How to ensure your commercial kitchen passes inspections

By: Grant King, HospitalityHub Writer
14 October, 2016

If you're ever seen the inspector episode of celebrated sitcom Fawlty Towers, you'll know how horribly wrong a kitchen inspection can go.

They're the bane of the restaurant industry, a source of untold stress, and a bad one can cost plenty; even lead to closure. Yet they're a necessary evil to ensure health and safety standards stay where they need to be and both staff and customers continue to emerge from your establishment no worse for wear. So how do you make sure your kitchen always passes muster?

Dwell on the past

What was your last kitchen inspection like? And the one before that. And the one before that. By analysing the good and bad of your previous inspections you can see where your kitchen is performing well and, most importantly, where it's been a serially bad performer. Are there areas for improvement that haven't improved? Are there areas that have gone backwards? Ask yourself these questions because you can bet the inspector will ask them and the answers may land you in strife. Enhance your strengths and correct your weaknesses.  

Surprise yourself

Play kitchen inspector with your own kitchen. Don't warn anyone that it's happening; just jump in unannounced and play the role of inspector with your own staff and facilities. Do it regularly yet randomly so no one knows when it's happening; they just know it's coming. Be as harsh and pedantic as you can, highlight all the areas that need fixed and fix them. The more you make such self-imposed scrutinies part of your routine, the more you'll keep your staff on their toes and your kitchen up to real inspection speed.

Train and retrain

You can't expect inspections to go well if the people tasked with maintaining standards aren't skilled in health and safety. Correct food handling, proper food storage, effective sanitation, constant maintenance of exhaust hoods; all these things and more are critical to keeping your kitchen up to scratch.