Phenium: Fostering a Comprehensive Food Safety Culture

Mårten Stenfors, CEO & Co-founder, PheniumMårten Stenfors, CEO & Co-founder
The aroma, taste, and presentation of any dish stand to no merit if the food in question is not safe. Globally, restaurants lose (or discard) a third of their food due to food safety concerns. A part of this problem can be attributed to the outdated and less effective food safety assurance and adherence methods employed by restaurants. For example, a typical commercial kitchen spends over 2,200 grueling work hours every year to manually log food temperatures. This is in addition to employing large amounts of refrigeration to preserve food.

Amidst all these measures, a small mistake can cost the businesses a fortune. Every second, 19 people contact foodborne illnesses worldwide. Unfortunately, a major portion of these foodborne illnesses originate from restaurants -- no wonder more than 70 percent of chefs attribute food safety concerns as their major workplace stress factor. Besides, non-compliance to food safety mandates can attract fines up to 10,000 dollars per violation along with forced closures that can last for months; not to mention the damage to business reputation.

Turning the tables against these undesirable narratives is California-based Phenium. With its novel food safety as a service business model for restaurants and similar establishments, Phenium aims to reduce foodborne illnesses globally by 50 percent in tenyears. What underpins this strong vision—rendering it feasible as opposed to a farfetched proposition—is the simplicity and prowess of Phenium’s digital food safety platform for restaurants and food service provides.
“Our food safety solutions are based on an award-winning behavioral method, which turns culinary safety into motivating tasks and preventive management,” says Mårten Stenfors, CEO and co-founder, Phenium.

Phenium's food safety platform brings automated restaurant intelligence, cloud-based food safety monitoring, and team collaboration tools for restaurant employees to holistically ensure food safety and reduce food wastage. The outcome-based platform augments human-centric workflows with cutting-edge technologies like predictive AI and blockchain, to ultimately allow restaurants to notify and track food safety issues and occurrences. Its user-friendly web- and mobile-based interface is designed to make the most out of gamification to motivate restaurant employees to carry out food safety tasks without fail. The platform has comprehensive tutorials for staff training and provisions for suggesting corrective actions and giving feedback. The real time scoring feature help foster food safety workflow efficiencies. For owners, the platform enables easy self-inspection via an institutional-level dashboard. Those who operate multiple restaurants get a bird's eye view of their entire food portfolio. They can easily gain access to each location's performance and make better decisions on where to focus their resources.

Phenium’s food safety platform can continuously analyze food temperature and quality via smart sensors. It can also monitor fridge and freezer temperatures, which, in turn, helps to optimize refrigeration equipment usage to ultimately reduce energy wastage. This is of a heightened value, as refrigeration emits gases responsible for global warming, which majorly hampers cold chain, leading to even more food safety incidents. In addition, the platform features tamper-proof (blockchain-based) audit-ready data sharing, which reinforces trust between restaurants, insurance companies, and health/compliance authorities. This allows auditors, as well as restaurant owners, to pinpoint the very occurrence of a data point. In effect, Phenium provides a comprehensive picture to clients about their restaurant’s operations in real-time and helps them prepare for health inspections and take necessary preventive measures.

Since its humble beginnings in 2016, Phenium has helped restaurants save upwards of 35,000 work hours and food worth 1,170,000 dollars from spoiling. "We’ve avoided over 2400 food safety incidents," prides Stenfors.Today, Pheniumcaters to several household names in the restaurants and food services landscape, including Starbucks, Pizza Hut, Eldorado Caesars, Garces Group, and Vegenation. The company also provides real-time food safety monitoring services to several large social media and high-tech companies in Silicon Valley.

Stenfors, who holds over 25 years of experience in global food safety performance and handling, plays a huge role in these achievements. In 2014, he was awarded the prestigious Black Pearl Award from the International Association of Food Protection. Backed by Stenfors’ expertise and the power of its platform, Phenium is indeed inching closer to its bold and visionary goal of eradicating foodborne illnesses on a global scale. The future looks bright for the company.
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Company
Phenium

Headquarters
San Francisco, CA

Management
Mårten Stenfors, CEO & Co-founder

Description
Phenium is a Food-Safety-as-a-Service solution that uses automation, behavioral science, and technologies to manage food safety

Phenium

"Our food safety solutions are based on an award-winning behavioral method, which turns culinary safety into motivating tasks and preventive management"

- Mårten Stenfors, CEO & Co-founder

  • Phenium News

Introducing Phenium: A New Way to Prevent Foodborne Illness

Foodborne illness is the plague of the restaurant industry. The CDC says that there are 31 different pathogens that cause foodborne illness in the United States. Every year, approximately 48 million Americans get sick, 128,000 require hospitalization, and 3,000 die due to foodborne diseases.
When an outbreak of foodborne illness is linked to a restaurant, that restaurant can suffer significant reputational damage and financial loss. According to CNN, Chipotle’s stock plunged 37% and sales dropped 7% after E. coli hospitalized 22 people in 2015 and damaged the chain’s “healthy food” image. ABC News says that Chipotle has agreed to pay a $25 million fine to resolve charges related to tainted food that allegedly sickened more than 1,100 people between 2015 and 2018.
The Importance of Temperature Monitoring
To prevent foodborne illnesses, restaurant staff must practice good hygiene and safe food handling. It’s also important to monitor the temperature of food. Hot food must be kept hot enough and cold food must be kept cold enough. Otherwise, dangerous pathogens can flourish.
This means that the temperature must be monitored continuously. Restaurants also need to keep temperature logs so they can prove that they’re maintaining safe temperatures. This is essential for safety, but when restaurant kitchens get busy, it can also be a drag on resources.
Food Waste Eats Profits
Although restaurants try to maintain safe temperatures, this isn’t always possible.
After a power outage, restaurants may have to throw out thousands of dollars in food simply because they cannot guarantee that it is still safe. This is better than gambling with foodborne illnesses, but it is still far from ideal. Restaurants typically operate on thin profit margins, and food waste can push them into the red.
According to the USDA, approximately $161 billion worth of food was wasted at the consumer and retail level in a single year. Anything that can reduce this massive number is a good thing for both the restaurant industry and the environment.
The Phenium Solution
Powered by artificial intelligence and blockchain technology, Phenium is a digital safety platform for foodservice providers. It monitors refrigeration automatically to prevent foodborne illness, decrease labor requirements and reduce product loss.
With Phenium, users benefit from:
• Accurate data logging
• Live data streaming, cloud reporting, and automated alerts
• Real-time safety scores
• An automated safety process that can minimize product loss
• No need to track and log temperatures manually, saving valuable labor
This tool is even more important when you realize that you may not have insurance coverage for certain losses related to foodborne illnesses. For example, if you have to close your restaurant due to foodborne illness, you may not have coverage for the resulting business interruption.
Pizza Hut, Starbucks, Eldorado Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, and Facebook have signed up for Phenium, and it’s easy to see why they’re excited about this new technology.
Heffernan clients who sign an annual agreement and go live with Phenium before December 31, 2021, will receive significant savings.

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