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How to Pass a Restaurant Health Inspection: A Multi-Part Series

Updated on June 19, 2013

I will be sourcing my rules and guidelines from the sample inspection sheet below. This particular report is from the Alabama Department of Public Health, but should be largely similar to most states' own forms. Links to the individual articles are at the bottom of this post.

A sample inspection sheet from my home state.
A sample inspection sheet from my home state. | Source

Fear of the Inspection

When it comes time for a restaurant's health inspection many managers and owners are immediately filled with feelings of fear and anxiety. These feelings might stem from genuine problems in the restaurant, but more likely come from a sense of unpreparedness or lack of knowledge of the actual rules and regulations. If you have not prepared for this inspection by learning the rules and their practical implications you are setting yourself and your restaurant up for failure before the man with the clipboard ever steps in the front door. This series is meant to educate the reader on what is included in a health inspection, what the rules actually mean, and what you as restaurant manager or owner can do in order to get a perfect score on the wall and remove the fear.

Restaurant Culture

One thing to keep in mind throughout this series and when working in your restaurant is that the culture in your restaurant regarding Health and Safety is probably the number one indicator of the score on the wall. A mistake or technicality can drop you down to a 98, but systemic problems in a restaurant can quickly be identified by a trained professional. If your crew works with a clean and safe mindset it will reflect as much during your inspection. Simply putting on a show and brushing the dirt under the rug is dangerous for both your health score and the health of your business in the long run. If you would be ashamed for a customer eating your food to see the kitchen that it was cooked it it's time to take a good, long look at how you are running your business.


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