4 Ethics Vulnerabilities in Food Service

Food service is an American staple. Whether customers are dining in these days, ordering curbside or getting delivery, the industry as a whole continues to adapt and conquer. You’ve probably heard all the rhetoric around potential staffing shortages, supply shortages, and minimum wage debates plaguing many food service companies right now. And if your business is facing some or all of these challenges, you’re certainly not alone. But there are other ethics vulnerabilities to consider, as well.

If you’re in the food service industry, these are the potential gaps in your ethics policies to take note of and combat with an ethics hotline. You have plenty of other obstacles to navigate right now. Let the ethics hotline help you protect your food service employees and your bottom line by addressing these food-service-specific vulnerabilities.

1. Fraud in the Food Industry

One study, focused on ethics vulnerabilities in the food service industry, showed a staggering amount of fraud indicators, as much as 40 percent. Additionally, this SSAFE survey pointed to fewer controls in place. Casual dining restaurants lead in fraud vulnerability, followed by the fine dining establishments. Fraud vulnerability in these restaurant environments includes theft of products, theft of cash, and timesheet misreporting.

2. Minimum Wages and Minimum Hours Reporting

Another ethics vulnerability within the food service industry involves wages and hours reporting. Worker shortages are affecting fast-food restaurants particularly hard. With fewer workers, stretching over longer shifts, there are opportunities for ethics vulnerability gaps. In addition, some states have raised minimum wages, making it even harder for fast food employers to adjust. And many times, in these higher-stressed environments, the conditions are right for ethics violations in hourly reporting, on-the-floor employee behavior, and policy missteps.

3. Safe Working Conditions Still Matter

While much of the world is still transitioning to remote work, the food service industry still remains a hands-on environment. And in food preparation, there are sharp tools, dangerous equipment, and slippery floors to consider. Safe working conditions still matter in these restaurants, meaning ethics hotlines are still much-needed tools. Burns, falls, and cuts continue to rank as the most common occupational hazards in the industry. So, despite what other challenges your food service business faces right now, don’t lose sight of the importance of workplace safety protocols.

4. Combat All Ethics Vulnerabilities with an Ethics Hotline

From behavior in the back of house operations of hospitality to front-line fast-food service workers, there are always some risks of ethics violations. While each business model will vary, from chain to franchise to family-owned, one resource continues to be incredibly useful. Having an ethics hotline in place for your food service employees will encourage them to anonymously report violating behaviors or conditions. It’s like having an added ethics safety net in place to ensure you become aware of situations that require attention.

If your food service industry business is still operating without an ethics hotline, let Ethical Advocate help. Establishing a dedicated channel for anonymous reporting might be the best way to bridge those ethics vulnerability gaps, ultimately protecting employees and your bottom line.