This article was updated on September 20, 2018.
If you own a restaurant or any other business that deals with food preparation, the local government will regularly perform health inspections to make sure you're doing everything safely. If you don't prepare for the health inspection, you could get hit with a bad grade, which could lead to a poor business reputation or government fines. The inspector may even choose to shut down your business if it's not up to code. Here are a few steps you can take to prepare your staff and business as a whole.
Perform Your Own Inspection
Your local health department should make their health inspection checklist available to the public. Contact their office and ask for a copy. With this checklist, you can perform your own health inspection in advance. Simply walk through your business and go through every point on the list to see how you measure up. If you find any potential problems, inform your staff immediately. To prevent issues from developing over time, you could schedule a regular weekly or monthly internal inspection.
Emphasize Key Skills
There are a few key skills that can make your staff better prepared for health inspections. In particular, it's crucial that you emphasize the importance of hand-washing, especially when it comes to food preparation. Post signs in all of your bathrooms and by every sink. Your staff members should know that they need to wash their hands after they take a break, eat a meal or go to the bathroom.
Your staff should also understand the temperature guidelines for storing and serving food, how to keep surfaces and equipment sanitary, food cross-contamination risks and how to dispose of waste properly in order to prevent infestation. If your staff members can master these basic safety skills, your business will be in good shape for the inspection.
Train Your Managers Appropriately
You must be able to depend on your managers to make sure that your other employees are following the health code standards. But in order for your managers to be able to supervise your team properly, they first need to understand all the relevant guidelines and regulations themselves.
Consider having your managers take a food safety course so that they can get the proper training from a professional. If your business can afford it, it wouldn't hurt to have all your employees take such a course.
Keep Up-to-Date With Local Rules
The health inspection rules you'll need to follow will depend on your business's location. Check with your local health department to see whether there are any special regional regulations, and feel free to ask for advice on how to prepare for the health inspection in your area. You should stay in regular contact with your local health department in case they change any inspection requirements.
If you prepare for the health inspection properly, you should have no trouble making the grade. And when you do pass, you'll be one step closer to keeping your customers, employees and bottom line healthy.
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