Building up your restaurant’s relationship with your health inspector can make annual inspections not a time of anxiety, but a learning experience to improve your restaurant’s practices.
We have all seen the classic sitcom relationship between the scared restaurant owner and the overzealous health inspector. The health inspector just wants to put that restaurant out of business, right? How wrong television can sometimes be. Restaurant owners and health inspectors are not adversaries; rather they are partners working together to create the best environment for preventing foodborne illnesses and protecting guests’ health.
Even without several high-profile E. coli outbreaks in the news, your customers want to know that their food has been prepared in a clean and sanitary environment. And, frankly, restaurant owners need this customer support to keep their business going. The National Restaurant Association recently published several tips for restaurant owners to create the best relationship possible with their health inspector. Their advice includes:
- Correct mistakes as soon as possible. Health inspectors hate seeing repeated violations, so make sure that when your inspector tells you an area you need to improve upon, do so immediately.
- Demonstrate progress. If you receive a less-than-satisfactory inspection, make sure to show your inspector your plan of action to correct the mistakes, and then ask them to add your corrective action plan to your file.
- Share your food safety plan. Inspectors appreciate learning about your restaurant’s food safety plan to benchmark what other restaurants could be doing to maintain the highest level of food safety.
- Seek inspectors’ advice, especially if you are launching a new product or implementing a new process because they will most likely have some great tips to improve your business.
Annual health inspections should not be a scary time for your restaurant. Inspections present you with a fantastic opportunity to learn industry best practices for food safety, which you can apply to your restaurant to make sure you dish up the highest-quality food possible. In fact, whether your most recent health inspection went well or not, this can be a great reminder to consider investing in your restaurant’s food safety practices and culture. Managers, cooks, and servers alike all benefit from food safety training and certifications—an investment that can go a long way toward preventing future issues with your restaurant. If you’re not sure you have the cash reserves to make this investment, it may be time to consider a capital advance; employee training is an excellent option for investing capital from Wellen.