In a recent QSR® article, Lisa van Kesteren, SeeLevel HX Founder/CEO, unintentionally gave the industry a perfect four-point outline for protecting restaurant brands with verified-handwashing technology. The CDC reminds us that "Handwashing is the single-most important means of preventing the spread of infection” yet compliance is not measured in today's restaurant world. This low cost brand protection opportunity potentially lowers risk, adds to operational excellence and contributes in a measured way to a culture of customer care.
1. When it comes to operational excellence, don’t cut back—double down
Set handwashing standards based on risk and convert handwashing from a random act to a controllable process by investing in newly available tracking and reporting technology. http://handwashingforlife.com/resources/integrated-solutions/monitoring-tactics-tools
2. What you don’t measure … won’t change
Handwashing rates are between low and very low, commonly around 30% of what is considered a safe level for frequency. This research-supported knowledge is held within Quality Assurance departments but without regular measurement, there are no reports to engage Operations and this risk continues to escape C-Suite scrutiny. Effective programs of Continuous Improvement and HACCP demand measurement. http://handwashingforlifehealthcare.org/blog/mike-mann/handwashing-can-t-measure-can-t-fix
3. The carrot is mightier than the stick
Data lights a path to positive reinforcement and gamification, proactively engaging the staff. It creates a baseline for behavior change, unit/store comparisons, rewards and ultimately helps align handwashing with a customer focused food safety culture.
4. Actionable insights only work when action is actually taken
Handwashing’s corrective actions require ownership and leadership to move from a conceptual concern to a working solution. It must be very clear as to who owns the issue. Quality Assurance’s knowledge of the science is important and helpful but sustainable corrective action will not be taken until it is a declared priority of Operations, complete with a supporting budget and timetable.