How to pass a restaurant health inspection
Restaurant managers and staff can be panicked by a surprise health inspection or audit. A health inspector may suddenly show up at your restaurant and announce that it is time for a medical inspection. Although inspectors are often busy, they will sometimes have to inspect restaurants at odd hours.
Even if you are caught off guard, it is possible to pass the restaurant inspection. It’s much easier than you may think. Preparation and planning are key. This famous quote by Benjamin Franklin is a great example of this wisdom. Your restaurant must have procedures and policies in place before you can pass a health inspection.
Before a restaurant health inspection, employee training
Your employees should be trained on how to wash their hands, take temperatures, and use gloves. It is important that your employees are familiar with these procedures and can use them in their daily job duties. These are the five most important activities employees should do at work. These activities are important because they directly link to the most critical violations inspectors discover during an audit. These violations will result in the worst inspection scores.
1) Keep track of food temperatures. A temperature log is a good idea for kitchens. A temperature log will show an inspector that food safety in your restaurant is important. You should check the temperature of the food twice a day, once in the morning and again between lunch and dinner. Foods that are not at the correct temperature should be considered a priority. Add some ice to cool the food down if it is a little too warm. Throw it out if the temperature has reached 50 degrees Fahrenheit. An inspector may schedule a follow up inspection if she finds food that is not at the right temperature, particularly if it is on the warmer side. The fees for these follow-up inspections are usually charged to the restaurant.
2) Wash your hands. Managers must ensure that employees wash their hands regularly. If you see an employee who has not washed his hands properly, you should inform them. It is better to speak up than wait for the inspector to say anything. The FDA recommends that employees wash their hands …:
If you are entering a kitchen area for food preparation
- Before you put on single-use gloves that can be used for food handling and between glove changes, make sure to wash them thoroughly.
- Before you start cooking,
- Clean equipment before handling and serving utensils
- It is possible to switch between working with ready-to eat and raw foods when changing your tasks.
- Handling soiled dishes, equipment, or utensils should be done immediately.
- After touching naked human body parts, such as parts other than the hands or exposed portions of the arms,
- After you use the toilet
- After coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose, you can eat or drink after.
- After handling or caring for service animals, aquatic animals like molluscans shellfish or crustaceans in tank displays
3) Disposable gloves are recommended for handling food. Only use disposable gloves if you’re using your hands to handle food. Kitchen employees must wash their hands before applying gloves. This is key to successful glove usage. Training your employees on proper glove usage and changing gloves when handling raw foods and prepared food is crucial. To ensure this standard practice is followed, an inspector will inspect the kitchen staff.
4) Follow sanitation guidelines. Your restaurant staff should make sure that they check the containers of sanitizer used to clean up tables and counters every day. The person responsible for running the warewasher should ensure that it is properly sanitizing. If an inspector finds problems with sanitation during an inspection, they should immediately take corrective action.
Place food and beverages in the designated area. Designate a place that is away from food preparation areas to store employee food and beverages. When an inspector comes, teach your employees how to dispose of employee food and beverages. A manager on duty may also inspect the kitchen for any improperly stored food or drinks.
You can get ahead by conducting your own internal audits
Internal audits do three things. They provide training for staff, prepare the restaurant to be subject to a local health inspection, and ensure that the restaurant is ready to offer safe food and the best dining experience.
A manager should inspect the restaurant on a daily basis for any potential serious violations. This is similar to a health inspector. Keep a list of the most serious violations and make any necessary changes to fix them. Check the temperature of the food in the kitchen. Make sure employees wash their hands well and use gloves. Check that the warewasher is correctly sanitizing dishes. Make sure that employees have proper storage for their food and beverages.
You can keep the regulations in your head by conducting your own internal audits. This will allow you to remind your staff of what is expected and enable them to perform well during a health inspection. This checklist will help you make your audits more thorough. This checklist includes items that are commonly checked during a health inspector’s visit, such as temperature, service line, walk in, prep areas and warewash area.
Be Proactive during a Restaurant Health Inspection
Your employees should be taught that they must alert their manager immediately if a health inspector arrives. The manager should walk through the inspection with inspector to ensure that violations can be rectified as soon as possible. This is important because if the manager can fix the problem that caused the violation, the inspector will record it on the official inspection report. If the inspector is satisfied with the result, the overall inspection score could be increased.
The manager should inform all employees that a health inspector will be inspecting the restaurant while the inspection is ongoing. To ensure that the restaurant passes the inspection, remind them to follow the proper procedures. Managers should inspect the restaurant and quickly identify any potential critical violations. Then ask employees to fix them.
Managers should be actively communicating with their employees during inspections, giving direction and information about local food safety and FDA Food Code regulations. This shows that the manager is well-informed about regulations and is coaching employees in the correct procedures.
The Inspection is Over!
All employees should make passing a restaurant inspection a priority. A restaurant with poor scores on its health inspections could have a negative impact on their reputation and earnings. The restaurant will be able to pass any inspections by conducting internal audits and training its employees on the most serious violations of health inspections. Employees will be trained on what to expect during inspections so they are prepared for the arrival of the inspector.