Until this year, one quick-service restaurant relied exclusively on paper checklists to track equipment and temperature logs, manage inventory, and label food. The manager was uncomfortably aware that temperatures sometimes went unchecked, and even checked items sometimes went unmarked if, for example, there wasn’t a pen handy.
“When we were using paper checklists before, it took a lot of time,” she says. “When you have to ruffle through paper on the clipboard and look for a pen, sometimes you skip something on the list or you think ‘I’ll do that one later,’ but forget.”
The restaurant would occasionally get bad marks on an inspection for not keeping better logs, even though the staff was diligent in keeping equipment and food at proper temperatures.
“In our audits, we used to see violations of incomplete temp logs, and we really wanted to eliminate that. Another thing was not writing corrective actions in the log, when a temperature variance was identified.”
All of that changed, however, in March, when the store was selected to test new back-of-house automation technology that has greatly increased the kitchen’s organization and improved restaurant efficiency and compliance.
“All of our processes are running more smoothly. Everything is more organized. My advice—embrace the efficiency!”
The BOHA! system from TransAct brings restaurant kitchen processes online and automates monitoring, response, and reporting through the use of apps, tablets, handheld devices, or their BOHA! terminal. By implementing this technology, the restaurant manager and her staff have been able to integrate a large number of back-of-house protocols—including food prep, labeling, timers, and temperature logs, something that used to pose a particular challenge.
“We would usually miss a couple of items here and there,” she says, “but now that we’re looking at the tablets, it’s much easier and quicker to see what needs to be done. Also, our staff knows exactly what to do without having to think about what to prep or having to ask a manager for instructions.”
Now, the manager says the Bluetooth technology—which connects equipment temperatures to tablet devices and updates information every few minutes—helps to ensure consistent and accurate reporting. Even if she’s not in the restaurant, she can view the day’s charts and receive notifications whenever a temperature goes out of range, for example, and also when back-of-house employees take corrective action.
She estimates at least 30 minutes per day are saved on temperature logs alone—“which is huge for a restaurant.” She has been able to re-allocate that time saved to completing other necessary tasks, such as speeding up food prep, improving customer service, and responding to urgent needs.
“It’s difficult to quantify with numbers,” she says, “but all of our processes are running more smoothly. Everything is more organized.”
By Erin McPherson