If you operate a restaurant, a health code violation is your worst nightmare — but it isn’t the end of the world. How you respond can make all the difference. With a quick, decisive, and informed action plan, you can limit the damage and position your restaurant for recovery.
At Jan-Pro®, our restaurant cleaning experts know how essential health code compliance can be and what it takes to recover from a health code violation. Below, we’ve outlined the immediate steps restaurant owners can take to respond to a citation from their local health inspector.
Work With, Not Against, Your Inspector
Many restaurant owners have a combative mindset when it comes to their local health inspector. It’s upsetting that one person holds so much power over your business, and sometimes it can feel like inspectors are actively trying to shutter your restaurant. This leads to a standoffish approach between restaurant owners and local inspectors.
But in the event of a health code violation, a combative approach is the wrong road to take. Instead, a friendly and open approach will give you the best chance to respond. Ask questions, try to understand the inspector’s position, and be polite if you need to challenge any findings. Often, small citations are dismissed if the issue can be corrected while the inspector is on site.
Take Time to Review the Health Code Violation
You can only fix an issue if you understand what led to the problem. While some health code violations are easy to understand, it can take work to pinpoint the root issue for others. The design of your kitchen, poor employee practices, or hidden pest vulnerabilities can all lead to violations.
If you have the resources, one step you can take is to hire a professional consultant. In major cities, there are usually a number of consultants who are experienced with health code violations. These consultants can not only help you remedy the issue but also put an action plan in place to minimize damage to your reputation and business.
Correct Violations Quickly & Decisively
You should never respond to a health code violation with half-measures. Resist the “good enough, fingers crossed” urge to cut corners. If your violation is for pests or rodents, do your research on local pest control companies to find one you can trust to remedy the issue. If your restaurant requires new equipment, make sure it’s installed promptly and professionally.
While most people associate pests with health code violations, poor storage or cleaning practices are at the root of most citations. At Jan-Pro®, our restaurant cleaning teams are often brought in to improve on cleaning practices and avoid future health code violations. Whether your cleanings are performed by in-house staff or an outside vendor, it’s important to consider what steps need to be taken in order to improve performance.
For a free restaurant cleaning estimate from your local JAN-PRO®, call 866-355-1064 today.