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How to prepare for a restaurant inspection

5 Essential Tips to Prepare for a Commercial Kitchen Inspection

Restaurant Health, Safety & Reputation Relies On Your Next Inspection!

Commercial kitchen inspections are, understandably, a pretty big deal. The commercial kitchen environment lends itself to creating an ideal environment for kitchen fires if not maintained properly. Between 2010 and 2014, US fire departments responded to an estimated average of 7410 structure fires per year in eating and drinking establishments. These fires caused average annual losses of three civilian deaths, 110 civilian injuries, and $165 million in direct property damage each year.  Three out of five (61%) of these fires involved cooking equipment.* With these numbers in mind, it’s easy to see why inspections are so important for kitchens in universities, hospitals, schools and hospitals.

Here are 5 essential tips to prepare for a commercial kitchen inspection:

1. Regulations

Know what the regulations are! The U. S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) publishes a document called the FDA Food Code. This document is released every four years, the most recent being published in 2017. From the FDA website:

“The U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) publishes the Food Code, a model that assists food control jurisdictions at all levels of government by providing them with a scientifically sound technical and legal basis for regulating the retail and food service segment of the industry (restaurants and grocery stores and institutions such as nursing homes). Local, state, tribal, and federal regulators use the FDA Food Code as a model to develop or update their own food safety rules and to be consistent with national food regulatory policy.”

Guidelines outlined in this document are basically best practices for commercial kitchens.

2. Consistent Cleanliness Standards

The best way to maintain a healthy work setting is to get it clean and keep it clean. There are a host of tasks that need to be completed daily… sometimes hourly…in a busy commercial kitchen. Develop and maintain a cleaning checklist that is regularly updated.  From wiping down and sanitizing appliance surfaces,  to cleaning ice chests, garbage cans, sinks, faucets, floors and freezers, risk factor reduction begins with your staff. There are also tasks that are best left to the kitchen cleaning professionals to be handled on a scheduled regular basis. Our team of professionals can meet with you to determine your exact needs and ensure you meet the standards set out by your local, state, and federal health and safety regulations. Some areas of need may include thorough cleaning of walk-in coolers and freezers, Outside garbage dumpsters, ceiling fans and lighting, And professional cleaning of exhaust hoods and systems.

3. Be Prepared. Always.

Inspections can happen at any time.  Check out these “9 Tips to Prepare for A Health Inspection” by Most of these tips are as relevant to commercial kitchen managers as they are for retail dining establishments.

4. Professional commercial kitchen exhaust cleaning

One of the most critical tasks for maintaining a clean air quality and reduce fire hazards is an HVAC or kitchen exhaust cleaning. Every commercial or industrial kitchen should have some sort of grease management system. The only real way to ensure ongoing performance and safety is by performing a bare-metal cleaning. Our company has been a leader in commercial kitchen exhaust cleaning since 1989. (See our summary on a kitchen cleaning project we completed for the Albany Marriott in Albany NY)  No matter how diligent or thorough your kitchen staff may be, they do not have the equipment or the skills to complete a bare-metal cleaning, the highest industry standard for reducing fire and contamination risk.

5. Rely on the Professionals!

As a certified kitchen exhaust cleaning contractor, we always make sure to:
  • Go beyond simply cleaning your kitchen’s exhaust hood. A complete cleaning for grease management covers every inch of the restaurant exhaust system, from the hood all the way to the roof fan.
  • Leave nothing behind but bare metal. We comply with NFPA-96 standards that state only a bare metal cleaning can effectively reduce the risk of fire.
  • Provide you with a full service report and leave behind a Certificate of Performance so you remain compliant.
Contact Performance Industrial online for more information on how we can help you be prepared for your next kitchen inspection, or call us directly at (518) 793.9274. Visit our blog to learn more about all of our commercial and industrial cleaning capabilities. Our motto? Dirty. Difficult. Done. *These estimates are based on data from the U.S. Fire Administration’s (USFA’s) National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) and the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA’s) annual fire department experience survey.    

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