Tips and Techniques for Surviving a Health Inspection
If you work in the foodservice industry, chances are good that you will face your first small business inspection. This can be nerve-wracking if it’s your first Health Inspection as Ray Walters of Walts Tavern shared his tips for passing inspections to help prepare you.
It Was a Difficult Start
Walters wasn’t expecting a health inspection when she knocked on his door. He recalls that the inspector entered his home for an informal visit because his front door had been left open. She caught Walters completely by surprise and revealed some startling findings to him. “She definitely got my attention,” Walters recalls of her visit.
Walters was given a lecture by the inspector about his bar’s exposed wood. At first, Walters thought this strange since no one would be eating directly from it, but soon realized he needed to know all the rules in order to avoid any trouble.
Learning About the System
Walters recalls, “After my initial inspection I knew I needed to prepare better.” To do so, Walters went straight to her local Department of Health which proved extremely helpful – they provided an inventory of all items needing attention before my next inspection. By then, things felt much more under control.” When an inspector came by shortly afterwards, Walters felt much more prepared.
Walters advises business owners to seek guidance from their health inspectors whenever there is an issue. Asking for assistance gives the inspector ownership of your problem, and they want you to succeed. When the inspector once wrote us up for having too dark a bathroom, I asked for their assistance and was suggested switching to a 50-watt bulb; which I did, and there was no issue during our next inspection.
Trouble spots may not always be what you expect.
Walters observed that small business inspections often cover more ground than one might anticipate. He was especially amazed by their attention to details like lighting in his restaurant and doors for bathrooms and trash areas. Walters exclaimed, “I’m amazed at their eye for detail – but when they ask me to do something, I make sure I take care.”
Inspection results are directly tied to the inspector.
Walters has not noticed any change in the standards for small business health inspections over time. However, he notes that inspectors’ roles can shift; four different inspectors have conducted these exams so far and each took their observations seriously. Walters suggests business owners learn their inspector’s patterns so it will be simpler to re-inspect them later on.
Don’t let fear and dread overwhelm you during a inspection. These tips can help you prepare for your next inspection.