As a restaurant owner, one of the most daunting and trying times can be health inspections. Whether random or scheduled, these inspections can cause immense stress to both you and your staff. In most cases, the inspection officer isn’t there to shut down your business. They come into your restaurant to ensure that you are following the basic health and food regulations. But, knowing and following the standard resolutions can be hard work—especially when times are extremely busy. If you have an inspection planned or if you are due for an inspection any day now, we can help you get ready for the big day. Below, we’ve outlined a quick checklist to ensure that your restaurant is inspection-ready.
How to Prepare for a Health Inspection
Before an inspection, try doing a self-inspection to see your current status. HACCP plans can help, but we’ve broken them down for you in a quick and easy checklist right here.
Safety Issues and Cross Contamination
Do a quick scan of your restaurant and keep an eye out for any signs of unsafe issues or potential cross contamination. Also, ensure that your staff follows standard personal hygiene—from hair to clothing and more. Check that appliances are running at accurate temperature requirements, as this can cause food safety issues, and more.
Learn the Local Regulations
Find out the local regulations in the health department where your restaurant is location to ensure you are completely prepared. Get to know your health inspector. They are all people and will score the inspections differently.
Train Your Staff
It is important that both you and your entire staff know what to expect during and before an inspection. Train your staff on the local regulations and establish a mandatory maintenance schedule and plan to ensure that the regulations are followed. To ensure that this gets done in the best possible way, you can conduct inspections at random times.
What to Do During a Health Inspection
You know that you will now be ready when an inspection happens. But, during the actual inspection, here are a few things that you can do.
Verify the Inspector’s Credentials
This should happen automatically, but if the inspector does not show his credentials, make sure that you ask to see them.
Follow the Inspector
Rather than just letting the inspector search through your restaurant alone, it’s best to follow him. This will allow you to see any violations first-hand so that you can correct some of them on the spot or note them for next time.
The inspector will tell you if something is not up to code and needs to be cleaned, modified, or repaired to their approval. In some cases, the part required may take several days to arrive before repairs can be completed. Unless it is a direct health and safety hazard the inspector should be satisfied with proof of purchase documentation and let work continue.
Sign the Report
Signing the report allows you to get a copy of the entire report. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you agree with the report, but it allows you to get the information you need to better your restaurant.
Ask for Explanations of the Report
If you incur any violations, ask for a detailed explanation. This can help you correct any problems.
After the Inspection
After the inspection is complete and you have received your score, you can start to make any necessary corrections. Figure out how each violation happened and use the notes from the inspector to rectify the situation. If you have received a poor score, you can reschedule your inspection for 5 to 45 days after the original date. This will give you ample time to fix the violations that you have received, plus get your rating in a great spot. If the inspection report has come back with many violations that you do not agree with, you are able to appeal it. You can call your local health department and ask to speak with the inspection officer’s supervisor to start the appeal and rescheduling process.
Now that you know what it takes to go through the inspection process, it’s time to take action. Many restaurant owners see inspections as a daunting or frustrating part of operating their business, but this doesn’t have to be the case. By knowing and understanding your local health department’s code of standards, you can set your restaurant and staff up for success.