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Overcoming Checklist Challenges with the Saf-T-Log

The JungleWhen it comes to developing an effective system for daily line checks and temperature recording we've found that more often than not, operations managers are faced with many of the same challenges. Whether it's overcoming a language barrier, trying to find a balance between FOH and BOH, or simply being able to read the reports, line checks and temperature measurements need to get done - there's simply no getting around it.

What follows are the top three most often mentioned challenges food service operators face when it comes to developing a healthy HACCP program, and how the ThermoWorks Saf-T-Log® addresses those challenges and makes life easier.

"Pencil Whipping" Risks

In the food service industry, no two days are ever the same. This makes planning very difficult. Early morning line checks can be interrupted by staff calling in sick, plumbing problems, incomplete produce orders, or the early rush that you never saw coming.

This can cause some team members to simply "pencil whip," or rush through line and temperature checks with fabricated data, which provides incomplete and inaccurate records for the shift. Managers at the executive level are well aware of the dangers of such reporting and understand the potential consequences that follow.

The innovative Saf-T-Log thermocouple thermometer has a built-in system that records the time, date, user and pass/fail status for every item on a line check sheet. This feature effectively eliminates the ability for staff to "pencil whip" reports.

Excessive Labor Costs

Few things will garner more attention from the "higher ups" than running high labor cost. When the corporate office wants to see how much money you're spending on labor per shift, the thought of adding more bodies to your schedule seems unthinkable. Yet in many cases, managers are asked to have a team of two or more persons perform their line checks. That's two people who could be helping prep for a busy shift.

Chefs and line cooks are often pulled off of important prep to accompany managers with clip boards and thermometers to mull over line items. One calls out the product and the other records the temperature. This process can take up to an hour (or more) to complete - depending on the size of the operation.

The Saf-T-Log effectively eliminates the need for clip boards and hand written reports. Instead, a single user can scroll through a customizable list of products on the handheld, insert the temperature probe and, with one touch, record the correct temperatures. No longer a two-man job, the Saf-T-Log will stream line your line check operation and help you complete the task in half the time, with half the staff.

Effective Communication

Effective communication is a key step in the success of any business, let alone food service. Ask any manager and they will tell you that they are happiest when they know their boss is happy. On the flip side, bosses are happiest when they know what's happening in their stores.

There's nothing worse than having to answer for a poor health inspection score, especially when it comes as the result of poor record keeping and inconsistent line checks. While the boss was under the impression that line checks were getting done, the fact is, operations can sometimes get the better of the team, and a few days get missed.

The Saf-T-Log allows users to download their records (with corrective actions added) and store them on a PC or shared file for safe keeping. Files (saved in a PDF format) can be emailed to area managers to check for accuracy and consistency. When daily reports have to be emailed to the boss the likely hood of them being skipped over is reduced.

It's clear that developing a HACCP system for a food service (or food processing) operation does not come without its challenges. Multiple menu items, multiple stages in the flow of food, multiple pieces of equipment and multiple food handlers can all hinder the establishment of an efficient and effective personalized HACCP program. However, having the right tool for the job can make the process a lot easier.

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