The Restaurant Manager’s Guide for Passing a Health Inspection

Health Inspector

Restaurant Manager’s Guide for Passing a Health Inspection

Passing a health inspection can be intimidating and seemingly impossible. But policies and procedures exist to help managers handle unexpected inspections. According to the 2009 FDA Food Code, employees have been taught how to monitor temperature, wash hands, and use gloves – but what else can a manager do?

It is essential that a manager accompany the inspector during an inspection. Every employee should be made aware when an inspector will arrive and must be alerted immediately. In order to guarantee an effective examination and corrective action taken by the inspector, having a manager present is mandatory.

Be assertive and proactive during a health inspection.

Managers must watch out for potential violations and coach employees to ensure they follow the correct procedures. These five areas are of utmost importance and need the utmost attention.

1) Hand Washing Instructions: If an employee needs to wash his hands during the inspection, make sure he knows immediately. Don’t wait for him to do it – it’s not a violation – just tell him!

2) Employee Food and Beverages: Discard any food or drinks found in the kitchen while an inspector is inspecting it. Even if an inspector does notice these items, he or she will encourage the employee to correct the problem before reaching out to management for assistance.

3) Gloves: Line cooks should wear gloves when handling food. Furthermore, make sure they wash their hands before applying gloves; kitchen workers often become anxious when an inspector arrives and put on gloves without washing first. Although these only need gloves for food handling tasks, it is essential that they wash their hands after donning the gloves.

4) Temperature Issues Add ice to warm food before discarding anything closer to 50degF. Inspectors may be concerned about food that’s too hot or cold and may request a return visit – sometimes at the expense of the restaurant.

5) Sanitation It is essential that these areas be checked immediately if not. Contact a professional if needed.

During a health inspection, the manager should advocate for his employees. This demonstrates that they understand the regulations and are working to guarantee adherence.

Make sure you are equipped with all necessary supplies.

Food code regulations can be complex and obscure, yet all essential. A new manager should address any critical violations promptly as these will lead to the restaurant losing its highest inspection score.


Restaurant managers should conduct a daily self-inspection and act as health inspectors, inspecting all areas. Check food unit temperatures; any issues should be corrected immediately. Conducting your own self-inspection allows you to understand and adhere to food code regulations more easily, increasing the odds of passing a real health inspection by correcting violations discovered during this exercise. Use a checklist like Respro’s for this purpose (click here for more info).

Control the Inspection

Managers manage restaurant operations by supervising employees and monitoring food quality. Why not apply this same process to health inspections too? With confidence, you’ll know exactly what’s happening during an inspection so there are no unpleasant surprises when it occurs and any issues can be promptly addressed.

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