Everyone in the food service industry knows about this multi-state outbreak of foodborne illness in 2016, and they know how deep the consequences ran. When an outbreak happens, food service providers tend to significantly ramp up their food safety and corrective action plans.

It’s always important to do everything you can to keep customers safe, but it’s also very complicated to do so. You likely have a corrective action plan in place, but do your executives, managers, and employees know how to follow it? And do you have the right technology in place to help both prevent outbreaks and quickly correct them when they happen?

Over the past 20 years, RizePoint has helped top-tier brands — including McDonalds, Arby’s, and Wendy’s — implement market-leading tools and best practices to improve their businesses and keep customers safe. Here are five best practices for corrective action plans that we recommend to give your food service organization a leg up.

1. Select the right corrective action leaders.

Great plans are created by people who understand the issues and may actually live with them day-to-day. This means that you need more than an executive team at headquarters to implement a great corrective action plan. Each of your restaurant locations also needs to designate team members to be in charge of corrective action when needed.

Line workers are critical team members because they work at the forefront with your processes and procedures. These employees know firsthand how well the procedures do (or don’t) work, and they will have terrific insight as to what to do when things go wrong. So it’s wise to ask one or more line workers to become a member of your main team.

2. Evaluate past compliance issues.

You may not have a current problem, but you might have plenty of information and data from previous food safety issues that you can learn from. It’s smart to use your past to create a strong corrective action plan that relates directly to your business.

First, collect all data, including documentation and reports. Next, analyze and validate the facts from your gathered information. Last, determine the problem’s scope, figure out its root cause, and understand how your team corrected the issue. This will help you make a stronger action plan that is specific to how your company and employees work.

3. Use technology to crunch your data.

Your performance management software is a strong ally. Make sure the software can review assessments, audits, and corrective actions. This will help you analyze data to establish benchmarks, forecast possible future issues, and discover trends. The results can also help you improve accountability and create performance notes, both of which contribute to creating better execution of all facets of your action plans.

4. Develop a plan before you need it.

Now is the time to build a workable plan. While you make your plan, you may find procedures you can correct now to make the likelihood of an incident even slimmer. But you should also create a fast-moving action plan if a foodborne issue does happen. Again, quality management software will be your best friend when creating a corrective action plan. It’s a tool that leverages workflow so you can automate your plan as much as possible, which means you can correct issues far more quickly than when using a manual system.

5. Include timetables in your plan.

Your corrective action plan should specify when to take specific actions. For example, if you’ve found that some food has been stored above 39.2 degrees F for more than two hours, your plan would include the requirement that all food stored at that temperature for that period of time is always discarded. This is where accountability is critical. Key stakeholders will know these dates and understand their importance.

With careful forethought, you can feel confident in your corrective action plans. If you want to make your plans even stronger, RizePoint can help. The software is purpose-built specifically for the food service industry, so you can stay on top of your food service and safety compliance performance as well as manage corrective actions and identify issues. Contact us today to learn more.

Updated March 16, 2018

Di Lewis

Di Lewis is the content marketing manager at RizePoint. She enjoys digging into quality management and compliance, and finding the best way to communicate that information. Before jumping into the content marketing world, Di was a print journalist and PR account manager. She holds a degree in print journalism from Utah State University, but her real obsession is cats.