Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

SEP 2018

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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Oven2020 our responsibility, but it also says to them that they play a part. Anything like that that allows us to not only help make food safe but also engages cus- tomers in the process is good." Going forward, technologies such as mobile apps will also help operators move the food-safety needle, King says. For ex- ample, putting information about allergens in menu items and standard operating pro- cedures for handling safety-related issues or complaints at employees' fingertips, via easily accessible phone apps, enables them to make better, faster decisions. Dennis Keith, president of consult- ing firm Respro Food Safety Profes- sionals and founder of Food Safety Nation, a foodservice-focused e-news- letter, agrees technology will continue to be a game-changer. Areas such as temperature monitoring and the ability for managers to remotely access and act on real-time information uploaded to the cloud help operators "move in the right direction," he says. "Any time you can automate some of these processes that employees need to do every day, like taking temperatures and checking sanitizer levels, that's helpful." Although tech solutions continue to develop rapidly and most large chains continue to implement them, Keith points out investment costs and lack of internal expertise keep many smaller operators on the sidelines. "Operators have to care- fully evaluate ROI. If there was a good system out there that really hit the mark it could deliver a lot of value," Keith says. "Unfortunately, even though the technol- ogy is advancing, not everyone's able to implement it. And there are still too many glitches and issues with communications and WiFi. There's also still a lot of work to be done with things like robotics. They might address labor and some safety issues, but what about cleanability and cross-contamination? A robot might not come to work with norovirus or hepa- titis A, but that doesn't mean it's not going to get dirty and harbor pathogens." Keith observes, too, that innovation seems to have stalled in some tradition- al equipment categories. On his wish list for safety-related disruptive ideas: next-gen cold tables. "Someone needs to find a way of keeping the food cold on top as well as on bottom," Keith says. "In hot climates and hot kitchens, unless you keep the lid closed all the time that's impossible to do with the current generation of equipment." IMPROVING SAFETY, VIRTUALLY One area in which disruptive innova- tion shows significant future promise is employee training, King says. He points to virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and wearable technology

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