field Leader of that store.

  • Once you add all your questions, add a Formula field. Then click Go To Formula.
  • In the Score tab, the Formula Type should be on +Sum. Drag every question field that you want to count. If you want, you can only add “Critical” fields or you can add all of them.
  • For each deviation to count as one, put “1” in the number box next to “No” for Yes/No questions, or put “1” in the Lower Bound section for things under temp (see screenshot below). You also need to input the temperature bounds here. You can also assign higher values to more important questions and lower value to less important questions.
  • Once, all your question fields are in the formula, select Done on the bottom right.www.zenput.com_builder__Screenshot-_Desktop___6___1_.png

For more details about Scoring, take a look our support article here

Assign scheduled food safety check to your stores

To assign these food safety checks to your stores on a recurring basis, you’ll need to create Projects. For each store to complete 3 food safety checks every day, you’ll need to create 3 separate recurring projects.

  • From the Projects page, click Create Project.
  • From the Form drop down, select your Food Safety Check form (or whatever you called it)
  • For the title, type in something to differentiate this Project from the others. You can simply name it “Morning Food Safety Check”.
  • Under Assignments, select Locations, All Teams, and under Role, select the role name for your store managers
  • Under Frequency, select daily. If you want each store to complete 3 food safety checks per day, you’ll want to set the Due time between 8am and 12pm (for example).
  • In the Project Preview section, ensure everything looks correct.unnamed.png

For more details on how to create a recurring project, check out our support article here.

Optional: Reporting

To get insights into your stores’ execution of these food safety checks, you can set up an automated report to be sent to your DM’s daily and to Ops leaders weekly (or monthly). Here’s how to do that:

  • From the Reports page, click Create Report
  • Then, select the Project Completion Recap report from the Projects tab and click Create Report.Screen_Shot_2020-08-07_at_3.58.50_PM.png
  • On the next page, in the Team and Role section, select any. For the date, select Yesterday (for daily Field Leader reports) or Weekly (for weekly Operations Leader reports). Then click Save.
  • In the pop up window, name the report (e.g. “Daily DM project recap report” or “Weekly Ops leader project recap report”), select Daily (DM) or Weekly (Ops Leader) for the frequency, and select your District Manager or Ops Leader’s role in the Send to > Role section. Click Done.Screen_Shot_2020-08-10_at_2.44.47_PM.png

For more details on creating Project Recap Reports, check out our support article here.

Need help setting this up? Reach out to your customer success manager or reach out to the support team via chat or support@zeput.com!

 

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