How To Conduct A Restaurant Heating Inspection: What Should You Look Out For?
Success in any Restaurant Heating Inspection requires not only talented staff and delectable dishes, but also passing regular heating inspections and complying with local health department requirements during bi-annual restaurant inspections.
Restaurant managers and staff are well aware that these inspections occur regularly. But that doesn’t make preparing for them any less stressful. Food industry compliance health inspections don’t have to be something you fear – you can prepare your restaurant so health inspectors approve when they visit unexpectedly.
What to Avoid During a Restaurant Special Inspection by the Health Inspector
Most states require restaurants to undergo at least two inspections per year, with a visit from the local health department about every six months. Unfortunately, restaurant owners and managers are often not informed or given notice of these visits, so it’s essential to be prepared.
Once at the property, health inspectors must identify themselves. Unless instructed otherwise, they should be allowed to roam free without restriction and unassisted unless instructed otherwise. They have the right of entry into any area of the building – even behind locked doors!
The typical inspection will include:
- A comprehensive walkthrough of the facility in its entirety
- Focus on kitchen and storage areas for a thorough review
- Pay close attention to bar/dining areas and pay attention to every detail.
- Inspection of all plumbing accessible and bathrooms
- Complete inspection of exterior and garbage areas.
Inspections are conducted to detect contamination and temperature abuse in food products as they are received, stored, prepared and served. They also look for signs of pest infestation both inside and outside the facility.
What to Expect From an Inspection
The two annual inspections by the health inspector are not the only inspections a restaurant may receive. If the local health department deems it necessary, additional unannounced inspections may take place as needed.
Additional inspections may be ordered if a complaint about the business is made. Local authorities are responsible for investigating any potential problems at a restaurant and determining if there are any. The complaint then gets sent off to health inspectors, who will conduct their investigation and report back with their findings.
Restaurant managers must ensure they adhere to all regulations. Violations may result in heavy fines or even permanent closure.
What to Expect During a Visit from the Health Department
Restaurant managers never know when a health inspector may visit, so it’s essential to be ready. Doing this will guarantee your restaurant is as spotless as possible for their visit at any time – they may even surprise you by showing up unexpectedly!
Restaurant managers and owners who are informed know it’s beneficial to conduct internal inspections on their own. This allows them to identify potential issues early and prepare their staff accordingly. Not only does this help pass food safety inspections more easily, but it also makes your customers’ dining experience more pleasant. Moreover, showing management cares about providing employees with a pleasant working environment also demonstrates their dedication towards maintaining safe conditions for guests. Here are some tips and tricks for getting ready for an inspection by the health department:
Tips to Succeed in Passing the Health Department at Your Restaurant
Are you trying to pass the health department at your restaurant? Here are some tips.
Proper Food Storage
It is essential to understand how and where food should be stored in order to prevent contamination. Cooked food should always go above raw food in the fridge, and all items should be contained or wrapped to prevent spillage. Once opened, these products should be dated so older ones can be used first.
It is essential that your restaurant cook and store food at the correct temperatures. Failing to do so could lead to bacteria that could potentially injure customers. Cold food should never be kept below 40degF/4degC, frozen items shouldn’t be stored below 0degF/18degC, hot items shouldn’t exceed 140degF/60degC. To guarantee all fridges and freezers function optimally as well as thermometers reporting accurate readings, inspect them regularly.
Prevent Food Contamination
Remember, any food touched in a restaurant can potentially lead to contamination of your food supply. Therefore, having a clean kitchen and regularly maintaining it are essential for avoiding food safety violations among customers and staff alike. Safe food handling practices include FDA-approved dishwashing techniques, deep-cleaning ice machines regularly, and making sure all equipment such as platters, dishes and utensils are free from damage. Furthermore, employees handling cooked items should be provided with gloves, food-grade tissue paper and tongs for extra protection.
Adhere to Food Safety Practices
Maintain a comprehensive log of all food safety procedures used in your restaurant. Record inspections and procedures from the health department, food handling practices, pest exterminating schedules, equipment upkeep/repairs – this will help keep organized any restaurant inspection process.
Cleaning Restaurant Space
Restaurant cleanliness shouldn’t stop with just tables and counters. Every area of the establishment must be regularly cleaned and maintained – walls, floors, ceilings – in order to guarantee it remains free of liabilities. This includes equipment like HVAC units or dishwashers within the establishment as well.
Every day, restrooms must be cleaned and disinfected. Customers and staff should have access to these facilities. It is essential for maintaining proper sanitation on all surfaces such as walls, floors, ceilings, etc. Additionally, make sure you have enough supplies of toilet paper, soap, and paper towels available at all times.
Hygiene for the Individual
In order to prevent contamination of restaurant food supplies, all food handlers must follow personal hygiene protocols. Proper handwashing involves using hot and cold water for at least 20 seconds each time.
Pest Maintenance and Control: Maintain the balance.
Pests can quickly damage a restaurant’s reputation. Controlling them is difficult due to the food-filled building, so be on the lookout for signs of infestation such as droppings and nesting sites. To make it harder for pests to get in, secure all entry points. For serious problems and proper resolution, hiring an exterminator is recommended.
Training Your Staff
Food safety and preparation training should be a top priority for all staff. A well-trained workforce allows you to implement best practices and be better prepared for inspections by the health department. Your knowledge should range from sanitation protocols and safety procedures, all the way through keeping beverages ware clean so that food can be served safely.
Before you can impress the local health inspectors, remember they will be searching for signs of temperature abuse, pest infestation and contamination both inside and outside your building. They’ll inspect every corner for violations and leave nothing undone if they spot one.
As regulations vary from place to place, it’s essential that you contact your local health department and inquire about their policies. Doing this will guarantee that you are informed about any regulations applicable to your restaurant prior to receiving bi-annual inspections.