There are more than 8000 restaurants and cafés in Norway, with more than 60 million servings each year. Bad food hygiene causes problems at restaurants, and the public had no easy way of knowing if the restaurant was safe to eat at.
To increase public awareness, and make restaurants take the guidelines seriously, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority (NFSA) was given the task of increasing inspection frequencies and make it much easier for the public to know if the eatery is considered safe or not.
In order to achieve this goal the NFSA were to give grades, in the form of smileys, to all restaurants and cafés in Norway. The restaurants now have to display these smileys at the entrance to their facilities. In order for the information to be up to date, the Food Safety Authority had to increase the frequency of inspections drastically. They had to increase the frequency by as much as 4 times. And they had to do this without hiring any new inspectors.
Using user-centered and participatory design techniques, Computas helped the NFSA design and develop a portable application to support all aspects of smiley inspections. Through field studies, interviews, prototyping, usability studies and design iterations through the entire project, we created a system to handle the entire workflow of smiley inspections.
The inspectors are now able to plan, conduct and document restaurant inspections in the field, without going to the office, while still following rules and regulations. The application is designed to speed up the evaluation and documentation phase of the inspection. The inspections are saved and synced to the NFSA central system, and the poster with the results are printed on site. The restaurant also gets digital copies of the reports and any fines are automatically billed. The results of the inspection are also posted online immediately and is available as open data for any third party to use. All of this is done automatically when the inspector submits the report at the restaurant, and no longer requires any manual steps.This means that the inspection is completely done when the inspector leaves the restaurant premises.
The impact of this is massive increases in efficiency for the NFSA. Prior to the Smiley project all of the above mentioned steps were done days after the inspection, and involved many manual steps. By streamlining the process and automating as much as possible, the inspectors are able to spend more time in the field, which is what the inspectors want. The restaurant owners get the results immediately, enabling them to fix issues more quickly and keep both customers and the authorities happy. The results in numbers:
– Inspections in 2015: nearly 2900
– Inspections as of August 2016: 11,000
Given the challenge and the documented results after 8 months in service, where the inspectors are almost four times more efficient, we believe the Smiley project is a great example of the optimizing category.