THE FUTURE OF ALLERGEN MANAGEMENT
As hospitality takes its first tentative steps out of lockdown and back to business, it has never been clearer that the road to recovery will need to be carefully mapped out. Revisiting menus, reassessing your offering and ensuring customer safety will be at the top of every successful business’s agenda.
Of course, guaranteeing customer safety isn’t all about Covid, social distancing and handwashing. Before the pandemic began, the war on allergens had already started with the passing of Natasha’s Law and the promise of more legislation to tighten up existing restrictions, to make menus and labelling more transparent and to make accurate allergen management a necessity across the whole of the hospitality industry.
Providing transparency, efficiency and accuracy.
There’s no doubt that with time and resources at a premium, the most effective way to keep track of your recipes and to manage your profit margins is through technology. Post lockdown, resources will be stretched to capacity, with restrictions on covers and skeleton staff. Manually updating menus and recipes will not only take valuable time, but could also be prone to human error. Even with the best of intentions, a sudden change in supplier or the swapping of an ingredient could make it all too easy for a gluten free item to contain a trace of wheat.
Allergen tracking from supplier to menu
With Natasha’s law being introduced later this year and tighter regulations around the disclosure of nutritional information expected, it’s imperative that management of allergen and nutritional information is automated and seamless. In order for information to be completely accurate, the chain of ingredient information has to start with the supplier.
Technology allows the allergen journey to be tracked from supplier to menu automatically, freeing up resources and ensuring accuracy. A product arrives in the recipe management system with an allergen and nutrition profile provided by the supplier. Each time that product is used, its profile is pulled through and is assigned to each main recipe, menu and dish in which that product appears. Each resulting dish will then automatically be tagged as ‘suitable for’ or ‘free from’.
Whenever there is a change in product or supplier, the product, recipe and resulting digital menu will be automatically updated, so that the consumer is always given the most up to date, accurate information possible.
The application of this technology is also a powerful tool for building recipes and keeping control of costs. As part of the creation process, chefs can be as creative as they like in the confidence that recipe contents are traced all the way from ingredient level through to every sub recipe, dish and menu created. Everything is tracked accurately and automatically updated for with an indicator of GP at every stage.
The same software also automatically creates easy-to-view allergen tables and embeddable menus on your website so that customers can browse and filter to see which dishes they can eat based on their preferences/allergies. Giving customers and staff this information to view gives provides that you are diligent in your management of ingredients. Customers will have greater confidence in live information and well informed staffs, rather than relying on an out-dated printout from a few weeks ago.
Menus can be accessed via website, QR code or link on social media and can then filter dishes, based on their dietary preference for complete transparency at all times. As dishes and ingredients change, so too does the menu, so there’s no risk of a client ordering from an out of date menu with incorrect information.
Regardless of the size of your business, it is imperative to start taking allergens seriously. Now is the time to start employing a process that tracks allergens direct from your suppliers and vendors all the way through to your menus.
I am passionate about supporting this industry. I don’t want the creativity of chefs to be restricted by huge amounts of administration, and they don’t need to be. By using technology like such as Kitchen CUT, they can be creative – safe in the knowledge that any dishes they create have a transparent allergen profile.
If you need help please feel free to contact us at Kitchen CUT for advice on allergen management within your business.
For more information, please visit https://www.kitchencut.com
John Wood Biography
With an international career that’s taken him to Europe, Asia, South Africa and Dubai, John has worked at some of the best 5* establishments in the world, including the Vier Jahreszeiten in Hamburg, the Mount Nelson, Cape Town, and the Island Shangri-la, Hong Kong.
John has also worked extensively in some of the UK’s most prestigious hotels, The Savoy, The Dorchester and the Cliveden, gaining a Michelin star at the latter in Waldo’s restaurant. As Executive Chef at the highly successful Chapter One on the outskirts of London, he also set up and opened a second operation, Chapter Two in Blackheath.
The lure of the world famous 7 star Burj-al-Arab hotel in Dubai was enough to tempt him back into hotels for his final executive chef position. John has achieved a Michelin star, 4 AA Rosettes and 8 out of 10 in the Good Food Guide, proving not only his ability in a kitchen, but also his acumen for the commercial aspects of a business. John has managed international teams from 10 to 500 chefs in award winning multi outlet operations with large banqueting operations, catering up to 5000 covers.
After working as a chef for over 25 years in the hospitality industry, John Wood set up his own consultancy business in 2007 and launched a cloud-based F&B management system called Kitchen CUT.