Skip to main content

Rising Star Leverages Tech to Target Foodborne Illnesses

Christine Schindler, Co-Founder & CEO at PathSpot, received HT’s Top Women in Restaurant Technology – Rising Star award at MURTEC in Las Vegas.

Christine Schindler, Co-Founder & CEO at PathSpot, received HT’s Top Women in Restaurant Technology – Rising Star award at MURTEC in Las Vegas.

Schindler was among 15 women recognized for their accomplishments.  Hospitality Technology's Top Women in Restaurant Technology Awards, sponsored by Paerpay, are now in their seventh year. 

Advertisement - article continues below
Christine Schindler Pathspot
Christine Schindler, Co-Founder & CEO of PathSpot, is very passionate about purpose-driven innovation and the important role technology plays in the focused, rapid development and adoption of change.

Targeting Foodborne Illnesses with Technology

Schindler, who studied biomedical engineering and global health at Duke University, was researching and designing innovations for resource-constrained hospitals in the developing world, when she shifted her focus to the massive issue with foodborne illnesses. “Even within the United States, people were getting incredibly sick, facing hospitalizations and even death from outbreaks sweeping the nation, and at the same time, major food brands were losing consumer trust and, with it, large sums of money,” she recalls.

“Out of curiosity, I started looking into the cause of these illnesses and found that ~90% of foodborne illnesses are from poor handwashing practices. The question seemed obvious: why is the number-one, most effective way to stop the spread of illnesses only addressed with a sign that says, “employees must wash hands”? I immediately knew this was a significant gap in the food industry that needed a technology-based approach to shine a light on the misconceptions and misunderstandings that society has around handwashing. From that, the PathSpot HandScanner was born, and many of our early investors were restaurateurs who saw the value the product could bring to their personal businesses.”

PathSpot, a patented scanning device and data-driven tracking software ensures that every employee is washing their hands frequently and effectively, made its MURTEC debut in March 2020, where Schindler took to the stage to compete in the pitch slam.   PathSpot won RTN’s Start-Up Alley at MURTEC 2020

Since the company was founded, PathSpot has been adopted by industries outside of food and restaurants, “but our goal to help restaurants and food businesses operate smarter, safer and more efficiently has remained the same,” says Schindler.

Schindler says the opportunity to make a difference in the food industry was the driving force behind her decision to pursue a career in restaurant technology. “I am passionate about establishing a safer and more efficient industry for the brands as well as their employees and customers. With the PathSpot Health and Safety Operating System, we're making a giant step toward achieving this goal,” she explains.

"The food industry ... needed a technology-based approach to shine a light on the misconceptions and misunderstandings that society has around handwashing."


To date, PathSpot HandScanners have validated millions of handwashes and alerted team members to tens of thousands of instances of contamination, which can subsequently be removed to keep the customers and employees safe. “Each time a food industry team member takes that action– to rewash and rescan their hands– I’m proud of the accomplishment they’ve made and the positive impact they’ve had on their community,” she says. “I’m proud of the role I play in empowering them with technology, information, and the ability to take that action.”

“I’m proud of our account teams for analyzing data and informing food safety teams about recommended improvements to their health & safety SOPs,” she adds. “The adoption and utilization of data for long-term improvement will build healthier systems and operations for the future. I’m proud of our product team for designing and implementing new reports and integrations and for combining product systems to improve efficiencies for our partners. Simple, real-time visibility, in combination with long-term data and analysis, will empower the industry to make better, healthier, and more impactful decisions on a day-to-day, hour-by-hour basis. And those decisions are what I am most proud of.”

Receiving the Top Women in Restaurant Technology – Rising Star award has been “incredibly humbling, exciting  and motivating,” Schindler says. “I’m honored to be a part of an industry that is and works towards innovation in so many different ways and brings this into the world in such an essential way - through the food we all eat and consume. Being a part of this industry, recognized in this way, and the ability to continue to spread the word about what we are so passionate about with making sure the food supplied and the environment it is supplied in is safe and secure for all employees and customers, especially in a world where commitment to safety means so much, is extremely important and not something I take lightly.”


Looking Ahead

"In 2023 and beyond, I believe that these restaurant technology trends will not revert, but will start to become optimized and adopted in efficient ways. In the race to adapt to the spreading pandemic, restaurant operations became more complicated and error-prone. Multiple disparate systems can provide an ideal experience for the consumer, but often require manual intervention and monitoring while integration and automation efforts lag on the backend.

These technology challenges, combined with the labor challenges and profit-margin challenges, will certainly push the industry focus towards more technology for the back-of-house, which can centralize more operational objectives into a common system. Fitting on this industry trend, PathSpot is expanding its product offerings around the PathSpot HandScanner, and launching more components of the SafetySuite to ease the burden on operators and streamline the efficiency with which teams can ensure Health and Safety within their locations.

Mentorship Makes a Difference

“Statistics show that girls and women are generally highly interested in impact-driven fields but are also on the short end of a gender imbalance within Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM),” says Schindler, who saw firsthand the gender imbalances in her area of university study. “I found this disheartening because in my view, engineering has the potential to be one of the most impactful professions and needs the support of any individual who wants to approach that career path. Launching a new product or researching a new invention can have a massively broad-reaching impact on the world as the adoption and use of the product expands.”

With the goal to help others, Schindler founded the nonprofit organization Girls Engineering Change, which seeks to close the 7:1 male-to-female gender gap in the STEM fields, and it has scaled to become a national program. “The program connects middle and high school girls with a network of college mentors who can help them throughout their education to increase their confidence,” Schindler explains. “Experiences that the organization provides are designed to show the rising generation how much impact they can make after just a few hours of work in STEM fields and what they can do for populations in need if they pursue a career in STEM fields.” The goal: to increase the awareness and therefore the number, and specifically, the number of women focused on impact-oriented engineering and innovation that are studying and working in STEM fields. “And over time, increase the number of innovators that are committed to improving our world. Continuing to support this organization and its participants as a mentor keeps me grounded and focused on the industry impact I am working to make every day with PathSpot’s customers,” Schindler explains.


About the Top Women in Restaurant Technology Awards

After a call for nominations, Top Women in Restaurant Technology Award winners were chosen by Hospitality Technology magazine and members of its Research Advisory Board. The winners were announced and honored during an awards program on March 8 at the 28th annual MURTEC (Multi-Unit Restaurant Technology Conference), in Las Vegas. Nominations for the 2024 awards will open in mid-October.

top women paerpay
This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds