Health inspections can break a business if the venue is not set up to promote food safety and follow restaurant guidelines. Obviously, food safety is a major factor in passing restaurant health inspections. Businesses will not be able to implement all the restaurant guidelines upon arrival of a health inspector. Many guidelines relate to handling of foods, and others focus on the restaurant design, making it almost impossible to “fake” following them, especially on short notice. Instead, businesses should ensure that they are always following the guidelines. They should make sure the restaurant design is in line with restaurant regulation laws and that restaurant employees are aware of, and stick to, the policies related to food safety. Constantly being ready for unannounced restaurant health inspections will prevent businesses from suffering due to transgressions, while protecting diners from harmful bacteria which food safety guidelines are meant to prevent.
Step One: Education and Training for Restaurant Employees
Employee education and training can be one of the defining factors in a food business passing restaurant health inspections. Keeping a clean work area and washing hands (before dealing with foods and frequently throughout the shift) should be strict rules for all kitchen staff. The last shift of the day should do a thorough cleaning of everything in the restaurant kitchen, from the floor, to the shelves, to the sink. They should also make sure any old food is thrown out and label any boxed leftovers. Restaurant employees should be directed to take a sick day if they are not feeling 100% healthy, to help prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria to customers. Managers should keep an eye on service and food preparation to make sure that these sanitation rules are being upheld.
Step Two: Restaurant Design
Restaurant design should be taken into account when thinking ahead about restaurant health inspections. It is highly recommended to draft restaurant kitchen floor plans with restaurant consultants, who know the guidelines, to ensure that all the restaurant regulations are met and that none are trespassed. Getting restaurant advice from more experienced restaurateurs can be effective for learning about restaurant design guidelines as well. Restaurant design should also be planned to make it as easy as possible for restaurant employees to keep the area clean. Having a sink to wash dishes and another for rinsing raw ingredients, ensuring there is enough space free under the counters and appliances to wash the floor, and installing adequate drainage systems for liquids that may be spilled, are good strategies to start with. Commercial kitchen appliances and food preparation equipment must be bought strategically in order to allow maximal separation of raw ingredients, which will help lower risks of cross-contamination. Fruits and vegetables should, preferably, be stored separately from meats, poultry, fish, and eggs, for example.
Restaurant regulation can be stressful for businesses. Some types of restaurant regulation are arguably overbearing and exaggerated, but others are important initiatives to ensure a standard of food safety and cleanliness that were not taken into account before the regulations were in place. By ensuring that the restaurant kitchen is always running with the intention of promoting safety and cleanliness in the kitchen, businesses will have nothing to worry about when it comes to restaurant health inspections.