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First Watch Restaurant Shut Down for Live Insects

Here is another example of one bad actor running unsafe operations bringing unwanted media attention to the whole chain.

Click here to watch the news report

This is a trend, local news stations are trying to own food safety. In Denver, it is Fox 31; this story is by an ABC affiliate in Tampa. The reporter states to friend her on Facebook and send her tips on dirty restaurants. We can expect to see more of these stories.

Report Card:

First watch corporate based on our information gets a C.

Things they did well:

  1. They got Steritech in there to deal with the roach problem quickly.
  2. They released a statement from corporate.
  3. I’m inferring this from the report, they use Steritech or some other company, to inspect several times a year.

Things they could have done better:

  1. The completely glossed over the troubling things: roaches are gross, but they aren’t as dangerous as 56-degree pancake batter.
  2. Chemicals cross contamination is terrifying; ask the poor woman in Utah, who drank the bad sweat tea.
  3. The biggest ding against First Watch corporate; they don’t have the proper systems in place to identify issues and to ensure that their restaurants are performing safely at all times.

3rd party inspections a couple of times a year aren’t enough. You need systems in place to identify issues on a daily basis and to hold restaurant managers/owners accountable. I’m not advocating Orwellian type oversight. I’m not saying you need more area manager’s or a restaurant cop in every restaurant every day making sure that nothing bad ever happens.

I’m advocating:

  • Building a culture of responsibility and using those cultural standards to weed out people who don’t fit in your organization.
  • Setting up incentive based systems where you reward your teams for doing things right.
  • Designing your systems so that everyone is getting training on the critical things frequently.
  • Using technology to gather information.
  • Most importantly having the due care processes in place, so that when you identify an issue there is a clear set of guidelines that your team follows to correct it.

My name is Tommy Yionoulis and I’m a restaurant and software guy.  If you like what you read, please follow OpsAnalitica on LinkedIn and follow our blog.

Written by

I've been in the restaurant industry for most of my adult life. I have a BSBA from University of Denver Hotel Restaurant school and an MBA from the same. When I wasn't working in restaurants I was either doing stand-up comedy, for 10 years, or large enterprise software consulting. I'm currently the Managing Director of OpsAnalitica and our Inspector platform was originally conceived when I worked for one of the largest sandwich franchisors in the country. You can reach out to me through LinkedIn.

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