The limitation of traditional restaurant quality assurance measures is that you never realize you have a problem until your QA Director shows up to your office at 5:00 PM on a Friday night; and by then it's too late. Problems can arise when you least expect them to, and something seemingly minor can blow up into a big crisis - and crises can harm your company’s bottom line and reputation.
For quality assurance and food safety professionals within the restaurant industry, emerging technology is simplifying processes and adding assurances that all elements in the food supply chain are healthy, clean, and safe for consumption.
For most people who work in the food industry, the definition of “food safety” may not seem difficult. However, maybe it’s time we stopped and considered how food safety is defined by our most important stakeholder, the consumer.
At any given restaurant, you’ll find technology being used in every aspect throughout the business. This technology is constantly adapting to make your business run more efficiently, increase your bottom line, and provide your customers with a greater experience than ever before.
I was at a meeting today that finished just before lunch. It was in a recently developed area I’d not been to before, so I decided to pop in to a restaurant and grab a bite to eat before heading back to the office.
It was a beautiful new place, all white tiles and stainless steel with some funky hipster artwork to offset the slightly clinical look. I approached the counter to place my order, and there they were! In use! Right in front of me!
Do you remember your first day on the job in QA (Quality Assurance) or QC (Quality Control)?
I sure do. I started directly out of college as a QC laboratory chemist and worked my way up, but there are two things I remember well from that first day: First, my laboratory trainer kept introducing me as a “whippersnapper,” which I thought was a fish until I Googled it…talk about embarrassing. I also remember a huge, white, three-ring binder. It was well used, the cover was worn, and the pages were crinkled and faded. But what it contained! All of the QC and QA acronyms, industry guides, a compilation of experiences (even the bad ones), QC definitions, standard operating procedures, scientific references, laboratory methods…so much information! Some might call it a cheat sheet, but we called it the Holy Grail of QC. As I progressed in my career, I developed my own binder with similar information for my employees, and I strongly suggest you do the same.
Let’s take a look at a few examples of what you might want to include in yours:
“The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”
The way I interpret this Chinese proverb is: “You probably should have invested in something important a long time ago, but just because you slacked off then, doesn’t mean you can’t start today.”
Ahhh, so you want to be in Quality Assurance (QA)? WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU!? I'm just kidding, but seriously though.... you should consider investing in a good therapist, yoga mat (skip the yoga pants), antacids, coffee maker (don't cheap out--get the good stuff), your local drinking establishment, or whatever else makes you forget the onslaught of daily psychological abuse. Please know that I wear my QA "badge" (it’s really just a lab coat) proudly. However, you need to understand that this job is not a typical 9-to-5. Every day is different, every problem is unique, and people burn out so fast it'll remind you of your college freshman seminar speech (remember the one where the Chancellor says, "look at the person to your left and right, as one of them will not make it after year one?").