10 Tips to Ensure You Ace Your Next Restaurant Health Inspection
What’s the best way to prepare your restaurant and commercial kitchen for a health inspection? Well, quite simply, the key is to be prepared for an inspection at any time. Although health inspections typically occur two to four times a year, restaurant managers and upper level operations staff members should conduct in-house inspections on a weekly basis.
Here are 10 tips to help you prep your restaurant so you have a winning health inspection and pass with flying colors each and every time.
#1 Practice Makes Perfect
The best way to practice for a restaurant health inspection is to perform a weekly self-inspection. Don’t announce the inspections to staff and employees, but instead surprise them. Most health inspections are unannounced so your practice runs should be as well. This will help all staff members practice proper food handling and cleaning regulations on a day-in, day-out basis.
During these surprise inspections, use the same or similar form as your health department. You can contact your local health department to find out what form is currently being used. Remember to put yourself in the health inspector’s shoes. Always run a tight ship, whether it’s inspection time or not.
#2 Review and Understand Local Health Codes
Review your local health codes from the health department for any special, local requirements or changes to previous requirements.
#3 Use Prior Health Reports as a Guide
Review your last three health reports as a guide on what you’ve done well and what needs to be done better. See which areas were strongest and which were weakest—kitchens, cooler areas, server stations, bathrooms and storage spots.
#4 Bleach Coffee Mugs
While this isn’t necessarily a citable problem, any significant signs of dirt or wear can ultimately impact your inspector’s perceptions of overall kitchen operations. Bleach coffee mugs to remove stains and keep your inspector’s eyes focused on the cleanliness of your kitchen.
#5 Maintain Drains With Service Inspections
Schedule an inspection with your exterminator or plumber. Keep the latest report available to show during your health inspection.
#6 Check Your Water Temperature Meets the Standard
Over time, water heaters can lose their performance and output ability, impacting the quality and temperature of your water. Your water may not meet health department standards, regardless of how hot it may feel to the hand. Avoid this problem by investing in the regular maintenance of your kitchen equipment.
#7 Arm Yourself With Proper Thermometers
Check all of your kitchen’s refrigeration equipment with a new thermometer, similar to the digital one that will be used by the health inspector. Also make sure the chef has a meat thermometer on hand—the chef coat pocket is a great place to store this.
#8 Clean, Clean, Clean
Clean closets, coolers, corners, under bar sinks, storage units and cooler shelves. Make sure everything is free of dirt, grime or any other residues. Also reinforce the importance of handwashing by having plenty of signs posted above all sinks and in all restrooms.
#9 Train and Quiz Your Staff on Food Safety Techniques
Ensure all restaurant managers and staff are up-to-date on the latest food safety techniques. The National Restaurant Association is a great resource.
#10 Start from the Outside and Work Your Way In
Get an outsider’s impression by starting at the outside of your restaurant and working your way in. Cleanliness on the outside of your establishment is the first thing the inspector will notice, making it a crucial step in the preparation and ongoing process of your restaurant environment. Try to take on the point-of-view of someone who has never been to your restaurant and go from there.
Quick Servant Can Help You Prepare for Your Restaurant Health Inspection
Last but not least, ensure all of your kitchen equipment is operating at peak performance with the help of Quick Servant. Our experienced and highly skilled technicians are ready to help with a variety of HVAC, refrigeration and equipment services—installation, repair and routine maintenance to name a few. Call us today to learn more about how we can help you ace your next health inspection!