Sponsored by DayMark
The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced new layers of complexity to foodservice labor and inventory management.
Not only do operators continue to face challenges finding, training and retaining good workers, but they also must implement and maintain new systems for monitoring and protecting the health of their employees. In addition, supplier disruptions and product shortages have become commonplace, prompting the need for better systems to help manage and track inventories.
Increasingly, technologies are available that help automate various labor-management and other kitchen tasks, including inventory management and receiving. Two new applications from DayMark—the DayMark Task Management and Receiving Module—help operators oversee task activity from a centralized location and help automate the inventory receiving process, respectively. Both also incorporate features specific to helping operators create safer work environments during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Task Management app, for example, has a Health Utility that allows managers to input employees’ body temperatures and other potential symptoms of illness. The app automatically bars those employees who are designated as “sick” from being assigned tasks.
Requirements and recommendations around temperature checks and health screenings vary from state to state. Some states, such as New Jersey, require foodservice operators to monitor the health of their workers when they report each day, including taking body temperature readings. In a recent webinar on the topic, the New Jersey Business & Industry Association points out that the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled that temperature checks and screenings by employers of their workers are permitted because the disease threatens the health of other employees. (The webinar also notes, however, that all employees must be treated equally when it comes to testing—it would be illegal to single out for testing employees over 65, for example.)
Other utilities in the DayMark Task Management app enable managers to assign, view, and track cleanings, food prep, equipment checks and other kitchen tasks. Employees can also use the app to swap tasks with each other. Managers can view task updates through a dashboard, and, using the MenuCommand web portal, they can view task data, compare staff performance and maintain employee information, among other tools.
“Keeping track of the many day-to-day tasks in a foodservice establishment can be overwhelming, but the new Task Management app is aimed at easing that burden,” says Vishal Anumolu, category manager of Kitchen Automation for DayMark. “The app gives foodservice operators the ability to comprehensively oversee and track the completion of tasks in and around the facility.”
Shipping and Receiving
The Receiving Module allows receivers to quickly and accurately track shipment and vendor data, including dates, quantities, non-conformances and short ships (deliveries that do not include the full quantities of items ordered). It also provides flexibility, with the option to put a shipment “on hold” in the event of a delay. In addition, it includes a COVID-19 Driver Compliance Test to measure the risk of carrying the virus.
“If a driver cannot pass the test, the receiver has the option of rejecting the shipment,” says Anumolu.
Both applications feature a user-friendly interface, and both are offered exclusively through DayMark’s MenuCommand Kitchen Automation Platform.
Many of these features have become essential elements of operating a noncommercial foodservice facility during the pandemic. The importance of monitoring the health of employees and delivery personnel is obvious, but other functionalities of the apps are also important. Traditional practices around employee scheduling, task performance and inventory receiving have been disrupted, highlighting the need for automated solutions with enhanced functionality.
In fact, the pandemic may be accelerating the existing trend toward adoption of these types of systems for a range of kitchen functions around labor and inventory management.
“The important thing about software and apps, and the reason they are popular, is that you don’t have to write everything down,” says Barry Friends, a partner at food industry consulting firm Pentallect.
With automated inventory management systems, for example, “you literally just look at your inventory and put in the value,” he says.
Some of the most onerous and time-consuming tasks that foodservice operations have historically conducted using Xcel spreadsheets or pen and paper have been streamlined through the use of apps, says Friends.
Operate a Better Business
For many tasks, app-based solutions “enable you to operate a better business,” he says. “In the absence of these systems, you are simply not competitive.”
Another key feature that makes apps attractive to operators is that they are generally bolted onto other systems, such as the point-of-sale system, or in DayMark’s case, the MenuCommand Kitchen Automation Platform. This makes it easier for users to adopt these systems without installing new software.
For more information about how DayMark’s Task Management and Receiving Module can make your foodservice operation more competitive while helping you solve for some of the challenges presented by the pandemic, visit DayMark Safety Systems.