Food Safety Takes a Giant Leap Forward with New App


Accountability for restaurants has just jumped to a whole new level in the Houston, TX area.

Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services created an app that rolled out to the general public in late July.

This app allows Android and iPhone users to snap a photo of suspected food safety violations, and then upload it directly to food safety inspectors. Oh, and the app uses geocoding to stop any potential false reports. Geocoding uses a description of a specific location to match specific geographic coordinates to spatial reference data like street addresses and postal codes.

The app then provides data about restaurants and their safety violations to smartphone users. Green means few violations and low risk. Yellow means some problems and moderate risk. Red means the restaurant has had its license suspended completely, or is close to having that happen.

The Larger Point: You Never Know Who’s Watching You in 2015

Let’s be honest: most businesses are honest and try to do the right thing. But sometimes things go out of your control.

You hire a bad manager and things go into chaos. A normally exceptional manager’s performance levels suddenly drop to complete negligence. Bad things happen.

And these days, with smartphones, it takes customers just minutes to catch on and to spread the word. Yes, your community may not have an app that allows consumers to quickly make public health violations reports.

But, they can just as easily snap a photo and post it to Facebook. And some people have thousands of friends on Facebook. Or, if you are in Harris County, you get a double whammy with a bad report to Public Health and reputation damage on Facebook.

Clearly, technology’s moving fast. So it’s important that your company moves faster. Maybe that means you go and find an app that helps you monitor your internal processes so none of this happens in the first place. Maybe you hire a consultant to help you conduct an audit on how to keep your workplace clean.

And If Bad News about You Gets Out…

You must have a way of monitoring that and doing the necessary damage control. And here are 5 low-cost tools for helping you do that.

Most customers don’t like conflict or confrontation, so they’re not going to tell you if something’s wrong. Instead, they tell people they know in person, or they make angry comments on Facebook (or they send a photo to the Public Health Department).

It’s up to you to prevent that from happening in the first place…or to fix it when it does.