Foodservice operators in most cases are rightfully proud of their customer care. After all, they likely see their operation as a finely tuned network of policies and procedures focused on their customers. It is a human behavior to love what we create. This fosters further operational enthusiasm but can dangerously conceal important realities and diminish objectivity. This creates a condition summarized as the “ugly baby” barrier to accepting reality.
C-suites are disconnected from the truth that their handwashing is running nearer 30% compliance rather than the 90% - 100% that is considered safe and expected. To those Quality Assurance professionals who do know their handwashing is the operation’s “ugly baby", they choose to overlook it because of executive complacency and the priorities of Operations. Their experience is evidence of chronic C-suite inaction.
Meanwhile, rather than dealing with the agreed and documented #1 way to reduce outbreaks, C-suites invest in high-tech temperature control equipment or a better dish machine. They’d rather not look at their “ugly baby” while it should be their #1 priority, based on risk reduction.
The collective costs of restaurant outbreaks are high but not analyzed by separate causes, only by composite “contributing factors”. No portion of the dollar impact is attributed to poor handwashing compliance as that looks like everything is rosy based on passing health department audits and it is rarely a topic in management meetings. The “ugly baby” parallel was explained to me by a person who lost his spouse to an infection acquired during her hospital stay. He feels that this is a factor in most all restaurants as well as in healthcare kitchens. “No one wants to look at it.”
It is time to face the truth and admit that their handwashing is one of their creations that has morphed into "ugly baby” status. It is an ideal time to take a deep dive into this #1 opportunity to lower operator risk by deploying electronic performance monitoring systems that provide data-driven handwash motivation. The best are those capable of motivating staff in those busy moments so easy to forget. The HandsOn System gives operators a simple sequence of steps to expose, face and resolve Foodservice’s handwashing shortcomings in a sustainable way.