Four Practices Restaurant Managers Can Do to Prepare for Surprise Food Inspections

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Suprise! Food Inspection

Surprise food inspections are the epitome of a restaurant manager’s worst nightmare.

This is usually make-it or break-it time. If you aren’t adequately prepared then it is usually the latter.

Imagine the consequences. Failing grades about your restaurant’s food safety program posted at the entrance for all customers to see when they visit.

Fines Or Violations

Major fines or violations costing you tens of thousands of dollars. Or even worse, the shutdown of your restaurant.

Of course, there is the well-being of your customers. Improper food handling and food safety practices can lead to tainted dishes that are contaminated with any number of potentially lethal pathogens.


Micro-organisms like Salmonella, Listeria, and E.coli are a just a few of the food-borne illnesses that can send your patrons running to the nearest Emergency Department.
The risks aren’t worth it.

As a restaurant manager, you have a commitment to the future of your establishment as well as to the health of your customers.

The key is to maintain high standards of cleanliness and food safety at all times. Not just to pass the random food inspections but also to ensure your patrons have a safe, nourishing place to eat.

Have a Food Safety Supervisor on Staff

Under the Queensland government as well as many of the other territories in Australia, food establishments are required to have a Food Safety Supervisor on staff and available at all times of operation.

Ensuring Food Safety

The Food Safety Supervisor takes a lead role in ensuring food safety within the restaurant.

This can involve preventing, recognizing, and relieving food safety hazards as well as offering guidance on proper food handling and food safety issues to the staff.

Safety Trained

Food safety training is required for this role and the appropriate certification should be easily accessible and available on the premises.

Employee Training

It is the responsibility of the restaurant to ensure that all food handlers do not contaminate food with poor hygiene and food safety practices.

Education is key here and training the staff with the knowledge and skills for proper food safety practices is paramount.

Although formal training is not required for food handlers, it is strongly recommended.

This training can involve providing reading materials on food safety, creating in-house training by the Food Safety Supervisor, or sending them to external food safety courses in the area.


Daily self-inspections of your restaurant can go a long way in ensuring that food safety practices are being maintained by all staff.

Talk a walk through the restaurant every day and see through the eyes of the health inspector.

Are you maintaining food safety standards?

Are there any violations that need to be remedied? Be ruthless and thorough.

Make sure that you DO resolve any problems that arise during these inspections.

These corrective action steps are crucial to the long-term success of your restaurant.

Regular Cleaning & Maintenance Schedules

Maintaining your restaurant’s high level of cleanliness and food safety standards requires some effort on your part.

Regularly schedule in routine cleaning to ensure that this thorough, deep cleaning gets done on a regular basis.

Daily Tasks

For example, daily tasks could involve sweeping and mopping of all floors, and cleaning counters and shelving units. Internal fan guards, grill vents above grills, and defrosting the ice cream freezer could be the focus of your weekly cleaning routine.

Cleaning Schedules

Monthly and quarterly cleaning schedules can also be added as well to maintain those often neglected areas and equipment.

Furthermore, HVAC equipment, refrigerators, dumbwaiters, and mechanical equipment in the kitchen are a just a few examples that need to be regularly maintained to ensure efficient and safe operation within the restaurant.

Maintaining High Levels Of Food Safety

Although surprise food inspections can be intimidating, maintaining high levels of food safety should take away some of this fear.

If you are ready at all times, not only will you pass the food inspection with flying colors but you will also ensure a safe eating establishment that customers will want to come back to again and again.


A Restaurant Manager’s Guide to Passing a Health Inspection

10 Tips to Get a Pass from the Health Inspector

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