Food Safe System – A new App to ease burden of HACCP compliance
A chef from Newry has developed an innovative new app that brings an affordable, cloud-based solution to food hygiene paperwork within the reach of smaller hospitality operators for the first time…
Among the various issues which hospitality operators often cite as hampering them in the day-to-day running of their businesses, the scourge of red tape must rank highly among those most often singled out.
The burden of understanding and complying with a huge raft of varied legislative requirements can be a frustrating distraction from the practical aspects of managing a successful restaurant, coffee shop or take-away – yet owners and managers ignore these legal requirements at their peril.
Now, however, help is at hand with the development of a convenient app that can help managers and staff stay on top of all the paperwork and procedures associated with hygiene regimes in their premises and the storing, handling and preparation of food.
And what’s even better is that the new Food Safe System has been designed for use on smartphones and tablets, so there’s no requirement for additional outlay on expensive bespoke technology.
Food Safe System has been developed by Newry-born chef and restaurateur, Neil Bradley, a partner in the Sugar Supper Club bistro chain which currently has outlets in Newry and Banbridge.
Thanks to a career spent in hospitality – both in the kitchen and working front-of-house – Neil is very aware of the requirement placed on operators and staff when it comes to making sure that hygiene records are kept up-to-date:
“This mountain of paperwork can be a distraction from the running of your business,” he told LCN recently. “Most small operators have about 10 different forms that they have to fill-in on a daily basis. They have to record who they buy their food from, what state it comes to them in, how they store it, how they cook it and how they serve it. That’s really onerous for any business owner or manager.”
About two-and-a-half years ago, Neil began to think about how that burden could be eased using everyday technology:
“I realised that there was nothing out there to help the smaller, independent operators,” he explained. “A few applications have come along since then, but these are mainly targeting bigger operators and they can be expensive to buy.”
And that’s the real beauty of Neil’s Food Safe System – developed in conjunction with a Belfast specialist IT company – it has been designed to run on the technology that most people already have in their pockets – conventional smartphones and tablets.
Colin Clarke, a former coffee shop proprietor who also has 12 years’ experience working locally for a major hygiene services company, is acutely familiar with the requirement for up-to-date food safety paperwork. He’s now working with Neil to market the Food Safe System:
“This very useful app is a really simple way for people to use their phone or tablet to stay on top of their paperwork,” he explained. “It’s very accessible, it makes the job much less labour-intensive and it can be downloaded and used by everyone on site.”
The system itself is designed to meet the requirements of local council environmental health departments -and EHOs can access the records easily either on site via smartphone or tablet or at their own office using a secure password provided to them by participating outlets.
“That cuts down on the amount of time they need to spend with you in your business and increases efficiency for everyone,” said Neil. “And there’s no need for panic when the environmental health officer walks through the door!”
Most operators will know that with a paper-based system, it’s all too easy to fall behind on your checks. However, Food Safe System will let you know when forms need to be completed and because everything is time-stamped, there’s no room for prevarication. It makes sure you stay on schedule.
Neil’s own hospitality credentials are impressive. He spent 25 years as a chef in Northern Ireland, working at high-end eateries such as Roscoff’s, Cayenne and Balloo House, owned his own restaurant – Copper – which opened in Warrenpoint in 2004 and is now involved with the successful and innovative Sugar Supper Club bistro brand, so he’s very familiar with the paperwork requirements with which small operators have to comply.
“Anything that makes a chef or a manager’s life easier is going to be welcomed and from my own point of view, this new app would certainly do that,” added Neil. “This software makes your compliance with food and hygiene regulations much easier, much quicker and much more secure. It’s all you need to comply with the law and because it stores your vital records in the cloud, they are quickly available when you require them, no matter where you are.”
Colin Clarke continued:
“In the fast paced nature of the catering service arena it is clear that Food Safe provides a simple and cost-effective means of fulfilling HACCP compliance. It is also clear that this a profession with a younger workforce who are very at ease with this technology and who are moving towards the days of a paperless office.”
Very often, this work is delegated to the workforce, so because this system is cloud-based, it’s an excellent way for owners and managers to keep tabs on exactly how things are going.”
To further extend the scope of the Food Safe System, wireless sensors have been developed to be placed into refrigerators to automatically monitor and upload the temperature data and will trigger alerts if there’s any variation outside established parameters, further reducing time spent on record keeping. Also in development are a range of food probes and infrared temperature sensors which will allow users to check the status of food deliveries using their phones or tablets.
To coincide with the launch of Food Safe System at IFEX 2016, the app will be available for download on the Apple app store from March 8. Customers will then have the opportunity to test the new software for a month before having to commit.
The Android version will be available a few weeks later.
For a low monthly subscription, customers will have anytime access to all their records, regular updates and a full customer support package.
If you want to know more about how Food Safe System can help you in your business, visit Neil and Colin at Stand D7 at IFEX, which takes place at the Titanic Exhibition Centre from March 8 to 10. Or simply give them a call now on 07588427222