Our kitchens can say goodbye to many paper forms and time-consuming manual procedures in favor of an intuitive, custom-built platform designed specifically for their needs. Raju Sankuratri, Associate Vice President of Technology, and Steve Skarupa, Product Manager, walk us through the Enable development journey.
From Paper to PerformanceThe platform serves as a guide to kitchen success, including production prep, setup, recipes, temperature check, service results and more. As soon as an employee walks into work for the day, he or she opens the Enable app on the tablet. The screen suggests the optimal station setup for that day’s recipes. It also allows employees to capture and store images of each station, to increase setup consistency. As the employee begins preparation, Enable displays a recipe alongside the number of portions the kitchen will need to prepare that day based on automated forecasts. After the employee has prepared the food according to the instructions, he or she can add shared notes in the app’s journal function.
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The product team measures success partly through the platform’s adoption rate, and the numbers speak for themselves: across an ever-increasing number of client sites, associates use the app every day. Users have recorded nearly 1.6 million temperatures to date, and the app has reduced the time burden of client sites’ frontline tasks by an average of 1,000 hours.
Part of the app’s success is attributed to the fact that Enable product team continuously engages their frontline colleagues in the design and development process. Employee interviews uncovered pain points and areas of opportunities in the daily food preparation process. Formerly, the kitchen team would begin work each day with printed paper worksheets with the day’s recipes and portion quantity information. Food managers were responsible for hand-recording food production numbers on these sheets; however, because the process disrupted their workflow, the staff often waited until the end of the day. That left the papers often incomplete or illegible after moving around a kitchen environment. Those papers were collected at the end of the day or week for data entry into a web application. Enable, on the other hand, fits seamlessly into the daily process — a user need only tap a button to record their information. The results? More accurate, real-time data — and 450,000 sheets of paper saved to date.
Because kitchen data is far more accurate with Enable than when completed from memory, plans for ordering ingredients have improved — thereby limiting food waste and spoilage. With smarter data stored on the platform, kitchens can optimize inventory and make better purchasing decisions. Further, when employees prepare recipes according to step-by-step instructions on the app, the end product is better standardized in quality. “With Enable, it’s about better all around operations, food waste reduction, cost reduction, and more consistency in the food,” Skarupa notes.
The team sees the benefits of Enable ranging from improved operational efficiency and engagement to improved food safety, and a better food product for the consumer. Frontline employees agree. “Our guests are impressed when they see a chef using a tablet behind the scenes, says a food manager in Texas. “We’re more efficient and consistent, but we also have more pride in our operations.” A manager in New Jersey reports that he spends less time behind a computer doing manual data entry, that he can instead spend interacting with customers. “We’re able to talk to our guests and get much more feedback from them, so we can deliver the experience they want.”
From Concept to Product: The Enable Development Journey
What differentiates Enable from other software solutions in a kitchen? “This is a complete custom development effort,” Skarupa says. The Enable journey exemplifies Aramark’s focus on innovating new digital capabilities, to enhance operations, the consumer experience and client insights.
In a short period of time, Enable has been deployed at more than 450 locations with another 200 planned in the next six months. As the team manages Enable’s performance, they’re dedicated to the tool’s continued success among the associates it serves. “We have seen outstanding adoption with tremendous use on a daily basis,” he said. Skarupa says, “We’re constantly refining, enhancing, adding more features, and analyzing existing usage.”