Cost Reduction

Quality and Safety Control in the Supply Chain

The supply chain of a restaurant can easily remain invisible until the unthinkable happens and a shipment of beef contains E coli contaminants. One person ends up in the hospital but tens of thousands see it on the news and through social media channels. Next week, your revenue is down 20 percent just from one little bacterium. Could you have done something to stop this from happening? Maybe, and maybe not. But knowing that you have the highest standards of quality and safety control helps you and your loyal customers remain confident that you are doing everything in your power to ensure that those that come to enjoy a fine meal with you leave feeling better, not worse, than when they walked in. It’s a lesson you do not want to learn the hard way—jeopardizing quality for profitability.

 

The Supply Chain

Controlling a supply chain can seem daunting. It begins where the food is grown, be it produce or animal product. Having a written Supplier Code of Conduct let’s suppliers know what you expect of them in order to ensure quality and safe food for your guests. Select suppliers who use good animal welfare practices and do not use antibiotics to promote growth. This means knowing where your vendor gets their products from, discussing their traceability program, and holding them accountable. Vendor supply trucks should be routinely checked for cleanliness and temperature. Make sure you are purchasing your product from an approved and reputable restaurant food distributor and consider obtaining food directly from certified growers and co-ops when able.

Quality issues don’t necessarily have to result in a major “news headline” illness. It can be the everyday inconsistencies that bring down a restaurant. An inferior product can be just as much, if not more so, devastating.

 

The Steps

To ensure quality and safety, steps need to be written, recorded and undertaken. A SOP for food safety and hygiene should be a written manual that is mandatory reading for all employees who operate along the food supply chain. This includes employee personal hygiene, hand washing, use of gloves, pest control, maintenance, cleaning and handling of equipment, sanitization, restaurant cleaning schedule and protocol as well as the standards for purchasing, receiving and storing food as well as waste and out-dated food removal.

 

Specifics to consider:

  • Dishwasher is running at 130F degrees or hotter. Sanitation is running at 160F degrees or hotter.
  • Maintain temperature log of refrigerators, freezers, product temperatures upon arrival from supplier as well as while in storage. Refrigerator should be at 40F degrees or below and freezer at 0F degrees or below. Safe food temperatures are 40F degrees or colder and 140F degrees or hotter. Specific protein temperatures vary. Refrigerate perishable food within one hour of receiving.
  • Protocol for defrosting includes thawing food in the refrigerator on a bottom shelf to prevent dripping on other products, under running water which is at 70F degrees or below, or defrosting in a microwave for immediate use.
  • Methods to prevent cross-contamination include use of separate areas, cutting boards and utensils for fresh produce and meat products.

 

Defining Quality

Quality can be hard to define, but easy to detect. You feel it from the minute you sit down in a restaurant. It’s in the minutest of details—the arrangement of the table, the care in designing the menu, the attentive service and ultimately the food itself. Consistency plays a large part in this dynamic. To this end, ensure that all menu items have a written recipe and portion protocol in place. Quality begins in the field and is defined on the table. Make sure you have implemented all the necessary steps that produce a finished product that is of the highest of standards. In a competitive industry, it is the only way to truly thrive.

 

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