How To Prevent Health Code Violations In Your Restaurant Business

Running a successful food business involves several moving parts, including ensuring compliance. It requires meticulous attention to detail, especially regarding health codes in the operating country. Failure to do this often results in penalties, hefty fines, reputation damage, and, worse of all, indefinite business closure. This step is even more vital as research reveals that 600 million people fall ill annually after consuming contaminated food. Fortunately, you can position your business to be different from others and safeguard the health and safety of your workers and consumers. Below are seven comprehensive strategies to prevent health code violations in your restaurant business.

restaurant business
  1. Regular staff training and education

Sanitation procedures are significant requirements in your food business, and until your employees are trained in that regard, you risk running into problems. Your staff must be educated on food safety practices, health code regulations, and sanitation processes. You can achieve this through periodic staff training and education on cleaning techniques, food storage protocols, and proper food handling, among many other topics. Admittedly, the topics to cover are extensive and may be too much for employees to get the hang of within a short period. Therefore, the best way to handle this is by scheduling quarterly training sessions where selected topics are treated. Make these sessions interactive and interesting by including role-playing scenarios, quizzes, and other creative additions to enhance employee engagement. Research has revealed that many complex topics taught with role-playing scenarios reinforce the understanding of critical concepts. It would help to invest in informational posters and training manuals to act as visible and constant reminders for existing staff. Training manuals will also prove useful for new hires who join your restaurant business. Aside from these periodic staff training sessions, quick references in the form of informational posters and manuals are helpful to staff. Remember that continuous learning encourages faster assimilation and motivates staff to become more vigilant, leading to a decrease in health inspection violations.

  1. Impeccable personal hygiene

The reason personal hygiene is non-negotiable in this setting is because pathogens and contaminants spread easily in food environments. Your direct food handlers can contaminate food by handling meals with unwashed hands, dirty nails, unclean clothing, unkempt hair, and so on. It’s best to invest in handwashing stations equipped with soap, disposable towels, and warm water. As a restaurant operator or the owner, you have a responsibility to emphasize the importance of proper self-grooming and the frequent use of protective gear like gloves and hair nets. Even with proper gear, the slightest hygiene oversight can make them contaminants. That explains why the global food industry continues to highlight the importance of disposal gear like aprons and hair nets. If you’re worried about the cost of constantly purchasing disposable gear, you can consider other options, like washable gear. However, you must ensure your staff handles these well through practices such as cleaning them with mild detergent and hot water. Doing so will help eliminate many harmful pathogens and reduce the likelihood of cross-contamination while preparing meals. 

  1. Have valid food handler cards

This step is a legal requirement for food operators in many jurisdictions worldwide. These cards prove that you and your workers have undergone the requisite training in basic food safety principles. It also shows that your business is committed to proper food handling practices, as can be seen in any restaurant worth its salt. Having a food handlers card is a crucial way to show compliance with health code regulations. It helps you keep your restaurant from being flagged down for unsanitary conditions and, even worse, failing to apply for this high-priority certification.

Health code violations are serious issues in the food industry, which is why staying on the good side of the law is beneficial for business. Moreover, as an entrepreneur, there is no argument about instilling confidence in your customers. They are the lifeblood of your business, and losing them is equal to a collapsed food enterprise. Remember that the food business industry is highly competitive, and the slightest oversights can kick operations to the curb. Failing to have a valid food handlers card must not be an oversight that could cause your clients and any other relevant stakeholders to question your credibility. Therefore, ensure you get one as soon as possible to inspire confidence in your customers and also prove your restaurant is compliant. 

  1. Establish thorough cleaning and sanitisation protocols

One challenge that many commercial kitchens face is the rapid build-up of harmful bacteria when there are no scheduled cleaning protocols. That is why implementing a comprehensive cleaning schedule is crucial, as it can keep many of these pathogens at bay. A comprehensive cleaning schedule must outline specific tasks, frequencies, and designated cleaning staff. If you can afford to hire extra employees, make it a point to clearly split their duties. Your cooking staff should focus only on meal preparation while the cleaning group does what they were hired for. However, that does not mean the cooking team has no cleaning responsibilities. A concerted cleaning effort will reduce the risk of cross-contamination and foodborne disease outbreaks. Extensive cleaning involves a lot of steps. That includes frequent cleaning of countertops, kitchen tools, and floors and proper commercial kitchen waste management methods. You can never go wrong with a stringent cleaning regimen in a food business. Daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning schedules must be thorough and, more importantly, should pass health inspections without any red flags. Besides, your entire food brand reputation dwells on a high-level commitment to consistently excellent sanitary conditions.

  1. Ensure regular equipment maintenance

Restaurants make use of refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, ovens, and a long list of kitchen and cooking appliances. The proper functioning of these appliances can reduce health and safety risks that often plague poorly managed food businesses. A malfunctioning kitchen appliance or equipment can compromise food safety and risk health code violations. Take the commercial refrigeration unit, for instance, where lots of food items, ingredients, and other raw items are safely stored. Many of these items must be kept in strictly regulated freezing temperatures to prevent bacteria growth. However, a malfunction compromises ideal freezing temperatures and increases the risk of health code violations. In effect, breakdowns are inevitable, but your commitment to proactive maintenance activities will spare you the inconvenience associated with such incidents. Ensure that all your equipment functions as they should and interruptions are detected in time. You can opt for quarterly maintenance checks and repairs, and as part of record purposes, keep the receipts as proof of maintenance during health inspections.

restaurant business
  1. Regular inspections and audits

Compliance with food and health code regulations should be the first thing on your mind as a restaurant operator. It’s prudent to take this seriously if you don’t want to run into problems with the law. It will prove helpful to call for regular inspections and safety audits of your restaurant or food business. That is because calling for these audits and inspections helps to keep you on your toes. It’s even better to have a checklist of inspection areas, so you know what to do with them. For example, facility maintenance, sanitation, and food handling methods, among others, are top on the inspector’s list. It would help to keep a detailed record of inspection findings to enable you to implement corrective measures that will keep your business out of trouble at the next inspection or audit. There is nothing better than knowing that your restaurant is a safe, clean, and secure place for patrons to experience a positive dining experience. Keep in mind, however, that many times, inspections and audits are not announced. In other words, you won’t be given prior notice on the exact date the inspectors show up. Therefore, the best you can do is to maintain a clean restaurant environment at all times and be well-prepared.

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  1.  Establish pest control measures

Pests are more likely to invade any space where there is food. These unwelcome guests are opportunistic disease-carrying creatures who can significantly impact your food business. Therefore, it’s advisable to do all you can to keep pests such as rodents, insects, and flies from your restaurant kitchen and pantry. Conduct regular inspections to identify a possible infestation in your restaurant. It’s better to work with a professional pest control company with the requisite skills to detect and offer a comprehensive elimination plan. Also, remember that your pest control measures may not be the same as the next restaurant, which explains why a plan tailored to your specific needs is best. For example, if you run a waterfront restaurant, your challenges with birds scavenging for food scraps will be sharply different from those closer to large vegetation. The latter usually will take steps against raccoons and rodents. 

Again, no matter the kind of restaurant you run, regularly cleaning your outdoor spaces will be helpful. Your waste bins or trash cans must be well-secured and not easily toppled over by severe weather conditions, stray dogs and cats, and raccoons. Patrons deserve a secure, safe, clean, and pleasant dining experience, and your effective pest control measures can ensure that.


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