Monitoring Food Temperatures to Reduce RiskKurt Pimentel
Monitoring food temperatures has never been more important. Boy, have times changed since we did this original blog post about food temperatures. When we first wrote this blog, I believe we were the first company to integrate a Bluetooth probe into a mobile forms solution. At first we tried to build our own and it looked promising but it was burning a lot of time and money with molds, wiring etc.. Let’s be honest, it was another rabbit hole we went down! Looking back it was comical to think we even went down that road while also writing code for our solution and doing custom mobile development work to pay the bills.
Letting Someone Else Build It
The first probe integrated into our solution was from Thermoworks and you had to pair it with a code (remember those?). We also had the issue that kitchen staff liked to see what types of things the probe would go through — lots of bent probes occurred with tests on frozen meat and even a concrete block. Then there was the idea that you could put something electrical in the dishwasher…. yes, we had a lot of those too.
Look at Us Now
The days of entering codes or cleaning a device are gone. We now have Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) probes from Cooper-Atkins, an Emerson Electric Company, fully integrated into our system. When we first started collaborating with their team we helped them understand the intricacies of iOS and Android. Since those early days working with them to roll out a competitor to Thermoworks, we still feel that they have the best BLE probes in the market. They’re easy to clean (dishwasher safe probe tips) and if damaged, the entire unit doesn’t need to be replaced.
BLE has changed the way users collect temperature data in our mobile forms as it’s taken away the jobbing of the system. Unfortunately, most brands don’t like to spend money on probes to eliminate inaccurate info. We talk a little about that below…
Before Bluetooth Probes
When first releasing our solution, we spent a lot of time with executive and regional management at the store level and witnessed something. While a manager was doing temp reads for the meat products, we noticed two cups of water. One was cold and the other hot. As we observed the temps being taken, the manger would take their thermometer and dip it in either the cold or hot depending on the result. Yes, trying to get to what the temperature is supposed to be versus the ‘actual’ temp. The CEO glanced over and said, “Can you fix that?”
Since that moment, numerous companies have had foodborne illness issues resulting from cooking and holding temps of meats. The incidents most people remember are those of Chipotle. Those events alone caused huge hits to their market cap and damaged their brand image.
With COVID-19 in the forefront, we have been working hard with Thermoworks and Cooper-Atkins to get them to create a BLE thermometer for human use. It’s going to be key to opening many of these restaurants and to keeping employees and customers safe. As of posting, it looks like Thermoworks has delivered on making this happen.
Below is the blog post we did several years ago. We edited a few items but it provides some insight as to how we were at the forefront of bluetooth probes and adding a level of safety to restaurants
Managing and maintaining a successful restaurant, or restaurant chain, depends on a number of both internal and external factors, but maintaining proper safety and sanitation standards is absolutely critical.
In the kitchen, the monitoring of food temperatures is vitally important. A temperature variance of even a few degrees can quickly move food into the “danger zone”—greater than 40 F (for cold food) or less than 140 F (for hot food). Continuing developments in technology are making temperature monitoring easier and more accurate.
Controlling for proper temperature is essential for prepared food, especially if it’s to be held. A Bluetooth thermometer integrated with a back-of-the-house checklist mobile app, such as EZFORMS, is an excellent way to both monitor activity and retain adequate HACCP records. Such a paperless system eliminates the pencil-whipping of hand-written records by taking temperature readings, while also suggesting corrective actions and automatically generating a tamper-proof final report.
Integrating the Bluetooth device with a tablet and checklist mobile app allows both corporate management and field staff to know when a refrigeration unit is beginning to ‘run warm’ before stored food enters the food safety zone. Another benefit is that such tools can provide data to service technicians alerting them of any potential problems with a cooler and expedite the launch of the maintenance process. The benefits of paperless, Bluetooth-enabled thermometers integrated with EZFORMS restaurant solution provides for more accurate temperature monitoring and recording while reducing paper waste.
To learn more about EZFORMS and how monitoring food temperatures is a basic function of our solution, please visit our website.