Restaurant owners understand the importance of providing a safe and sanitized working environment, and there are certainly risks of operating a restaurant. It’s important for their patrons as well as for the people who work for them. While safety is important, and a priority, for many restaurants, delis, and cafes throughout the country, things do occasionally fall through the cracks, get missed, or simply overlooked in the day-to-day operations.
When inspections come along, whether they are surprise inspections or planned inspections, these things can have a significant impact on your ability to serve your customers, employees, and community. That’s why it’s so important to have a self inspection checklist for your commercial kitchen. That way you know that everything is in order at all times. But, how do you make your self-inspections truly effective?
Practice them Frequently
If employees know there’s always the possibility of an inspection, chances are good that they’re going to cross their T’s and dot their I’s. the other benefit of frequent inspections is that you’re less likely to receive a nasty surprise when inspection comes along. You know where areas of strengths and weaknesses are and can correct them before they become problematic.
Offer Rewards and Consequences
Small rewards can help employees take pride in a job well done and look to repeat their success. You don’t have to offer large rewards, but it is important to offer something to acknowledge that they’ve done well – even if it’s to put their name in a monthly drawing for some work perk, prize pack, or gift card. They’ll appreciate the fact that you’ve noticed and rewarded their efforts.
At the same time there must be consequences for failure to pass inspections such as dish-washing and extra cleanup duties, verbal, and written reprimands, etc. A consistent history of compliance failures must be addressed with increasingly penalties as it represents a risk to your customers, your other employees, and your business.
It will take a little more time out of your day to conduct a thorough inspection. However, health inspectors that come into your restaurant will be thorough. If you don’t use the same tools and practice the same degree of diligence in your surprise inspections, things will be overlooked.
Falling into a habit of overlooking these things can result in missed weak areas and failed inspections when it really counts. This is where a checklist, such as this one from the South Dakota Department of Health website, comes in very handy. Just make sure you use a checklist that uses the compliance requirements that are specific to your community.
Inspections and checklists can make a world of difference in your ability to pass inspections with flying colors each and every time and reduce your need to file a restaurant insurance claim.. The harder you and your staff work to make your restaurant a top notch place for great food, better service, and stellar health and sanitation, the better your odds of achieving all those things and more will be.