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Printing a Recipe for Restaurant Success: Streamlining Food Safety, Online Ordering, and Operations

Mike Zolot We had a chance to speak with Michael Zolot, Director of Sales, Vertical Markets for Brother International Corporation about what's going on with printing at restaurants.

RR: We often don't think of printers as vital in restaurant operations. So it's interesting to dig into areas where they're serving a real need, particularly in food safety.

MZ: Absolutely. Food safety has been top-of-mind for the food service industry in recent months. Restaurants are re-examining every detail of how food is stored, prepared, and served. To ensure freshness, restaurant managers are integrating more automated in-house food labeling into their operations. Properly deployed Made, Ready, Discard (MRD) labels display when a particular product was opened or prepared, and when it should be discarded. Hand-written labels are a recipe for problems - they are often illegible, prone to error, and could mean the difference between fresh and spoiled. Software-based labeling solutions that track food history and print out clear, easy-to-read dates help eliminate the confusion and improve food safety.

RR: In your experience with restaurants, how often is the printing device being used?

MZ: Printing in the restaurant environment - in the front and back of the house - is non-stop. Often, a single printer is pressed into service throughout the day (and into the night), seven days a week, for a variety of uses. Consider every time you push the print button: signage for employees and customers, printed menus (including those daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner specials), working schedules, marketing materials, flyers, inventory reports, invoices, spreadsheets, even reminders to staff. The printouts have to be crisp, clean, readable - as well as attractive, creative, and produced fast.

RR: What other roles are printing devices playing in the restaurant industry?

MZ: For restaurant managers or franchisees who are part of a regional or national chain, there are a variety of documents that must be scanned from paper to digital, then sent to the corporate office. Transmitting confidential information - such as sales reports and personnel documents - is critical to maintaining efficient business flow. For example, every time an employee is hired or leaves the organization, forms, files, and documents often need to be quickly and securely delivered to corporate, often via scan or fax. A device with pre-set shortcuts make the process even smoother.

RR: What should restaurants consider when updating their printing fleet?

MZ: Technology continues to evolve, and to meet the demands in the front and back of the house, an investment should fit the needs of the total operation. Also, space is often at a premium in restaurants, and print devices should be small in size but big in efficiency. Compact machines designed with the restaurant industry in mind can manage documents with speed and quality, while fitting into a tight space Most printers are designed for office use, which exist in a temperature-controlled and grease-free environment. Seek highly durable and reliable printing solutions designed to withstand the rigors of the restaurant environment. Lastly, it is important the device supports the latest industry security protocols. Since print devices are often centrally located, only specific staffers should have access to the output. Securing documents can be as simple has requiring users to enter a passcode or swipe a card to for documents to print.

Brother International Corporation

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