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.
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!
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?
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!