Restaurant owners understand how nerve-racking an unexpected visit from the health inspector can be. Their analysis of the front of house, kitchen, staff, bathrooms, and food can either make or break your restaurant.
These surprise visits can be more manageable with preparation. Part of being prepared involves creating and implementing a restaurant inspection checklist to ensure your restaurant is always up to industry standards. Learn how to create custom mobile forms to help hold your staff accountable for meeting health and safety standards.
What is a Restaurant Inspection Checklist?
A restaurant inspection checklist is a document that restaurant owners and managers can use to ensure every aspect of their restaurant is compliant with health and safety standards. Your checklist can cover everything from the way food is stored to regulations for employee hygiene. Having a comprehensive checklist can make your routine inspection process easy and efficient for your employees while helping you prepare for those unexpected visits from the health inspector.
What to Include In Your Checklist
Here are six key areas you should include in your checklist, which can all be completely customized with the Device Magic restaurant inspection checklist app:
Proper food storage practices play a significant role in maximizing the preservation of dry goods in your restaurant. Using clear and consistent food storage strategies can help ensure your food lasts longer, reducing waste and preventing cross-contamination that can result in getting customers sick. Your inspection checklist should cover food storage methods such as:
- All food is stored at least six inches above the ground
- Food is stored in cool and dry locations and not exposed to heat or other contaminants
- Food and chemicals are stored separately
- All food storage containers are labeled and dated
- Staff and management are aware of the FIFO method—first in first out.
Refrigerators & Freezers
Controlling and maintaining temperatures of cold foods is another crucial element in following industry regulations and guidelines. Refrigerators and freezers should be maintained regularly to ensure consistent climate control. Your checklist should cover aspects pertaining to the restaurants' refrigerator and freezer usage such as:
- A thermometer is visible and working correctly
- All foods in the refrigerator and freezer are labeled correctly
- If there is a walk-in fridge or freezer, all items are stored off the ground
- Refrigerators and freezers are cleaned regularly
- All foods are being stored in a place that is conducive to their particular “safe range” for temperature
Food Prep Process
Storage of food in a restaurant is the first step in remaining compliant with health and safety guidelines. The next step is ensuring that food is prepared in a way that eliminates cross-contamination. The kitchen can be a busy place. But following a clear and consistent food prep process will help your kitchen staff prepare, cook, and serve foods in a way that is safe for the end consumer. Some of the issues your restaurant inspection checklist should cover in regards to the food prep process include:
- Frozen foods are being thawed correctly
- All foods are being heated to the correct temperatures
- Everyone in the kitchen who touches food washes their hands, uses gloves, and cleans utensils when switching from one food to another
- Food that is not in use is covered to avoid cross-contamination
- Tasting utensils are washed after every use
A clean restaurant is a healthy restaurant. Every section of your restaurant, from the waiting area to the main dining areas and the bathrooms, should be inspected regularly and cleaned thoroughly. Consistent sanitation processes help reduce the spread of germs and ensures that every utensil or tool that comes in contact with food is sanitized correctly. Be sure to include the following items in your checklist:
- Waiting areas, tables, chairs, and menus are all wiped down and clean to the touch
- All kitchen equipment is cleaned regularly
- Food prep areas are wiped down and sanitized
- The water used for disinfecting and cleaning is at the optimal temperature for sanitation
- All utensils are cleaned between uses
- The concentration of sanitizing solution to water is optimized for best use
Garbage & Food Disposal
Restaurants throw away a lot of food. Unfortunately, this can lead to infestations and attract vermin if not handled correctly. Overflowing garbage cans and dumpsters can attract mice and rats, which can pose a severe health risk to consumers. Make sure you are addressing the way garbage and food is disposed of in your restaurant:
- Implement a realistic policy and schedule for disposing of waste and food
- Ensure all garbage bins have lids and covers
- Make sure garbage cans are cleaned regularly
- Check that the outside dumpster is organized, and no food or trash is on the ground that could attract rats, mice, or other creatures
- Check that the lid of the dumpster is always closed
The people who work in your restaurant play a vital role in the overall health and safety compliance of your restaurant. While you can't monitor every interaction that your staff has with the food they produce, putting strict policies in place regarding hygiene can help eliminate many of the most common health violations. Some non-negotiable items to include in your restaurant inspection checklist:
- All employees wash their hands before handling food and after using the bathroom
- Employees are required to keep their hair pulled back or wear hair nets when coming in contact with food
- Wounds are quickly treated and immediately bandaged to reduce the risk of contamination
- There are designated smoking areas and eating areas for employees that are separate from food prep areas and guest dining areas
- Employees are required to wear close-toed shoes, and their uniform must be clean
Try Device Magic for Free
Your success as a restaurant owner is heavily influenced by your continued compliance with health and safety regulations. Device Magic Mobile Forms can function as a restaurant inspection checklist app, allowing you to easily create a custom mobile checklist with a drag and drop interface. Your form can then be accessed from anywhere, even offline.