The coronavirus pandemic continues to challenge food retailers both big and small. Operators are looking for new and innovative ways to meet increased demand, ensure the safety and health of workers and customers, and maintain confidence in products and vendor services. 

Many of the new technologies being implemented to assist with these concerns were already making their way into everyday supermarket and grocery businesses; however, the pandemic has forced store owners to move forward much more quickly. Newly developed technologies are now playing a critical role in helping store operators meet employee and consumer expectations related to food safety, health standards, and product availability.

Overcoming Food Safety Challenges

Using technology can go a long way to uphold customer confidence, maintain food safety, and ensure the safety of employees and the public. For example, by investing in automated food temperature monitoring systems, operators can worry less and focus more on delivering customer satisfaction. 

An example of one such system is the DayMark Temp Monitoring and Food Check Solution offered by DayMark Safety Systems in partnership with JRI – designers and manufacturers of measuring, control, and monitoring solutions. This HACCP-compliant system provides food safety management, temperature monitoring, and compliance through an intuitive and comprehensive web application, either wirelessly or through a hardwired connection. Key advantages include an automatic alert that is sent via text or email when the system detects critical temperature changes that could affect food safety and quality, and the ability for operators to perform automated temperature and food checks from a remote location as frequently as needed. The system eliminates the need for staff to manually check temperatures and is an accurate and reliable way to make sure all foods are stored and cooked correctly.

Ensuring the Health of Employees and the Public

Technology that can help safeguard the wellbeing of employees and the public can also ease store operator concerns. Utilizing an application such as Task Management, available exclusively through DayMark’s MenuPilot® Kitchen Automation Platform, allows managers 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 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.

Vendor Health and Food Safety Management

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 status and keep open deliveries on hold based on delays or other incomplete information. DayMark’s Receiving Module, also available exclusively through the MenuPilot platform, is one example that 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. A 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 high-level overviews of statuses, performances, and other pertinent information and data that gives managers a new way to keep operations running smoothly.