With the spread of COVID-19, food service operators have had to rethink many of their practices to ensure the safety of their employees and their customers. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), operators of grocery stores and other food retail establishments should develop a COVID-19 health and safety plan to protect both employees and the public.

Building consumer confidence while maintaining a healthy work environment and a healthy business operation requires a strong attention to detail. One effective way to manage this multitude of tasks is to utilize cloud-based technology that allows for oversight of both employee assignments and back-of-house activities, including the receiving of goods and vendor performance.

Employee health and task management

Ensuring the health and safety of staff can be a difficult task for managers. Now with even greater urgency than in the past, managers must assign and track cleanings, food prep, equipment checks, and other tasks from start to finish, while at the same time being able to juggle tasks as needed based on availability and changing needs.

Fortunately, new tools are quickly becoming available to help increase efficiencies in this area. One such example is the new Task Management application, available exclusively through DayMark’s MenuPilot® Kitchen Automation Platform. This application gives managers the ability to track and oversee employee assignments, scheduling, and health while also giving staff the ability to document the progress of ongoing operations in both the front- and back-of-house. The app can also host training material for additional cleaning and sanitization procedures that are vital to maintaining a safe and healthy working environment.

Perhaps most importantly, the Task Management application features a unique added utility that records daily health details, including temperature levels—ideally taken with an infrared thermometer or no-contact body temp scanner, as temperature monitoring becomes an increasingly important part of the reopening process—and a variety of symptoms employees may be experiencing. When staff members are designated as ‘sick,’ they cannot be assigned tasks until they are determined to be healthy.

Vendor Health and Food Safety Management

Equally important to food service operators is providing customers with the products they want and need. Early in the pandemic, many food retailers ran out of products due to customer demand. Tracking received shipments of goods, including non-conformances, short-ships, and vendor performance is a daunting task when working to meet customer demand. Tracking short, out-of-spec, or incorrect orders can be a nightmare for food service operators.

One way to ease frustration, however, is utilizing cloud-based technology to track and adjust expected shipment statuses and keep open deliveries on hold based on delays or other incomplete information.

DayMark’s other new addition to their kitchen automation offerings, the Receiving Module—also available exclusively through the MenuPilot platform—is one such example. The app features a convenient, easy-to-use interface and offers a variety of features, including a driver compliance test. This innovative feature requires delivery drivers to answer a series of questions related to their risk of carrying COVID-19. The shipment cannot be received until the test has been completed, and if the driver cannot pass the test, the shipment can be rejected.

These new technologies provide dashboards with a high-level overview of tasks, including current statuses on assignments, shipments, and other details necessary to operations. Operators can also use the Manager View to view task data, compare performances, maintain employee information, and measure data related to vendors, items, and delivery times.

Using technology can go a long way in maintaining customer confidence, organizing inventory, and ensuring the safety of employees and the public.