You Can Save Thousands of Hours with a Mobile Food Safety Checklist

By katie simpson on July 7, 2014

Photo credit: vasilennka via photopin cc

It doesn’t matter if you’re a high end restaurant or a wholesale food distributor: Without safe food, you can’t run your business. Not only can it drive away customers, but you could also pay a heavy price. One food store in London was fined £37,000 (over $63,000) when inspectors found bags of flour for sale that mice had gnawed through.

Protecting your business with paper food safety checklists will keep your business in line, but could be draining you of time and money. One switch to a mobile food safety checklist can make your inspections faster and more accurate. Here’s how:


Faster inspections, sharing in real time

While businesses work faster and faster, paper forms haven’t caught up. Employees write down the information once on paper, then they have to enter into your database. If you have employees visiting various locations, this process can take hours or days to get back to your database. You’re lucky if you can get the information the same day.

Getting a mobile food safety app can unlock hundreds of hours of time for your employees. Why? With a mobile app you can use features such as:

  • drop down lists
  • barcode scanning to populate fields with one click
  • automatic time/date entry
  • one click photos to provide visuals

These features create an easier and faster experience for employees. What once took 30 minutes now takes 5. Worried about slow typing? Many smartphones and tablets also have speech to text features, allowing your employees to quickly speak and take all the important information down.

More than faster information gathering, mobile apps give you information in real time. Every finished food safety checklist is sent immediately to the cloud. There you can view all the information in an organized PDF, with photos, maps, or signatures attached.

Going mobile also allows for bulk downloads as Excel or CSV files, you no longer have to waste time waiting for forms to return to the office. With all forms already in a streamlined format, easily look at multiple inspections together. Imagine: no longer will you have to spend hours compiling and streamlining your checklists for reporting. And data entry? That’s no longer necessary too.  

Not only will you have lower admin costs, you’ll also spend fewer long night staring at your computer. You’ll have more money and more energy for your business.


Less work with fewer errors

Human errors can seem harmless, but are deadly in food safety. We see them every day.  Perhaps you have a checklist where half the fields are blank, or you find out that a checklist occurred at the wrong location! With the decline in handwriting, even being able to understand the information can be difficult. In the long run, these issues require more work, and weaken your information.

Switching to a mobile food safety checklist can provide more accurate information from the beginning, saving you time. In a mobile app, you can make fields required, that way employees will always submit important information. Even if they skip the required field, they won’t be able to submit the mobile app.

Imagine: checklists return with clear typed text. Barcode scanning will pre-populate fields, ensuring that employees are inspecting the correct equipment. Photos will come attached to the form, always with the proper form.

Worried that an employee could mix up locations on their checklist? You can ensure an accurate location with one click for GPS. Not only will you get the right address, but also have external validation that your employees were inspecting the correct site.


Better organized in the cloud

Anyone who has been in management knows, paper documents tend towards chaos and disorganization. They get in the wrong file, become huge piles, or can become a mess. This headache could also be costly to your business: PWC found that 7.5 % of documents are lost and another 3.5% are misfiled, never to be found. That means that 10% of the time and energy spent on food safety checklists will become lost. That’s a huge loss in time, money, and information. Worse, it puts your business at legal risk.

Ditching paper for mobile apps prevents this potential information loss. All your food safety checklists will go immediately to the cloud. There you can find any specific form with a simple search.

You can even have your checklists named after entries in the form, such as by date, or location name. Never again spend hours looking for the right document. Just type in your search and get back to work.

More than better organized information, you’ll be able to reclaim more of your office space. Ditch those filing cabinets and spread out. You’ll have a reason to celebrate: every filing cabinet can cost upwards of $2,000 a year.


You can customize, update, or change your apps without IT support

While food safety checklists have been part of your work for decades, the information you need to collect changes with new regulations. Every time they change, your forms need to be updated as well. A mobile app can be great, but do you have the time or money to update a mobile food safety checklist?

With a mobile app subscription service you don’t need IT support for creating or updating your mobile food safety checklist. Some, like GoCanvas, have drag and drop interfaces, allowing you to easily build or edit your own app in minutes. No coding needed, and no IT support required. Plumbers, contractors, even a Girl Scout troop have created and used our mobile apps.

You can enjoy powerful, custom mobile apps, without an IT staff. 


Use the technology employees already own

Freeing your business from paper does have many benefits, but this transition also requires technology like smartphones, or tablets. And that can seem expensive, especially compared to the initial cost of paper.

On the surface, paper appears cheaper, but it costs you in the long run. How? You get weaker information and slower processes. Paper costs you in time and accuracy. These are soft costs that prevent you from providing the best service possible. Even storing paper can be costly: Paper records cost between 20 and 100 times more to store than electronic documents. Silently, paper is draining precious resources from your business. It slows you down, in an increasingly demanding and fast paced environment.

Still worried about upfront technology costs? With GoCanvas, you can use a variety of different devices. Our platform works on Android, iOS, Blackberry, even Windows. Many companies find that employees can bring and use their own devices with GoCanvas. Not only do employees get devices that they are familiar with, but companies reduce the upfront cost of this transition.

No matter what happens, food safety checklists are a part of the food service industry.  But how much time and money you spend on your mobile food safety checklists is up to you.

You can stay with paper forms, continuing to spend hours on data entry, filing, and struggling with missing information. Or you can go with a mobile app and enjoy faster checklists, real time and easy to find your information in the cloud.

Uncertain if a mobile checklist is right for you? Sign up for a free trial and download a mobile template from the Accommodation & Food Service section of the GoCanvas Application Store. Test our mobile app for a month, and discover how it can help your business save time and thrive.