Health code inspections aren’t something to take lightly as they can have repercussions for your business. National policies are set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which discloses guidance for restaurants on its website. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, all health inspectors have elevated their cleanliness standards, with many permanent changes to health codes.
If you want to make the health inspector happy every time, as well as your customers, don’t make these restaurant health code violations. In this article, we look at some common mistakes and ways to avoid them.
Avoid these common violations with a little bit of extra effort and some purposeful training time for your staff.
Next, let’s take a look at that health inspection.
You’ll find in most cities that your local health department will conduct health inspections anywhere from once to four times a year.
You want to be prepared every time by following the regulations every day of the year.
But, if you know your time is up, and the health inspector is on the way, review the regulations and your food standards to make sure you are protecting your restaurant.
You can use a tool called the HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points Plan) to prepare for your health inspection.
By using this system, you can identify points in your cooking process and kitchen areas where the risk of contamination is the greatest. In addition to the HACCP plan, you should also check the guidelines based on the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and take some additional steps to get ready.
Because anyone can pretend to be a health inspector, make sure you verify your inspector’s credentials. In most instances this person will volunteer them to you before you ask. If you are unsure, call the health department to verify. (tweet this)
Always be respectful of the health inspector. Treat this person as you would any guest in your restaurant. Give this person full access to your restaurant and space to do her or his work.
Do not try to hide any area, as this will alarm the inspector and cause additional scrutiny. The inspector has a legal right to access all physical spaces of your restaurant for inspection.
Stay with the inspector so you can view any violations. You may be able to correct some of your violations immediately, which is a bonus for you. Your health inspector will record this as fixed on the spot, so you aren’t getting an out of compliance score.
If you don’t understand the violation, ask for more information. Try not to be argumentative. Use your conflict resolution skills to get more information so you can resolve any issues.
You will get an inspection report from the health inspector, usually with grades attached.
Read this report very carefully. Go over it with your staff. Then, fix all of the violations you had immediately.
Your local newspaper often reports these violations (and its online version), so you want to make sure you fix them, so customers will keep showing up at your door.
While you can correct some of these immediately during the inspection, others may take you a bit longer. They may also require a re-inspection. Don’t let too much time go in between the first inspection and the re-inspection. (tweet this)
If you had to change some things and were in violation, be sure to provide ongoing training to your food staff. Verbal training as well as prominent signage can help.
If you would like to talk with someone about these issues, your menu, or improving your online presence, please schedule a complimentary consultation with our team of restaurant experts. We have been serving restaurant owners since 2015.
Getting dinged for health code violations can spell disaster for your restaurant, especially once word gets out.
You can bet your that customers won’t want to eat in a dirty or otherwise unsatisfactory restaurant. Dirty kitchens are the basis for bestselling books like Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential and national television shows like Gordon Ramsay‘s Hell’s Kitchen and 24 Hours to Hell and Back.
If you have any violations, fix them straight away. Make sure you know how each violation occurred and why. Talk to the offending staff members.
And, as we mentioned before, continue with your own ongoing surprise inspections.
Finally, if you don’t agree with a violation, you can always appeal it.
Take your health inspections as learning opportunities. After all, you don’t want to spread illness, and you want your customers to be safe. Here again is the link to the FDA’s best practices for restaurants.
By avoiding common health code violations, you can help solidify the success of your eating establishment.
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