Nov 3, 2020
Powering Remote Store Audits in a Post COVID World
Neil Roy

With the recent updates from the world of Franchises. After a busy Halloween Weekend, and the nation setting up for the Elections, and Christmas round the corner - restaurants, pubs, or even gyms and salons are ramping up for the Holiday Season.

However, with COVID Cases crossing 100K a day in US, and most of Europe under lockdown - we are in a new normal. In this constant battle for store owners to win back customers ensuring COVID safety - Audits & Compliance has become the need of the Hour. Today, we discuss how some Franchise owners are adopting a new way to regularly Audit their own stores - Remote Store Visits powered by Digital Platforms.

But first, let’s understand why being Compliant is so critical, and how slip-ups in Compliance can lead to brutal consequences.

When Brands Slip-up on Compliance

Audits if not done correctly, can cost owners their licenses, and slip-ups have even shaken big brands like Chipotle and McDonald’s in the past.

Chipotle closed several locations in Ohio, after 300+ consumers got the novovirus from a food poisoning of lettuce, and the brand’s shares sank more than 7%!

Chiptole launched cross location Digital Transformation post this incident!

McDonald’s rolled back salads from 3,000 restaurants, after 436 cases of Cyclospora food infection was detected in 15 states, with 20 people needing hospital treatment. Again a slip-up because of Food Safety violation, and the brand losing hundred’s of thousands of dollars, with locations losing their licenses.

So Compliance is critical, and COVID-19 has increased the strictness with revised safety guidelines issued by CDC & WHO. However, COVID has made store visits and internal audits difficult for Franchise Owners.

So why are Walk-in Internal Store Audits Failing?

In the wake of the Pandemic, there are several reasons why owners and area managers are finding it difficult to conduct weekly field visits to stores:

  1. Safety of Field Managers: More Field and Area managers are reluctant to travel to stores, endangering themselves, the staff on location, and even customers of getting COVID. This is leading to less store visits, and managers having to coordinate over call and excel sheets - with reduced visibility.
  2. Managing Physical Audit Logs: CDC & WHO guidelines for Food & Sanity regulations are becoming more stringent, and stores have to produce detailed proof that these tasks are taking place on a regular basis. Managing physical audit logs and history is getting difficult, and chaotic.
  3. Reduced Staff cutting corners: Most businesses are crunched with shortage of labour by upto 62%, which means less workers now have to perform more of these sanity tasks, more frequently. A lack of prioritising important tasks lead to workers cutting corners, and chances of important tasks like temperature checks, getting missed!

With COVID making things more difficult for effective internal audits, some are going via the Virtual Route with great success, let’s see how?

Introducing Virtual Store Audits - The Future with Digitization

Post COVID-19, store visits have reduced by over 70% in Restaurants & Hospitality. Some Franchise Owners have adopted virtual store visits to replace 80% of their walk-in visits, using digital apps like Delightree. Let’s see how you can conduct a virtual store audit successfully!

A) Plan & Execute your Virtual Store Audits in Advance

How Internal Audit Inspection Checklists look on Delightree

You already have a complete set of audit checks that are needed for your locations. With an app like Delightree, you can create a custom checklist of all the important inspections from food perishables to temperature checks for your freezers - and send this inspection checklist to your store managers via the app, setting this up at a weekly level.

You already have a complete set of audit checks that are needed for your locations. With an app like Delightree, you can create a custom checklist of all important inspections from perishable food items, temperature checks, to kitchen cleanliness - and send this inspection checklist to your store managers via the app, setting this up at a weekly level.

Store Managers filling Inspection checklist with Images & Forms on Delightree

Your store manager gets a notification of the inspection list with a deadline. He then takes pictures, and marks off items in the checklist, even giving feedback via attached forms - on areas which can become a compliance concern, all saved within the app!

B) Plan physical visits ONLY where its required

Once your virtual audit results come in across different locations, you and your area managers can review this inspection, and chat or call your store managers remotely - discussing improvements. For locations which show major compliance concerns - you can plan specific physical visits by your area managers, who now know what issues exist, and can proactively prepare for coaching and training the ground staff.

Sharing Training and guidelines with teams on Delightree

Using Apps like Delightree, you can even create specific training modules, with guideline documents, images and videos that your staff can learn from, and ensure all compliance activities are followed to the T!

Finally, all your internal inspections or virtual audit details are saved within the app, in a single location. When external auditors come for inspection, sharing details is effortless and without hassles of physical paper or cumbersome excel sheets!

Join Franchise Owners who are already using Delightree for their remote store visits, and much more!

If you have interesting stories you would want to share with 1000s of business owners - share it in the comments section below.

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