Just Eat - Behind the scenes - Displaying Food Hygiene Ratings.

Just Eat published all the Food Hygiene Ratings (FHR) for every single restaurant on their network a couple of weeks ago. They were the first delivery food service to display FHR’s for all their suppliers.

Some questions that have not been answered:

  • It is about time, Why did it take so long?

  • Why have the other networks NOT published this information?

  • What is the reason for not just publishing when the data is freely available?

 
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I will break down the process that was undertaken by Just Eat. I first have to say it was a pretty epic task that they have achieved. I hope to show you the extent of their dedication to food safety.

 

The Key Is The Data Sync

The first step would be to tap into the Food Standards Agencies (FSA’s) API (the data) which is freely available here. The key is to get the correct FHR to sync to each business is the “FHRSID”.

FHRSID explained and importance.

FHRSID explained and importance.

Understanding the FHRSID and LocalAuthorityBusinessID (LABID) - The FSA’s FHRSID is created when a business registers with the Local Authority (LA). The LABID is held with the LA and given to them on the registration paperwork. It is listed on the FSA’s API as seen above. A business would never know the LABID information because every council has a different format of these ID’s and it is not explained to them. The LABID is also NOT searchable from the FSA’s rating search URL. So this is a very confusing process without the business knowing the importance of this information.

Getting back to the data sync. You would download the entire database from the FSA and then write a script to sync either the postcode, address, or the name of the business registered with Just Eat. The only way a business would know the FHRSID is to go to their FSA Ratings link and look in their URL.

Example:

508153 is this business FHRSID.

508153 is this business FHRSID.

This process is straight forward and about 65% of the FHR data will sync successfully. The other 35% is the problem.


Multiple Food Hygiene Ratings

By this, I mean multiple FHR’s within the same location. There are several scenarios’s here:

  • Leased/Shared kitchen -This happens when the primary business hires out its kitchen but still has to maintain their own FHR. Same address but two, three, or four (etc) different FHR’s.

  • Food Market/Mall/Hotel- One address and postcode can have up to 20+ businesses with different FHR’s.

  • New Business - The food premises can be handed over to a new business. This can take a while to upload the new inspection with new business details.

A script cannot successfully pick up these anomalies without someone visually checking them to be sure that they match correctly.


Lack Of Transparency

This by far was the biggest obstacle. The dreaded “Private address”, and when I say dreaded it means no address, no postcode, or no geodata. This really does not mean private. This means no one has put the information into the database. It is just blank data!

Note: Names of businesses, LA, the outward postcode has been removed. No inward postcode was available.

Example data: I just took 4 councils at random and these are the number of businesses that have NO address/postcode/geodata:

Local Authority #1 - 252
Local Authority #2 - 323
Local Authority #3 - 240
Local Authority #4 - 263

When you scale these numbers above you have a major problem with trying to sync this data. There is no doubt this is done manually with people power.


How did they do it?

You add these number up and you get a massive problem. So say about 35% of the database needs to be manually checked.

Just Eat had a smaller slice of that 35% that are suppliers on their network. Still, if you break it down they had to go through thousands of records in a step by step process. My guesstimate would be about 6000 records had syncing issues.

Here would be the process to get that FHR via People Power:

  1. Find a Just Eat supplier with no FHRSID.

  2. Go to the FSA Rating page.

  3. Type Suppliers Business Name

  4. If No Business Name ->

  5. Type Post Code

  6. Find The Valid Supplier

  7. Copy and Paste FHRSID from the URL address.

  8. Add to Just Eat database.

Do this 6000+ times….

How many people power were available? How much time was taken? I can confirm this was a massive task and the other food delivery services are so far behind if they have not started this process above.


The Conclusion

I hope that gives you a better understanding of what needs to be done to get an FHR displayed using the FHRSID. That is exactly why the other food delivery networks have not displayed the FHR yet. They are probably doing the above right now or maybe not doing anything at all since it is a massive time-consuming process.

Two things that would fix these issues.

1 -If the food business knew upfront their FHRSID this would solve most of the issues above. LA’a should give the business their FHRSID when they get their first inspection. Even better add it to the scores on doors sticker. The food delivery service can add this as a mandatory field during the food business signup process. No ID, No Access.

2 - Data needs to be added to the FSA’s database correctly for a better transparent food safety network to operate. Local Authority Administrator’s should not be able to release incomplete records. There should be a control in place that a food business needs full information before the data can be uploaded to the FSA network. I don’t know any industry where they leave basic information blank.

Lastly, Just Eat Food Safety did a great job. Hats off to them for making the safest food delivery network!


Our Validation

 
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We know this pain point as we add FHR to our current clients. We have used the FSA database as our address locator within the UK. Constantly we have to tweak the FHR for our clients because of the above issues. These are the exact hand edits that Just Eat accomplished.

Sales Note: We add the FHR to our clients’ account as a reminder that if you do not do your food safety checks, there are implications. This creates an awareness that they are doing these checks for a bigger purpose. The companies have noticed that these simple little triggers create a better food safety system as a whole.

 

Allergens - We don't do ‘MAYBE’!

We have become professional’s in converting allergen tables from the many different format’s out there to our uploadable template. One in every four allergen tables we come across has ‘MAYBE’ or even ‘SUBSTITUTE’ or both, which from a food safety stand point this is not feasible by any means.

We have actually asked some of business owner to explain what this means. Everyone has a different interpretation and each chef has a different answer. It never end’s well as it becomes a confusing mess.

We advise them to keep it simple, ‘YES’ and leave it blank which means ‘NO’.

KitchenLogs Allergen Table SpreadSheet for Easy Management of Allergens.

KitchenLogs Allergen Table SpreadSheet for Easy Management of Allergens.


 
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When uploaded to our food safety platform the allergens are transformed into an easy to read filter.

Our system is configured only for ‘YES’ for easy visual identification of an allergen in a dish.

The management of these spreadsheets are extremely easy now as it is all in one place.

 

Can your digital solution withstand an outage?

KitchenLogs is a food safety diary app that helps food businesses log critical checks. 

You can download from either iOS or Android to either your mobile or tablet.  Since it’s important for the app to be reliable we tested all areas where it could possibly fail.

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In December 2018, O2 - one of the biggest telecom providers in the UK had a network outage lasting a day.  People couldn’t even make phone calls.  No KitchenLogs clients experienced any issues since we already planned for these unforeseen circumstances.  The App just went into offline mode and continue to function as planned.  Users that lost mobile data had all their critical checks temporarily stored on their devices until they hit a network again.

We built our app with redundancy that if a cloud provider fails or a network outage occurs the App will work as designed.  Our app will not stop functioning as it is built to handle failure.

Technology is there to make life easier not difficult.

Contact KitchenLogs if you are looking for a reliable food safety solution provider.

FSA - Tried, Tested, and Proven - Our Feasibility Study!

FSA - Tried, Tested, and Proven - Our Feasibility Study!

We undertook a feasibility study with KitchenLogs and Harrow council to discover if the use of a digital food safety management system can help increase the food hygiene ratings score and improve food hygiene and food standards. The study also looked at the data sharing between the digital system and the local authority.

KitchenLogs APP - can get you a 5 Food Hygiene Rating too!

In the mid-2016, we went to all the surrounding food businesses for our market research.  We had a good number of businesses that committed to beta test our software.  We say software because it was a web-based application that we coded ourselves at the time.  Feedback from our entire pool pointed towards the development of an app.  A couple of months later we came to test again with KitchenLogs app and took on the same beta pool again.  

The Talbot in Brockley, London SE4 were one of the first users and the first to completely dump paperwork all together.  They gave us daily feedback to develop our product further.  Stephane at the Talbot knew it would make his life so much easier from a head chef prospective. The Talbot was also one of our first paying clients.  The best part is they got a 5-star food hygiene rating directly influenced by our APP! 

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Here is our interview with Stephane from The Talbot SE4.

What were your first impressions of the KitchenLogs - Food Safety Diary app?

Initially, they came to me with their idea and I had said I will use it if it works because I liked the idea of getting off paperwork.  The first couple of versions did not work so well but it had the basics of food safety procedures. Here we are a year and a half later and now I am a happy paying client with a 5-star food hygiene rating.


Can you describe what the transition period was like when going from using paper to using the KitchenLogs Software?

After the testing phase and felt it worked correctly, I dumped paper-based systems.  We have been paper-free for 9 months since using the KitchenLogs Food Safety Management System.

How has the APP affected your day to day kitchen checks?

 
  • Less time-consuming.

  • I do not lose paper sheets any longer.

  • No more sheets destroyed by water or spillage. (Hated re-writing them!)

  • No more printing of paperwork just new menus.

  • No more worrying about printer cartridges running low.

  • Staff members constantly forgeting to do the paper-based system and I was solely responsible for getting it done.

  • Now my staff are directly responsible for their checks and they have no excuse because I see in real time that they are doing these checks.

On a day to day basis, how much time would you say you save using the APP?

No need to check if procedures are being followed.  Emails are sent to me directly with status updates.  So I can rest assure that our food safety is being implemented.  So it has definitely cut down half the time of a paper-based system by not checking and backtracking on a daily basis.

Would you say KitchenLogs has helped improve your food hygiene rating confidence and if so what were the main ways it did so?

Well, we were just inspected 4 weeks ago.  We had a 4 hygiene ratings prior due to some minor infractions.  The recent inspection we should have gotten a 4 rating again but KitchenLogs Food Safety System gave us a HIGH score and pushed us to that most important 5 rating that we are really proud to have now on our door.

Did you have any new staff since getting the app and if you have how did they find using it?

Once they get into the app it just makes sense as it is a food safety management system but in very simple format to understand.  If you are a chef you would just know how it works!  It is that simple which I cannot stress, it is simple and easy to use!

Has KitchenLogs improved your management of food safety checks and in what way has it help you manage these critical checks? 

With the alerts/notifications/daily digests, it makes me and my team do the checks.  It is easy and once your done you know it is done and don’t need to go backtrack.  Backtracking was my most time-consuming tasks when I came back from my days off and holidays.  Now I don’t worry as I see the daily status updates and know that my staff are doing their food safety checks.

What are the biggest differences between your old system of checks to this new one?

The biggest difference is that new kitchen staff employees already know the paper-based systems.  However, with the high turnover in the industry training them has become very easy with the KitchenLogs App.  We just give them a quick once over of the app and they understand it as a training document.   They can go through our procedures and tasks and they are trained it is as simple as that.  I rather take the extra time to train them with this system because it saves me time in the long run.

What did you find the most helpful feature of KitchenLogs and how did it help you improve your score?

Without a doubt, it is the Daily Email Digest that I get on my days off or on holiday.  It reassures me that my staff are doing their food safety procedures and cleaning.  I know in real time instead of going and backtracking if they done the required paperwork.  The other thing we like is that we have no bulky dirty paperwork.  It is all condensed now into a simple solution as opposed to a large binder that I use to store in my office.

Would you go back to pen and paper?

Without a doubt NO, why would I...  I have a 5-star rating food hygiene rating now!

 

*Note:  You need to use our FSMS daily and correctly, clean your premises ie good hygiene standards, keep good structural integrity, and good food handling skills.  You will get a 5!
 

Machinery and Cross-Contamination

The last couple of weeks I have seen several news stories on businesses losing a lot of there points due to not knowing that speciality machinery causes cross contamination. 

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Machinery is required in the food industry but the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has strict laws on how they are used.  Major culprits of concern are vacuum sealers, mincers, and meat slicers. This is solely due to cross-contamination between veg, cooked meats, and raw meat.  Let’s face the facts small food businesses cannot justify storage space for duplicate items but you have to know the facts.  Let’s drill them down two major offenders.
 

 
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Vacuum Sealers

 

This is a major offender of losing points.  You cannot use a vacuum sealer for veg and meats (cooked or raw).  The FSA and studies say that particules get lodged into the complex vacuum system.  This could cause cross contamination. You can breakdown the system and clean it out completely after each use.  If you ever have worked with one you know they are beasts and is an unfeasible task to clean.  So decide best what you are going to use it for and use it ONLY for that food group. 

 
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Meat Slicers


Another offender is the infamous meat slicer.  I know everything about these machines.  I have taken them apart, replaced belts, computer boards, blades, etc.  It was the biggest nightmare working with industrial bacon slicers.  We had the luxury of working in a warehouse environment that we can use a jet power sprayer to clean the machines, yes two machines.  Took 2 man hours per machine to clean.  The table top one was used for cooked meats and still a task to clean.  Even cleaned they can cause cross-contamination.  So better safe than sorry use for one category only.

 

 

I also strongly advise that you label the machine.  This will ensure that your team knows the machines correct use.  Lastly train them correct how to use these machines.  

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Always thinking Food Safety!

Yesterday ducked into Tesco to pick up dinner.  I eat chicken 80% of the time but decided to mix it up and get some steaks for the grill.  Went over to get some filets and something was not right!  I started to feel around and they were all room temperature. 

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I noticed the light in the display was not on and felt around for some refrigerant. The display crapped out and no one noticed!  As I looked around I noticed no monitoring at all.  Some woman came by and was picking up mince. I had to inform her she cannot take it due to food safety.  I went to the meat department and told the manager.  He rushed over and was in disbelief.  He said the most expensive meat and it is fully stocked.  He said we have to bin it all.  Shaking his head and trying to section it off before summons the store manager.  He said they are not going to be happy with a loss this big.

This day and age, monitoring would have alerted them and this loss would have been prevented!

I ate chicken last night.