I believe that the hospitality industry should adopt Due Diligence and Due Care as management concepts that we fully embrace and implement into our business processes. Due Diligence and Due Care are words associated with investing, and contracts. In my last position working in cyber security, those terms were defined as:
- Due Diligence: Identifying threats and risks.
- Due Care: Acting upon identified threats to mitigate risks.
In the context of restaurant management, I look at Due Diligence as doing what it takes to serve safe food in a safe environment. I didn’t say delicious food I said safe food. Meaning that we use HACCP principles to ensure that the food products that we are serving have been manufactured, delivered, stored, and prepared safely.
Most restaurants today are, or should be, conducting daily inspections of their facilities paying attention for critical food safety violations. Making sure food is stored safely, chemicals are stored away from food, temperature discipline is maintained both in cooling and heating. We aren’t introducing foreign contaminants into the food preparation areas and that all of our employees are healthy and trained in proper hygene are just some of the areas that we should be inspecting every shift. At OpsAnalitica we are learning that daily restaurant audit checklists are a key to keeping consumers safe.
As we have seen recently with the Chipotle e-coli outbreak they don’t even know which item(s) caused the outbreak at several of their restaurants earlier this month. This is speculation on my part, but since the e-coli outbreak happened at several locations it would make sense that it wasn’t one person that got everyone sick but that a food item that was shipped to multiple restaurants was responsible. It will be interesting to learn what caused this outbreak.
Using a restaurant checklist app to conduct daily checklists and managers following up on all violations is the best and cheapest way to perform our Due Diligence in providing safe food for our customers. Due Diligence is only half of the battle, Due Care is the other half.
Due Care procedures are the processes that you have in place for when you identify an issue. The key to Due Care is consistent and documented remediation of issues.
You may be familiar with the phrase “It’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up” that gets you into trouble. That is especially true when you are doing your Due Diligence, conducting a pre-shift inspection, and you identify an issue but then you don’t correct the issue safely.
An example: a restaurant supervisor completes a temperature log for a walk-in refrigerator, and records a 65-degree temperature. The person completing the temperature log isn’t aware that this temperature is in the danger zone, doesn’t do anything to fix the issue, they just serve the food and they get a lot of people sick.
We as a nation are very intolerant of companies that had enough forethought to identify a critical area on an checklist but then not have a plan to fix the issue when the dangerous conditions are identified. We find that unacceptable, and for good reason, you wouldn’t want to fly in a plane where the pilot knew a wing was missing but decided to take-off.
In the above example, we would hold the company responsible for not having the systems in place to notify management that their was an issue and not training their supervisor well enough to know that a 65-degree walk-in is dangerous. Using a restaurant checklist app that could automatically email an exception report of temperature violations to the appropriate managers would be a great first step in providing due care. Correcting the issue and documenting what actions were taken would close the loop on this issue and fulfill HACCP Rule #7 for documentation.
Look at your real-world experience, we understand when people make mistakes or accidents happen. We get furious and litigious when mistakes are made and the people responsible are clueless when they should have known better. We get even with businesses that profit while their customers get hurt.
As hospitality professionals, we have to make sure that our organizations, size doesn’t matter, have well documented Due Diligence and Due care processes in place. More importantly we have to train, consistently follow, and document those processes in their application. It is when we consistently apply our processes that we have a chance of protecting our brand and our businesses when we make a mistake.
If you would like to learn more about how conducting daily checklists can help you run more profitable restaurants, I invite you to download our free white paper here