Lessons from a Health Inspector Turned Food Safety Director - P.F. Chang’s Interview

Dana Farese
Published On:
Mar 07, 2022

P.F. Chang's entire menu is made-from-scratch, which includes hand-rolling dim sum, hand chopping and slicing all vegetables and meats, and scratch cooking every sauce. This made-from-scratch food philosophy means that maintaining the highest levels of food quality and safety measures throughout the preparation process is critical.

Christina Serino, Senior Director of Quality Assurance and Food Safety of P.F. Chang's, knows the importance of having the proper checks and balances throughout the day to make sure everything is done in the safest way possible.

Prior to her 8-year tenure at P.F. Chang's, Serino was an Environmental Health Specialist for Maricopa County Environmental Services. From surprise visits to scheduled inspections, she has seen it all. Even when a restaurant was tipped off to her upcoming visit, sometimes they did nothing to prepare or clean up their act. Her experience in this role truly shaped and influenced how she operates today, and why food safety is so critical. 

Operations Leader Spotlight: Christina Serino, Senior Director of Quality Assurance and Food Safety P.F. Chang's

Tell us about your history working in the industry.

"Previous to P.F. Chang's, I was a restaurant inspector. So, I have been in a lot of restaurants, I'm very well versed in food safety practices. It's just my nature to make food safety observations when I'm in the restaurants, and being able to use a tool like Zenput to collect all of that information and then give a report to the restaurants has really been helpful."

What does "food safety" mean at P.F. Chang's?

"Food safety is really important at PF Chang's because we do so many processes in-house like hand cutting meat, hand-rolling dim sum. We're doing specialized processes like making sushi rice every day. So, especially for something like food safety, if a refrigerator's not working, we want to know about it, and we want to know that we safely moved that food or we called a repair person to fix that refrigerator. Just being able to insert those corrective actions for our food safety program has really made a big difference."

What does "food safety" mean to you as a food safety leader? 

"Really, when you're working in a restaurant, food safety is the business. Knowing that I've got a tool like Zenput to be able to know what's going on in the restaurants from a food safety perspective on a daily basis, has really made my job a lot better. "

How do you help your team better understand food safety in your restaurants?

"I oversee all of the food quality for our suppliers and food safety for our restaurants. One way we use Zenput to communicate really important information is with a product recall. So, I assign that out as a project with a form, and I know exactly who has looked at it, what their responses are, collecting photos from them, whereas previously, that may have been something we did via email, which was really hard to track."

In 2019, P.F. Chang's deployed Zenput's operations execution platform to ensure compliance with a wide range of food safety protocols in each of its restaurants. P.F. Chang's trusts Zenput to ensure all food is handled and prepared the right way to protect its customers, employees, and reputation. With Zenput, temperature readings from Bluetooth thermometers are automatically captured along with photos, tasks, and comments. If there's a potential issue, a corrective action is immediately prompted and tracked within the system, and above-restaurant leaders can track progress in real-time. Store employees use Zenput to perform a range of processes to ensure that food is kept at the right temperature, equipment functions properly, and food is handled, labeled, and stored correctly.

Watch OpsX in Action with P.F. Chang's to see first-hand how the company maintains these high standards while also ensuring quality execution throughout its entire operation.

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