by Brian Rosen
President of Gleason Technology
When you own or operate a supermarket or grocery store, a lawsuit can surface at any time. After all, plaintiffs don’t need a good case to file a lawsuit, they just need a lawyer. If a suit is filed against you, your crack legal team will immediately spring into action. And while the billing meter will begin running at breakneck speed, their legal advice will be worth every penny at that point in time.
No legal advice will be offered here. Rather the intent is to point out some common-sense solutions for lowering the risk of an expensive lawsuit to begin with, as well as some suggestions for putting your business in a more defendable position should a lawsuit arise. Some of the most common lawsuits restaurants face relate to slips and falls and food safety, so we’ll focus there.
The prevention of slips and falls can be enhanced with frequent inspections of the physical premises. The key is having a firm inspection schedule in place, proper training for those employees performing the inspections, and a clear record of the dates and times inspections were made and any actions that were taken when safety issues were discovered.
Technology goes a long way toward simplifying this process for business owners. From inspection software to security cameras, there are more ways than ever to make inspections easier and to have a digital record that proves they were conducted properly and timely. Obviously, inspections alone will allow you to discover many unsafe conditions before they can result in an accident. But the digital records serve as proof that you’ve taken the proper precautions and this can be extremely important should an accident occur. Your legal team might call this “evidence of reasonable care”, and they’d be ecstatic to know that you had the foresight to provide it.
Food safety issues can be safeguarded in much the same way. But rather than inspecting the premises you are often monitoring food temperatures. Again, explore the newer technologies like mobile-app based cooling logs, that make it easier for employees to monitor and record food temperatures properly. This gives you the added benefit of having a digital paper trail to serve as your evidence of reasonable care should a customer become sick and point the finger at your food preparation techniques.
Preaching prevention to eliminate unsafe conditions and limit lawsuits isn’t new. But as with any area of business, there are new ways technology can help you improve upon it.
Brian Rosen is President of Gleason Technology, developer and owner of the RiskLimiter brand of inspection software known for lowering the cost of risk management. This includes their newest product, RiskLimiter Kitchen, a fully-automated, app-based cooling log platform that provides real-time temperature reports, out-of-compliance alerts and suggested corrective actions. RiskLimiter Kitchen can be purchased a la carte or as part of the full suite of RiskLimiter inspection software.
Companies utilizing RiskLimiter software products include Whole Foods Market, 365 by Whole Foods Market, Piggly Wiggly, Harmon’s, Cardenas, Mi Pueblo Food Center and Northgate Market.