Business Insurance

Hello, Inspector – How to ace your restaurant's health inspection

If you think about it, people place a great deal of trust in your restaurant and your employees when they eat at the establishment. They trust that you've done your due diligence when you are looking at preparing their meal which you've taken steps to make sure cleanliness. They're trusting you to not make them become ill. Or, you realize, spit within their food.

That's why health inspectors check out restaurants to make sure that they're following proper guidelines for food safety. Inspectors will oftentimes drop by with little or no notice during a busy meal rush to conduct a health inspection-they want to see how your facility runs during a typical day. They want an honest look at things.

The idea of being inspected might be stressful for everyone who works at your restaurant, but we've put together a few tips to assist you do your best on your health inspection.

Phase One: Before the inspection

1. Know your city and state's health codes.

You need to know the rules that you're responsible for following, so take time to study the guidelines your state has put together about food safety. You may also take a look at the FDA's guidelines (called The Model Food Code.) These standards are designed to prevent foodborne illness, and lots of states shape their very own guidelines after them.

2. Do self-inspections.

To help gear up for that real health inspection, it's helpful to do an investigation of your. Look at your restaurant objectively through the eyes of a health inspector. Make your inspection as authentic as you possibly can by-

  • Not announcing it.
  • Equipping yourself with exactly the same tools that the inspector would (forms, chemical strips, alcohol wipes, etc.)
  • Using exactly the same standards the health inspector will.
  • Talking for your employees
    • Toss out some safety questions to gauge how well your training has been working and to keep the training fresh within their minds.
  • Taking a look at your records.
  • Knowing the questions the inspector will ask. The inspector will most likely be taking a look at a few of the following areas:
    • How your foods are prepared (cooked, cooled, etc.)
    • How you monitor the temperatures of the food
    • How raw foods are handled
    • Where/how the food is washed
    • Handwashing and glove policies
    • How foods are labeled
    • How leftovers are handled
    • How the equipment is cleaned
    • How employees are trained

2. Accompany the inspector on their tour.

Remember, you have the same goal because the inspector: you want to prevent the spread of foodborne illness. If you cannot personally tag along, have your managers go on the tour with them.

3. Don't be slimy.

Don't offer food. Actually, don't offer anything that might make it seem like you're trying to bribe the health inspector. Stranger things have happened.

4. Keep the cool.

Don't get mad, and don't try to contradict them by explaining things away. The inspector is just doing their job and trying to keep the customers safe. Instead, listen to what they have to say. They may have some valuable insights.

5. Understand any violations.

If the inspector notes any problems, be sure to ask them what you could do to improve and correct the issue. It's important that you know what the problem is and how you can fix it.

Phase Three: After the inspection-

1. Call a meeting.

Debrief your employees about how exactly the inspection went. Stress the importance of food safety. While you're conducting your meeting, be considerate of any bilingual employees-ask someone to translate if needed.

2. Get the staff involved.

Ask for questions and ideas for how to improve. The staff knows the way the restaurant works, and they might have issues to create up or methods to offer. Your waiters and chefs aren’t chopped liver.

3. Keep up with your self-inspections.

Don't neglect your self-inspections just because the actual one is over. Make your “health inspections” a regular thing and make sure that your restaurant is doing well as far as food safety is concerned.

Health inspections might feel nerve-wracking and/or terrifying, but if you make food safety a priority you'll ace your inspection. You won't want to make any of your customers sick, so treat the inspection as a valuable learning experience to assist you prevent foodborne illness.

If you need insurance for the restaurant, we can help. Give us a call or fill out our quote form and we'll be pleased to answer any questions you might have. We'll even toss in a free insurance quote! And if you’re thinking about spoilage coverage, we can get you a quote for your too!

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