Restaurants Turn to Technology to Keep Up With COVID-19 Safety Precautions

Business is good for many "quick-serve restaurants" during the pandemic, but the challenge has been keeping up with increased sanitation requirements

NBCUniversal, Inc.

The phone keeps ringing inside the Carmel Valley Domino's Pizza restaurant.

While many businesses have struggled mightily during the pandemic, some quick-serve chains like Domino's Pizza have reported increased sales nationwide this spring.

"As soon as March hit, sales started taking off. We had a lot more deliveries and a lot more people wanting to pick up," said Diana King, Domino's Pizza store manager.

The biggest challenge has been keeping up with sanitation efforts and safety requirements in an ever-changing COVID-19 environment.

From regular testing of chemicals to wiping down high touch areas, employees have never had more cleaning checklists to complete, and their bosses have never been more worried about safety.

One of the tools helping companies like Domino's Pizza, Chipotle Mexican Grill, and Five Guys Burgers stay on top of sanitation efforts is an application called Zenput.

The San Francisco based technology company runs a mobile application that helps management track employee sanitation efforts in real-time.

Instead of using old school cleaning lists on bulletin boards or in bulky binders, employees get scheduled alerts through an app-based program. Managers, often working remotely, are notified when the checklists are completed.

The ability to make quick changes to the sanitation procedures across multiple stores has been a game-changer during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially since guidelines frequently change.

"That need to be able to communicate to all your team members that things are changing left, right, and center regularly, you need something quick," said Vlad Rikhter, Zenput CEO.

Domino's has also started taking the temperatures of employees showing up for work and tracking their temperatures through the program.

"We have to log. If they've been in contact with anyone with COVID-19 or have any symptoms," King said.

According to Zenput data, quick serves are completing 280% more safety work per week than pre-COVID-19 levels.

"I'm a father of two, and I go get take out a couple of days a week, and it's great to know these brands care deeply about the quality of their food," Rikhter said.

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