Finding, hiring, and retaining employees who are willing to work flexible hours day or night as well as weekends is an ongoing struggle.
As operators face added pressures to ensure staff productivity, work quality, and efficient scheduling, it is more important than ever to properly manage existing staff to save time in replacing and training new employees. Personnel issues can lead operators to focus less on customers, food safety, and—ultimately—the bottom line.
With limited time and resources, automation has become essential in food service operations. Freeing up staff to focus more on revenue-generating tasks and less on maintenance-related duties is a key strategy in the ongoing struggle to make the best use of available resources.
Fortunately, emerging technologies are introducing easier-to-use solutions to daily responsibilities that challenge operators, including food prep tasks, tracking received shipments and—perhaps most importantly—temperature monitoring and food checks.
Improper food temperatures are consistently cited as one of the most common food safety violations and, with the increased emphasis on food safety, preparation and storage at c-stores has become much more involved—and a much greater safety risk. Monitoring hot and cold holding temperatures is both tedious and sometimes ineffective as staff are required to frequently check food temperatures and manually record them.
Automated temp monitoring solutions, however, provide remote, real-time monitoring. In addition, many of these systems have been optimized for stores with larger footprints or with obstacles (such as coolers and freezers) that inhibit the way individual components of automated temp monitoring systems communicate with one another.
Systems such as the Temp Monitoring and Food Check Solution—part of the DayMark’s MenuCommand kitchen automation platform—utilizes available cutting-edge LoRa technology that increases efficiencies and improves good practices by allowing for longer-range communication between system components. The technology is ideal for more efficient tracking of temperature, humidity, and other environmental factors in large-format locations that see heavy foot traffic and other obstacles scattered across the store.
Regardless of the size of the store, these automated systems—including the DayMark solution—replace the need for staff to manually log temperatures. Accessing real time performance data to address potential food safety issues also allows for efficient tracking of temperature, humidity, and other environmental factors, including equipment downtime or refrigerant leaks. With wireless sensors, a gateway for internet connectivity, and a web-based dashboard, data can be monitored using a PC, a tablet, or even a smartphone. Data can be retrieved from anywhere, at any time, empowering trained staff to correct any problems before inventory is affected.
Automated temp monitoring also reduces maintenance costs and provides better energy efficiency, resulting in a positive bottom line.
Deploying this technology in c-store management creates intangible benefits for customers. Investing in a wirelessly-connected infrastructure that maintains food safety and freshness—and can navigate large spaces and obstacles—helps customers get the most out of their experience and keeps them coming back.
Article originally appeared on the Convenience Store News website