ArrowStream Foodservice Blog

5 Benefits of a Food Safety Management System

Posted by Kate Hubbard on Aug 13, 2020 9:00:00 AM

In the foodservice industry, your brand’s reputation is only as good as the quality of your food. 

No matter the type of meals your restaurant chain is serving, whether it’s a healthy interpretation of fast food or consisting of classic all-American favorites; if there are food quality issues affecting taste, consistency, and safety, you will likely lose customers for life. 

How Food Management Software Ensures Product Safety

Combat the costs associated with a strong food safety process, and provide an optimized customer experience with an advanced food safety management system. Built-in data analytics help to accelerate your operations while improving product compliance and safety. 

This is easily achievable thanks to proactive complaint alerts, organized resolution workflow capacities and accessible quality trend data.

Read on to learn about quality issues that ‘Chipotle Mexican Grill’ experienced and what software features aid in avoiding these common food safety problems. 

Chipotle’s Food Safety Crisis: What You Can Learn

In 2015, an initial wave of 53 people within the United States were officially diagnosed with E. coli after eating at Chipotle. Twenty of these customers became so ill that they required hospitalization, and some faced the possibility of kidney failure.

After the initial E. Coli cases, contamination problems persisted at other Chipotle locations throughout the US, resulting in additional outbreaks of salmonella, various strains of E. coli and the highly contagious virus, Norovirus.

The public’s response to this health safety crisis was aggravated by Chipotle’s branding and strong claims to their customers. Previously viewed as a healthy and well-loved chain restaurant across generations, their brand advocated for ethical and high-quality food sourcing.

How was this achieved? Their marketing teams had created animated videos promoting Chipotle as a restaurant where food was guaranteed to be fresh and ethically sourced as a means of gaining a competitive advantage. Even their tagline “food with integrity,” emphasized this value to customers.

The crisis led affected customers to feel tricked by marketing and many began questioning if Chipotle was a healthier fast-food alternative. 

The Short and Long-Term Opportunity Costs of a Tarnished Brand

Unfortunately, the consequences of the preventable foodborne illnesses were immediate. Store locations closed where outbreaks had occurred. Chiptole’s stock value declined by 30%, and store sales dropped significantly over multiple quarters. 

Currently, the repercussions are still ongoing, and Chipotle agreed to pay a $25 million fine as recently as this year. This is the largest fine to ever be imposed for food safety violations and serves to resolve the charges of serving food that was not within food safety compliance from 2015 to 2018.

This scenario is every supply chain operator’s and public relations team’s worst nightmare. 

However, every restaurant chain can gain a valuable lesson from what Chipotle learned the hard way –food safety management is integral to your brand’s success.

Achieve High Food Safety While Reducing Supply Chain Costs

Dr. Mansour Samadpour, the president and CEO of IEH Laboratories and Consulting Group explained food safety operations succinctly when he said: 

“Being in compliance with industry standards is less than 5 percent of what companies need to do to make food safe. Company after company finds that out after they have events.”

So how do you create a successful food safety program while still keeping it cost-effective?

The answer is to implement a data-driven food safety management system. Maximize your budget and avoid making your meals more expensive or transitioning to smaller portions, which may upset your customer base.

Instead, your foodservice organization can choose a food safety management system that provides all of your supply chain players with end-to-end visibility through real-time data and mapping features. 

Using your software with an agile framework (featured below) ensures that you will remain prepared for quality risks.

5 Benefits of a Food Safety Management System

Accelerate Quality Control Response

One of the most critical aspects of promoting food safety is how you handle quality issues when they occur. Responding in real-time to restaurant quality issues is key to ensuring your company’s reputation remains protected. By implementing a software that records quality issues 24/7 on a centralized dashboard, you can resolve them 50% faster than with an out-dated, manual, legacy system. 

Centralized dashboards, such as the one featured below called ‘Aging Quality Incidents’, offer various visibility features. This specific feature allows you to view outstanding issues that need fixing across your supply chain.

Lead Partner Accountability Initiatives

Obtain quality trend data to determine overarching product quality and safety issues before the product gets used in your restaurant locations. This visibility into supplier production drives partner accountability by increasing awareness while helping further your organization’s plan of action for preventative measures. 

Data can be further organized by fair quality metrics to create a performance scorecard, indicating how your partners are doing, and giving you better insight into supplier and distributor operations. 

The system also benefits suppliers because they have easy access to Supplier Pricing Portals, where they can input data updates to the visible, measurable goals that your company has stated as priorities.

Lastly, this data can be analyzed to optimize other company operations, such as contracting and sourcing decisions. For instance, if data shows damaged products are consistently being delivered to restaurant locations, operators can choose to resolve the issue directly with the partner at fault or source it from a partner with a better product performance. 

Streamline Communication for Improved Quality Resolve Tactics

Don’t leave your suppliers out of the loop when it comes to providing feedback on which food safety management efforts are showing success. Make sure to additionally provide early communication on what actions are needed for improvement, as well as overall milestones your company is striving to achieve within the short and long-term future.

Communicating real-time with suppliers through a food safety software prevents costly misunderstandings and ensures improved resolution within a timely manner. Its efficiency lowers your long-term supply chain costs across multiple functions, in addition to providing essential food safety management. 

Enhance the Credit Recovery Process

When food safety issues require attention, leveraging a software solution that provides automated credit matching can make your operations easier. Save your employee’s time by having your credits checked across your invoices thanks to intelligent data. This will confirm that resolution requirements have been met. 

Choosing a software that organizes data can also further help achieve this as reporting will be organized clearly, highlighting outstanding credits so they are not forgotten.

Quickly Prepare for Inspections

Prepare for successful inspections and documentation without cutting corners or sacrificing food safety. As auditors and regulatory agents frequently request data and expect it within a short time-frame, having an advanced food safety software means that you can quickly extract organized data for faster approval.

Develop a strengthened food safety strategy with software

Leveraging a food management software for quality control is a reliable and cost-effective means of managing your supply chain. 

Click here to learn more about how ArrowStream can help your company surpass product quality compliance. Experience a food safety software solution that provides better supplier collaboration and increased food quality visibility, resulting in quick and effective incident resolution.

Topics: Market Intelligence, Strategic Sourcing

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