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February 2020
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TD Magazine

Wearable Tech Enters Food Service

Food handling and food safety are critical training components for food service workers. And they can be expensive. According to NSF International, the industry spends an estimated $3,500 training each worker. Further, employees must be trained quickly, and frequent turnover can lead to repeat training and increased expenses.

But a new study from researchers at the University of Arkansas' Department of Food Science—Educational Affordances of Google Glass as a New Instructional Platform for Foodservice Training—reveals that wearable technology could reduce training time and deliver training benefits, compared to traditional, video-based classroom training. The report notes that the glasses cost $1,200–$1,400 a pair.

In the study, participants wore the Glass, Enterprise Edition—similar to a pair of eyeglasses—that was equipped with NSF's EyeSucceed software. Glass would display training content in the user's field of sight. Participants learned how to properly wash their hands and how to make a sandwich.

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The results: Participants required less than 50 percent of the training time necessary to learn and replicate the correct food-handling responsibilities. Plus, those wearing the glasses could learn and repeat the tasks at the same time.

A quick-service food chain recently piloted the wearable technology, and more than two-thirds of its employees noted they preferred this new training technology to the traditional offerings. Further, the two companies see potential to use this wearable technology for other applications in food service.

About the Author

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world. The ATD Staff, along with a worldwide network of volunteers work to empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace.

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