Dec. 22, 2016
By Doug Sutton, president, Steritech
An effective food safety program is essential, but not all tactics implemented in the interest of good food safety are as helpful as you'd think. Surprisingly, these common practices can harm your business in the long run:
1. Tying bonuses directly to scores
When bonuses are on the line, don't be surprised when employees game the system. From dumping sanitizer buckets (because staff aren't sure they're diluted properly), to throwing out perfectly good food (because no one knows if it's the correct temperature), "gaming" behavior can waste your profit dollars and mask a location's day-to-day food safety practices.
The better approach: Make the audit score one component of several within your bonus scheme. Reward your team for how quickly they fix critical issues, and/or how well they respond to voice-of-customer scores. In the end, your staff will focus less on an audit score, and more on running a smooth operation.
2. Scoring only what’s wrong
Audits are inherently intimidating for location employees. Staff often feel an auditor is out to get them, resulting in an “us versus them” culture that is neither healthy nor productive.
The better approach: Use the opportunity as a positive, teachable moment. Help staff understand why standards are in place and how they can improve. You’ll not only build trust, you’ll also help your team learn and grow in their respective roles.
3. Relying on internal programs
While an internal solution might seem cheaper or more effective, the opposite is often true. They command time, energy and dollars spent on recruiting, hiring, training and managing a team. And as your brand grows, so will the effort required.
Even if run well, there are some things an internal program can never offer. You won’t know how locations perform against competitors. And perhaps more importantly, you won’t benefit from the expertise that a third-party team naturally develops over years of work with brands other than your own.
The better approach: Consider an experienced, expert third-party assessment partner. They can scale up or down to suit your needs and do so faster and cost-effectively. They can administer the program at a higher level of consistency and measure success against one all-important goal ― mitigating risk and driving growth for your brand.