First lets establish why I am writing this article. Many of our customers run in our store and frantically looking for this and that. This store has been around for 20 years and we've been so accustomed to customers looking for what the health department is making them buy. Sure sometimes their requests are unreasonable but they are the health department and they are justified to make you adhere to their rules whether its by shutting you down or giving you the not so flattering grade C to place in your front windows. Not all counties do this but Los Angeles County does. Orange County on the other hand doesn't give you a placard to place on your front window but they do have public records available to the public. Basically they can request to see your Health Inspections notes. So for a number of reasons its important for you to make sure that Health Inspectors enjoy their visit to your Restaurant.
Here is a list to watch for things to make sure are satisfactory, things that my customers generally get hassled about.
Cutting Boards, Do you have enough and are you following the code on which colors to use with what materials.
Temperature, Do you have enough thermometers to tell the temperature in each of your refrigeration units. It's important to keep things below 41 degrees.
Gaskets, You know the plastic thing between the door and the frame of the refrigerator, it keeps the cold air in and the hot air out. It's what keeps the seal on your refrigerator, while its impossible to stock gaskets of every different size for every different refrigerator, you can e-mail us at email@example.com and have us quote you on your gaskets.
Chlorine paper, the little vial of paper that tests the chlorine amount in your water. This one surprises me big time. The vial is cheap and its not like they want to watch you use it, but you are suppose to have it. Buy it ahead of time and make sure your employees know where it is. Some people have it but don't tell their employees they have it. Guess what when the Inspector asks then its like they don't have it!
What about the simple cleanliness issues?
Are the floors mopped?
Do you guys have everything off the ground by 6" or do you have it on wheels
How about underneath the counter on the overhang?
Are there sneeze guards above all your exposed food?
The Next time your health inspector is there to see you make sure you taken care of the obvious. That way they will be impressed with your effort and make everything easy for everyone. They want to see you are making an effort and that you don't have a blatant disregard for Health Safety! Remember Always be polite and respectful as you don't want a ticked off inspector.
This article was published on Tuesday 27 March, 2007.