In recent years, convenience stores (C-stores) have shifted focus to the development of foodservice, now the second largest contributor to in-store sales.* C-stores are transitioning heavily from pre-packaged foods and drinks to full menus of foodservice products, fresh produce, and more. This significant increase in the variety of foodservice options has brought attention to the food safety practices of C-stores. Many aspects of the Food Safety Modernization Act do not apply to C-stores, however this legislation has put pressure on the stores to implement preventive controls rather than reactive processes.
Companies are turning to mobile technology solutions to aid in food safety compliance, enhance foodservice operations, and reduce the risks of foodborne illness. Devices can track individual product's hold time, which can vary greatly depending on temperature and environment. With more freshly prepared food options than ever before, employees may become overwhelmed, possibly leading to poor food safety practices, like not monitoring hold times. One way to combat this is with computer-based training systems. Employees can quickly and easily access all training materials from a tablet on the shop floor, remaining customer facing. Digital versions of reference materials ensure that hold times are being executed properly on all food items to prevent foodborne illness.
Mobile technology also maintains food safety during product delivery. Employees can accurately measure and document incoming product delivery temperatures, specifically for refrigerated and frozen foods, to verify they are within the specified parameters. Companies have introduced remote monitoring to ensure product temperature compliance. Once delivered, the employee can use an integrated barcode scanner to instantly update inventory records, track expiration dates, and manage product shelf life.
Not only are mobile technology solutions aiding in preventative controls, they are also a highly cost-effective solutions. For food safety processes in particular, a mobile device is much more efficient and cost-effective than the typical pen-and-paper recording method often used in foodservice.
*National Association of Convenience Stores
Originally posted on May 11, 2021.