This summer, the Arkansas Department of Health advised people who had eaten at a specific McDonald’s to get vaccinated for Hepatitis A. This followed news that a McDonald’s employee had tested positive for the virus, which has infected nearly 400 people in Arkansas since early last year, Delish reports. When these events occur, expect the food safety landscape to shift – and put restaurant operators on the defensive. As of this writing, Detroit’s Public Health and Safety Committee was in the process of proposing an ordinance to require restaurants to use color-coded signs (as opposed to letter grades) to clarify their standing with the city’s health department, Food Safety News reports. A Hepatitis A outbreak in Detroit motivated the action, which is intended to both push operators to improve results and provide greater transparency to the public about a restaurant’s food safety record. The model for the color-coded system is Columbus, Ohio, which has a four-tiered system to classify a restaurant’s standing with the health department: Green, yellow, white and red signs announce whether a restaurant has passed inspection and meets the city’s standard, is closed based on the order of local health department officials, or falls somewhere in between.
After a couple of tough years following outbreaks of E.coli and Norovirus linked to its brand, Chipotle seems to be riding high, generating strong results in the previous five quarters and most recently, surpassing analyst forecasts with same-store growth of 10 percent. Having to adjust your food safety practices for the sake of your brand’s survival can lead to some progressive tactics. Brian Niccol, who took over as Chipotle’s chief executive in 2018, told the New York Times that the company now has a provision ensuring employees get paid when they call in sick, a zero-tolerance policy on asking sick people to work, and a new bonus program designed to minimize (or at least stave off) turnover. Employees who meet set performance benchmarks can earn the equivalent of an extra month’s pay over the course of a year.
Eatsa, the fast-casual restaurant that became a media darling for its cubby-delivered quinoa bowls, is formally changing gears to invest more in its technology – and that move is likely to cause a ripple effect across the rest of the foodservice industry. The company recently announced its rebranding from Eatsa to Brightloom, as well as a major infusion of venture capital investment and a new partnership with Starbucks. The partnership will allow Brightloom to access portions of the technology Starbucks uses for its mobile ordering and rewards program and license it to other foodservice companies. Take note if you’re interested in boosting the tech-enhanced service you offer guests or even if you just want to get a sneak peek at the sprouting of new tech trends, as there is likely more to come from the partnership. (As for the cubby pickup model that Eatsa introduced to the foodservice industry, we’re likely going to see more of that too: Pizza Hut is one brand that is currently testing the model.)
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