Use these pro tips to help you pass your next health inspection with flying colors.

The health inspector has just arrived for a surprise inspection of your kitchen and dining area, and the restaurant is super busy. You think to yourself, this is not a convinient time for me. But then again, it never is.

Are you prepared? Has your kitchen staff been properly trained? Does your facility meet ServSafe food safety guidelines?

Use these quick health inspection tips to Raise-The-Grade on your next health inspection and never worry about being unprepared for an inspection.

Get ServSafe Certified

  1. If you haven’t done so already, make sure you and anyone on your staff who is in a management or leadership position have passed the ServSafe Manager Certification exam.  This is item #1 on the inspection report and the inspector will not forget to ask about it.
  1. Also, the ServSafe Food Protection Manager class covers the areas in which the health inspector will check.  This will allow you to gain valuable perspective on how the health inspector approaches items of concern.
  1. Having the ability to ask questions directly to a food safety expert can give you great insight on specific items in the operation which may come up during an inspection.

Plan Ahead

  1. Most of the time we all have an idea of when the health inspector could arrive.  So, take the time to review your last, or last two, inspection reports.  It is guaranteed the health inspector will be doing the same and we should be on the same page when they arrive.  If there are items they marked to correct, make sure to point out during the inspection that these items have been corrected.
  1. Grab a flashlight, a thermometer, some alcohol swabs, your last inspection report, and conduct a self-inspection of your facility. The more you do this, the better “eye” you will have to spot things daily, instead of panicking just before the inspector arrives. For a self-inspection guidance document, CLICK HERE. (Scroll to find “Self-inspection guide)

Use Your Resources

  1. Have a copy of the North Carolina or South Carolina Food Code Manual in the restaurant for reference when needed. I find a lot of people in the food service industry do not realize that this document is available. Imagine if you could read exactly what the health inspector is reading regarding any rule or regulation on any item on the inspection report? This document is available to the public and you can download from our site HERE (scroll to FOOD SERVICE RULES AND REGS).  If you want a handheld published, spiral bound version just let us know, we sell them at cost for $20.
  1. Another great way to use the manual is as a food safety training tool. If you are coaching someone on a task you can open up the manual and show them exactly where it states what is required. Using the phrase, “This is what our health inspector is going to check and this is why it needs to be done this way,” can help to clarify to new staff members the importance of doing this task correctly.

Use your health inspector as a resource

  1. They can be a great help within your food service operation, however, a lot of people are intimidated to ask questions when the inspector is there. If you are unsure of why the inspector is asking about a certain issue, then ask them. They can be a wealth of knowledge if you just take the time to ask. Also, asking questions shows them you are engaged and are wanting to obtain a better understanding in order to improve your operation.
  1. Use Raise-The-Grade! As the largest ServSafe training group in the region, we are always happy to answer any questions you may have pertaining to the food safety rules and regulations. Please reach out to us anytime or browse our website resources at:


Using these tips can immediately make in impact on a health inspection score, and enhance the relationship with your health inspector. In addition to raising the sanitation score you can also look forward to increased morale, and possibly see an increase in sales. If you need more tips on guidance or tools specifically on training your staff, then reach out to us anytime. At Raise-The-Grade, we are happy to help!

Feel free to reach us anytime by phone at 844-704-FOOD (3663), or email us at

Do you have a general question about your health inspection?  CONTACT US HERE and we’ll be in touch right away.