All restaurants, especially chains, that are focused on achieving operational excellence perform some combination of daily, weekly, monthly, or even quarterly inspections and audits. This helps ensure that each and every location is adhering to standard operating procedures, ranging from meeting brand standards to complying with health and safety regulations, not to mention food preparation, which adds another level of complexity.
Operators need to ensure their facilities are kept to a high standard to ensure the health of their diners. And, naturally, the government takes this seriously. Health and safety inspectors will visit locations without warning to ensure locations are up to code. And internal restaurant inspections help operators ensure they ace every government inspection.
But, if you’re not arming your employees with the right restaurant inspection software, you’re missing out on some key benefits. The right solution for managing your inspections will:
- Create a culture of consistency and accountability
- Improve efficiency across locations
- Drive ongoing operational improvements
For the purpose of this article, we will refer to the staff members conducting these audits simply as “inspectors”, and we’ll use the food safety example to illustrate the benefits of inspection software.
Regular restaurant inspections create a culture of consistency and accountability
Restaurants need to be in a constant state of readiness — whether for visits by customers or government inspectors. Regular restaurant inspections give operators confidence that their locations are meeting the standards they’ve set.
Restaurant inspection software serves to connect all your locations. Standardized inspection forms are created either from scratch or using a customizable template. Staff then use tablets or smartphones to load the relevant forms and complete inspections. Once finished, the results are submitted to a central database with one click.
Because the forms are loaded as needed, updates to the master inspection form apply to all subsequent inspections. This ensures that staff of all experience levels are following the same steps regardless of their location. As a result, employees can work autonomously faster — which is a major bonus during labor shortages.
Since users are logged in to the software, tracking when, where, and by who an inspection was completed is easy. This creates accountability for inspectors and lets managers know who they can direct any questions to. Plus, inspectors can see the results from the last inspection during their current one. This way they can easily identify areas that need special attention.
Mobile restaurant inspections improve efficiency across all locations
Restaurant inspection software provides a workflow that traditional paper forms simply cannot compare to. Where a single change makes old printed forms obsolete, digital inspection forms update automatically.
Inspection software can also account for the differences between locations. For example, if some locations have a drive-thru and others don’t this difference can be accounted for using tags. Simply assign a “drive-thru” tag to relevant locations. Then map inspections items related to the drive through to this tag.
As a result, they will be pulled into inspections for these locations only. This means the inspector will always have the correct forms to collect the necessary information. And it can help junior staff ensure they have conducted a thorough inspection.
Restaurant inspection software allows you to streamline communication. Built in automation allows you to assign follow-up actions without waiting for a team member to review the results of an inspection.
For example, consider an inspection is submitted and the walk-in freezer’s temperature is too warm. Inspection software can automatically trigger and alert to all stakeholders. It can also assign a task to the location's manager to follow up. And, once the issue is resolved, all relevant stakeholders will be immediately updated.
Automating regular reports can further reduce manual work. Schedule regular reports with all relevant data, and only the relevant data, to each team member. This allows them to stay focused on the metrics that matter to them and they stay informed at all times.
Restaurant inspection software drives ongoing operational improvements
Restaurant inspection software unleashes a new level of visibility for your team. By going digital, there is no need to waste time with data re-entry into a reporting system or pouring over paper inspection results. Instead, you can organize the data from across all your locations into dashboards that update in real-time.
Identify and send recognition to locations that are setting the standard across your business. Track trends, both positive and negative, to capitalize on opportunities and resolve issues before they become bigger problems. Understand what underperforming locations are doing differently in order to help them improve.
Restaurant inspection software allows you to easily segment your data. Tags, discussed earlier, can be used to group questions for reporting purposes too. Assigning tags to questions enables you to pull and report on only these questions across all inspections. This makes it easier to track quantifiable results as you initiate operational changes.
Taking restaurant inspections digital is only the first step. Excel workbooks or note pads can cut down on wasted paper. But only restaurant inspection software can help you create a culture of consistency and accountability, improve efficiency across locations, and drive ongoing operational improvements.
But don’t take our word for it. Try IntouchCheck™ for free and see for yourself the benefits of connecting your locations with restaurant inspection software.