Cleaning and Preparing Your Restaurant for Health Department Inspections

IMG_2304All restaurants must pass their health inspections to stay open. Proper cleaning, sanitation and food safety efforts play a big role in whether a restaurant passes or fails. Health inspections make sure all of your equipment is working properly, maintaining the right temperatures and working to prevent foodborne illnesses. Planning in advance and keeping your restaurant clean and in good shape will make the inspection process easier. If you’re always prepared for a health department inspection, you won’t have much to worry about when the time comes.

  1. KNOW THE CODES. Health inspections will vary from state to state and city to city. You need to know what criteria your local health department will be looking for and make sure you’re meeting those standards. A great way to check is by holding an unannounced, mock inspection. You can see where you’re doing great and where your restaurant needs improvement before the inspector shows up. has a checklist for holding a mock inspection.
  2. KEEP IT CLEAN. Keeping your restaurant clean and well-maintained at all times will take the pressure off your inspection. Make sure your staff is sticking to a cleaning schedule. Pay attention to details. Make sure utensils, cups, serve ware and other items get properly cleaned and sanitized. Prevent Cross-ContaminationThat means no lipstick stains on the glasses and no food stuck in forks! Prevent dirt from building up and you’ll have less to clean before an inspection.
  3. MAINTAIN EQUIPMENT. Check your equipment to make sure it’s working properly. Use a separate thermometer to check the temperatures in your freezers, refrigerators and coolers. Make sure your grease traps get cleaned regularly and your ovens, stoves, grills and other equipment are in proper working order.
  4. KEEP DOCUMENTATION ORGANIZED. Make sure your HACCP, temperature checks, cooling logs, other maintenance records and certifications are organized and easily accessible. Let managers know where these documents are in case you’re not there when the inspector arrives.
  5. MAKE SURE YOUR STAFF IS PROPERLY TRAINED. Staff need to know food safety rules and how to follow them. Make sure to continually mopping 2 handseducate your staff and that they’re following proper techniques including washing their hands, wearing hair nets and gloves where necessary. Do not let them become complacent or fall into bad habits.

For more information on preparing for your inspection:
Preparing Your Restaurant for a Health Inspection

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