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5 Steps to Prepare for Health Inspections
Health inspections are one of those necessary, but nerve-wracking, parts of life for a restaurant owner. A positive health inspection is vital to your restaurant’s continued success, and it is something that should always be in the mind of everyone working for your establishment – from senior management, to cooks, to the wait staff. If you are unsure of how to best prepare for health inspections and want to achieve an “A,” then be sure to follow these 5 steps from the moment you open your restaurant’s doors to the public.
1. Take a Look at the Health Code
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has developed a model food code for restaurants across the United States to follow. However, each individual state will follow their own code, which is more than likely modeled after the FDA code. You will want to check with your state’s health department to receive a clear guideline of the health code. Give this a thorough read and make sure your restaurant is following all rules and regulations on an operational level. Have the code posted in common areas for easy reference amongst staff. Have the form in bi-lingual versions in the event that you have staff members who speak another language.
2. Get a Sample Inspection Form
The sample inspection form will make it much easier to understand exactly how your restaurant’s health and cleanliness is going to be judged by the inspector. Think of the inspection form as a daily checklist of all rules and protocols that should be regularly followed. Again, this inspection form should be posted (in all applicable languages) so that everyone within your staff is clear of how food should be handled.
3. Hold Food and Health Safety Meetings with All Staff
Going a step further than posting the health inspection form in the back room, you will need to have thorough trainings and meetings with the staff of your dining establishment. Provide visuals and demonstrations on how food should be handled. Provide rewards to all staff for “A” health inspection ratings to keep them motivated to stick to the code. All levels of your organization should be regularly involved in health and food safety protocol. Ensure that employees have a method for anonymously disclosing food safety concerns to upper management. With open communication and accountability, there is no reason that health codes cannot be upheld by everyone in the restaurant.
4. Do a Mock Walkthrough
With your inspection form in hand, do a mock walkthrough of your establishment as if you were the inspector. Do not go easy on yourself if you want this to be effective and accurate. Take time to really inspect each part of the list to determine if your restaurant is not only up to code, but surpassing it. If you feel you cannot be impartial, recruit the help of a colleague or employee to conduct the inspection from a different viewpoint. Discuss your findings with the team to see where improvements need to be made. Making this a regular practice is key to staying on top of the health codes.
5. Recap with Staff After a Review
After your inspection, it is just as important to discuss how it went with your entire staff. If you received an “A” rating, congratulate everyone and discuss how you can continue to practice safe food handling for everyone’s health. If the rating was below an “A” it is time to now, more than ever, begin addressing the issues within your establishment. Anything lower than an “A” grade can have severe implications on your business, which is why your health inspection should be treated with the utmost attention and dedication.
Contact RPA for Restaurant Insurance
Need more advice about health inspections and best protecting your restaurant business? Look no further than the restaurant insurance experts at RPA. We have dedicated our careers to helping restaurant owners navigate the often confusing world of insurance so that you are able to best protect your business. Contact us today to speak with a representative near you.