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01/21/2021

McDonald’s Franchisee Streamlines Food Safety Compliance

Anna Wolfe
Senior Editor - Restaurants
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Mark McBee started with McDonald’s as an entry-level employee in 1980. Now the owner of McBee Enterprises, a McDonald's franchisee with 12 restaurants in Massachusetts, he saw the brand’s systems and processes improve for food service, food safety, and temperature checks. The brand’s policy has been to document everything in paper log books.

In June McBee Enterprises, based in North Eaton, decided to test Squadle’s Digital Food Safety products. The pandemic made it harder to check in on every store regularly, and the Squadle product gave McBee some peace of mind that safety and compliance measures were taking place at every location, even if he couldn’t be there to physically see it.

Mark McBee has seen delivery double during the pandemic. However, drive-thru is still the majority of his 12 franchises' business.

Saving Time, Ensuring Compliance

Squadle’s patented ZeroTouch handheld sensor technology allows staff to speed up existing workflows and integrates directly with hardware and sensors in each store. Digitized food safety checklists record up-to-the-minute completion rates. Personalized dashboards with text and email alerts provide a real-time pulse on the activity and compliance in each store. Store managers and supervisors can verify food temperatures remotely and in real time and ensure that all critical safety standards have been met. Overall, Squadle has enabled restaurant staff to reduce the time needed for safety checks and task management. McBee says this time saved allows employees to focus more on the new aspects of their job - COVID protocols and keeping customers safe.

“Once the daily food safety checks are done, supervisors can audit results on a daily basis. The supervisors no longer have to physically visit restaurants and review paper pages to make sure food safety checks are done,” said McBee.  
 

COVID-19 Checklists 

Since the onset of the COVID pandemic, McBee Enterprises have changed the way they serve food. Both kitchen and serving staff must use gloves, and employees and customers are required to wear masks. Social distancing is also enforced with markers on the floor of each restaurant and Plexiglass at the takeout counters to ensure that customers and delivery drivers maintain their distances. Squadle products have allowed employees to keep a safer distance as well. “The Digital Checklists keep employees more socially distant. It used to take 3 people to complete our food safety checks, but Squadle has cut it down to one”, he explained.

McBee Enterprises is also taking advantage of the Squadle Digital Checklist with its COVID-specific task management to maintain safety standards. Squadle Checklists is a cloud-based, digital solution where completing and following standard operating procedures are displayed as a daily completion percentage for each location, providing a benchmark for operational consistency.

The Squadle Digital Checklist helps operators and supervisors monitor when seating is cleaned and disinfected. Real-time alerts trigger corrective actions to fix issues as they occur, reducing the risk of food safety issues. A customized reporting dashboard shows when and what corrective actions were taken.

With Squadle Checklists, McBee Enterprises is seeing the following benefits:

  • Time savings: Saving 90 minutes a day in man hours through food safety check;
  • Fewer people: Food safety checks now require one employee rather than three. This time saved is reallocated to more customer-facing tasks.

“As much as possible, I need to be focused on the daily details of running 12 restaurants in this totally new environment, said McBee. “Squadle allows me the extra time to do this by making sure food safety is worry-free.”

Changing Operations to Meet Customer Expectations

With only two out of 12 restaurant’s dining rooms still open, McBee Enterprises has shifted operations to meet customer expectations for safe and, sometimes, contactless dining experiences. Chief among those changes are:

Drive Thru–  The brand’s continued focus  on drive-thru efficiency has paid off, including a speed of service that lets people get out of the parking lot faster. Drive-thru as an overall percentage of McBee Enterprises business has greatly increased.

Delivery – Working with third-party delivery services DoorDash, UberEats and GrubHub, McBee Enterprises has seen delivery double during the pandemic. However, drive-thru is still the lion’s share of the business.

Online Ordering and Payment – The ability to order and pay online has enabled McBee Enterprises to offer a completely contactless experience to those guests who prefer it.

Keeping Employees Safe
Sales at McBee Enterprises’ 12 McDonald’s restaurants are doing relatively well. No lay offs and McBee is, in fact, continuing to hire people.

“All of our employees have been great,” said McBee. “They take pride in being essential workers and in coming to work every day. We’ve done everything we could to provide all 600 employees with PPE and anything else they need to stay safe. The Squadle Digital Checklist keeps both our employees and guests safe.”

In the future, McBee Enterprises will be looking at improvements like a changed restaurant design and expanded lobby area to allow for social distancing.