Restaurant health inspections are just a simple way to prevent your kitchen from being attacked by illnesses. It’s a way to keep your customers happy and healthy. If you have one coming up, here are some helpful tips on what to do before the restaurant inspector even arrives.
What to Do Before an Inspector Visits
Without a health inspection, your restaurant could fall victim to a food borne-illness outbreak that could ruin your establishment’s reputation and even force you to close your doors.
The proper strategy for a successful health inspection is to be ready for an examination at any time. This means that you and your managers should become inspectors and conduct weekly, in-house examinations before health inspectors arrive.
When conducting a self-assessment, you should use the same form — or a similar form — that your health department uses and put yourself in the health inspector’s place.
Your self-inspection should include walking into your establishment from the outside to get an outsider’s impression.
After you inspect your operation, hold a 10-minute briefing with kitchen staff to review any problems. This step will help convey the importance of food safety to staff members.
If your staff includes employees for whom English is a second language, ask a bilingual employee to translate the findings to them so they also understand how important cleanliness is to the success of your restaurant.
Your self-inspection priorities for kitchen employees should include: food temperature, awareness of food types and hand washing.
Temperature guidelines include checking the temperature of products when they arrive, when they are stored and when they are served. Doing this will reduce food borne-illness outbreaks by 70 percent.
Food-type guidelines are divided into three categories: beef and beef blood; chicken; and all other types of food. These three categories can never touch each other during preparation.
The importance of hand washing should be re-enforced by posting signs at all kitchen sinks and in employee restrooms.
Train your managers to ensure that they are up-to-date on the latest food-safety techniques. Restaurant employees can use the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s ServSafe food-safety training program.
Review your local health code for any special, local requirements.
Another way to influence the outcome of your restaurant health inspection is to get involved politically. Join your state’s health-code-revision committee to give a restaurateur’s perspective. Involve senior staff on such committees as well.
These helpful tips were put together by the National Restaurant Association.
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