Restaurant nightmares can be made up of lots of things: orders that are never delivered, working a packed restaurant alone, beer taps that won’t stop pouring. But the most terrifying of all is the failed health inspection. Since health regulations vary from country to country, city to city, there’s no single inspection checklist that applies for every region. But restaurants should be keen on keeping up-to-date with the latest regulations or they could face the wrath of the dreaded C grade, the conditional pass, or worst of all, be shut down.
How can you make sure that your restaurant is meeting the stringent standards set by health regulations and avoid a huge headache when the inspectors come around?
Start by following these three tips.
Checklists for both the front and back of house should be detailed enough that they cover every nook and cranny of your restaurant from the POS station to the hood vents. Checklists that require manager sign offs guarantee that no tile goes un-mopped and no corner un-cleaned – ensuring a consistently spotless establishment.
Similar to a secret shopper, as restaurant manager, auditing your operations and employee performance is a must, but your audits should go beyond numbers and performance and into the nitty gritty. Cleanliness is intrinsically tied to both. Performing routine audits of cleanliness ensures your restaurant keeps its standard of clean year-round, and will always be ready when an inspector shows up.
As with many workplace habits, cleaning comes from the top down. As chef Iliana Regan says, “I am always cleaning after myself and stressing the importance of our mise en place, our environment, and the way we work to be clean. I think if we are not clean we cannot be organized and being organized with our prep and space means our heads are organized, which means we can focus.”
Essentially, a clean environment makes for a clear head in an otherwise chaotic environment. When cleanliness is stressed as part of your culture, from hourly washroom checks to hand washing signs and available sanitizer, it becomes habitual and ingrained. This benefits you because not only will it make for a more comfortable working environment and happy guests, but when inspection time comes around, you don’t have to go out of your way.