Restaurant Sanitation Data: Using Analytics for a Healthier Operation
While restaurant sanitation has always been a priority, the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the need for clean processes. Now, the world of big data and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions adds another element to restaurant cleanliness.
With the ability to monitor, inform, and even automate sanitation in your restaurant through data analytics, restaurants are safer than ever. But what exactly can data tell you about the cleaning process? And how can you apply restaurant data effectively? In the wake of a global health crisis, a data-driven sanitation process should be your priority. Fortunately, this isn’t as complicated as it might sound.
How Data Benefits Sanitation
Simply put, your restaurant is constantly generating data, from when a customer places an order to the time they sit down (at home or on-site!) to eat it! Restaurant technology can gather that large-scale data and accumulate it for analytical purposes. Users can apply this data towards efficiency improvements, better marketing, and industry insights in virtually every industry. The foodservice industry is no different. With vendors like Kroger already using data to track customer purchasing patterns and movements throughout their stores, the value of data and food together has been discovered.
But what does this mean for restaurant food safety and sanitization?
Examples of Restaurant Sanitation Data Analytics
The applications of restaurant sanitation data analytics in streamlining cleanliness and quality are many. For example, a Columbia University team works with the NYC Department of Health to sift through Yelp restaurant reviews and find words like “sick” and “vomit.” Then, the data reveals patterns that flag certain restaurants for investigation. This process makes it possible for overworked and overburdened health and safety inspectors to target the most unsanitary restaurants and begin to make changes for the better.
The city of Chicago has adopted data-driven analysis and sanitation processes; an open portal tracks health complaints and food risk scores for the 15,000 restaurants within its regional boundaries. This portal collates restaurant sanitation data for analysis via a predictive algorithm. As a result, the city’s few health inspectors can prioritize the locations with the highest risk ratings.
In this fashion, communities are leveraging the power of data to ensure sanitary restaurant environments. But for the average restaurant, an operator can apply data internally to promote higher standards of sanitation.
Improving Your Cleaning Process with Restaurant Sanitation Data
The power of data offers limitless solutions to modern problems. For example, with the insights available through data, we can better understand everything from the spread of foodborne illnesses to what surfaces present the highest risk of spreading COVID-19. In turn, restaurant professionals can better understand where to disinfect rather than simply clean.
For example, restaurant hardware like credit card machines presents a higher risk factor for spreading illnesses. Restaurant workers who have the data to understand where common touchpoints are and how customers move about the building can adequately clean hardware with the proper attention to detail. You can measure this accumulated data with tech tools and software.
Kroger understood this when they used infrared sensors to track the way their customers moved about and interacted with their stores. IoT sensors, monitors, cameras, and modules can gather valuable information within a restaurant that informs decision-makers of critical factors. At the same time, you can track essential data points that correlate with risk through comprehensive software platforms.
In your search for the right software and tech tools, first, understand which metrics are important to track. The predictive model Chicago uses can be employed for free and assesses factors like:
● Three-day average high temperatures
● Length of time since the last inspection
● Nearby sanitation complaints
● Histories of previous violations
These data points are instrumental in exploring where common health violations may occur. For example, high temperatures without proper temperature control systems can lead to spoiled food and sick patrons. In addition, data helps you recognize where your metrics simply aren’t measuring up. Then, you can address any food safety problems.
Exploring your tech options to help you collect and analyze your data can make all the difference in making your restaurant more sanitary. Additionally, you can even use data to study the logistics of implementing contactless restaurant solutions, delivery services, or other procedures that limit guest exposure to communal spaces. Industry data is out there via data subscription services, while the data you collect in-house can also help you build effective sanitization practices.
Data can be a most effective tool in meeting patron expectations amidst the modern era’s health concerns.
Ensuring a Sanitary Restaurant in the COVID Era
Since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, health and safety have been at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Restaurants have had to rapidly adapt to CDC recommendations, social distancing standards, and food handling requirements. Unfortunately, few are likely to forget these concerns anytime soon.
By implementing a data-driven approach to understanding the cleanliness of your restaurant and its practices, you can ensure a business that meets the expectations of patrons in the COVID era. As a result, you’ll have a restaurant that avoids health shutdowns and bad press while promoting customer loyalty.
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About the Author
Beau Peters is a creative professional with a lifetime of experience in service and care. As a manager, he’s learned a slew of tricks of the trade that he enjoys sharing with others who have the same passion and dedication that he brings to his work. When he is not writing, he enjoys reading and trying new things.