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Health Grades and Your Reputation

food-safetyDo you feel chills down your spine when the Health Inspector calls? Is it because you know that there are things that need fixing that you just haven’t gotten around to or corners that you regularly cut just to save a few minutes. Getting a somewhat less than (let’s face it) A Grade on your report does not simply mean that you’ll get it right the next time or that it’s just a slap on the wrist. In this day & age of Social Media you are held accountable by more than a Health Inspector posting a grade on your door doing their job for public health.

Word of mouth spreads like rapid wildfire. I belong to a Social Media Group that has roughly 6,000 local residents in it. A member posted an article written by the local Journal (which was probably initially missed by most) about restaurants/bars/cafe’s/C-Stores in the area that have had health code violations within the passed 3 years. That’s right, 3 years. The  article listed roughly 20 establishments and all of their infractions. For the last 3 years! In a previous day and age this article might have gotten a small amount of attention but now that EVERYTHING has become digital things spread quick and at a large scale.

This article received a grandiose amount of attention (all of which was negative) and was re-posted to people outside of the group. If 20% of the people in the group looked at the post and of that 20% half of those people share the article and half of those people and so on and so on…who are all local current or potential customers to the listed establishments are reading this horrible article forming bad opinions. And we are not even talking about the traditional word of mouth! What happens to current or future clientele? Would you want to go somewhere if there is a possibility of getting sick?

In return, these restaurants will suffer and suffer at a large scale for something that they thought wasn’t a big deal. They might have not wanted to replace their damaged cooler door gaskets just yet or thought that they could get by when their thermostat wasn’t temping. Some of these easy fixes don’t even cost money like labeling food properly! Do not let your cafe’, hotel, bar, CSR, restaurant, or even taco truck fail! Be vigilant on keeping your establishment in good standing. Perception is reality. It is nearly impossible to recover from a generalized bad perception of a establishment.

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Being Up To Code – A Restaurants Guide To Health Codes

All food service establishments are subject to local, state, & federal food codes. These are put into place to protect patrons from contracting a food-borne illness. The county health department has specific regulations for all areas of a food service facility.

Be In The Know – Regulated Areas Of Commercial Kitchens Include:

Restaurant Inspections – A Restaurant must pass a health inspection BEFORE it opens. Restaurants that are currently open usually are inspected 2x a year. If a restaurant is in violation, it might be subject to additional inspections.

Contact your county Health Inspectors for the most up to date Health Codes (they also vary from State to State).

Permits Are Required – New restaurants must obtain a permit from the local Health Authority. This verifies that your food service establishment is in compliance with the Local, State, & Federal authorities.

Food – Storage,Handling, & Preparation – There are specific Health Guidelines for handling food. For Example: When gloves are and are not mandatory. It is a good idea to set up meetings with food handlers to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Keeping It Clean – Local health codes stipulate how frequently equipment and food contact surfaces should be cleaned & which cleaners are acceptable. For example: A pan that is used to carry raw meat to the grill must be cleaned and sanitized before any prepared foods can be placed in it.

Hygiene
– Employees must be clean. This also means well groomed and healthy. Send sick employees home. Make sure there are proper hand washing stations in all areas.

Disabilities
– All food service facilities must be equipt to handle patrons with disabilities.The ADA has regulations regarding handicapped accessibility to both the restaurant & its facilities.

Keeping Your Refrigeration Gaskets in Good Condition

This is not an option!

Besides the obvious violations with your health inspectors, there are many reasons restaurants, health care facilities, hotels, hospitals and so on have to keep your #coolergaskets in good condition. It is vital to replace damaged and missing gaskets.

Without refrigeration gaskets working their magic, the cold environment inside your equipment that you’ve worked so hard to cultivate, starts to escape. This makes it hard to accurately gauge the temperature inside a unit, which is why it’s extremely important to ensure all your gaskets are sealing properly and aren’t torn or broken. Gaskets are the little cushions that seal everything in, and in most cases they give you a really satisfying “thwump” that lets you know your door has closed completely. They’re easy to replace, invaluable in your commercial kitchen (no matter the size), and you can’t go wrong keeping a few extra gaskets on hand for when you need them most.

If health inspector violations and the cold inside your cooler isn’t enough to convince you to replace damaged and missing gaskets think about money. The money you are wasting by your unit working harder to keep its cool. You are increasing your utility bill by double digits each month! How about the money that it will cost you to replace/repair your commercial refrigeration unit because it has been overworked trying to keep the cold and has broken drown?

Remember you are not trying to keep the cold air in your commercial freezer or cooler…you are trying to keep the hot kitchen air out!!!

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