• The Benefit of Comment Cards

    It's common knowledge that the economy hurt businesses of all kinds, particularly the restaurant industry. Going out to eat or out for drinks is a luxury that most of us had taken for granted until we became short on money. Some restaurants however, managed to stay afloat during tough economical times. Their key strategy? Stay in touch with the clientele. The easiest way to keep guests coming back (even when money is tight) is by making them happy and letting them know that your management or corporate team is listening. How do you do that? Easy - comment cards. There are a number of things you should be asking your guests when they visit you and once they leave. Guests that have a great time in your restaurant love giving reviews, but guests that had a terrible time love it even more. The goal is to make everyone happy and to get guests to come back. Here are a few things you should be keeping track of on a regular basis.

    Wait Time

    This is absolutely crucial to how well your venue does. Wait time in the valet loop, on the phone for to-go orders, at the host stand, in the bar, and at the table should be minimal. Nothing annoys a hungry guest more than waiting longer than necessary, especially when it's very obvious that it could be prevented. - Questions to ask: Would you like the first available table (smoking or non)? Would you like to sit in the bar area (if seating is first come, first serve)? Would you like your soup/salad out first or with the meal? Are you going to want another glass of ____ with your entrée?

    Greetings

    It's not uncommon that some of your staff won't want to work on a Friday or Saturday night, but their expression and tone shouldn't advertise that. Making sure that your staff understands that guests can read even the smallest gestures will likely make them more aware of their interactions with guests, and they will ultimately make more money for themselves and your venue. - Questions to ask: Is there anything I can get you while you're waiting? Would you like a chair while you wait? Would you like a menu to look at until your table is ready?

    Bar Service

    If you're fortunate enough to have a busy venue, then you're already doing something right. However, making sure that your bar staff works quickly and efficiently will help to guarantee continued business. Guests are easily annoyed if they don't get a drink fast enough or if their bill isn't presented to them before their table is ready. - Questions to ask: Are you going to be having any more beverages at the bar? Were you satisfied with your drink selection? Can I suggest a beverage to go with your meal?

    Cleanliness

    Guests want to dine in a fashion where they feel like they are being taken care, and that doesn't mean they just want quick service. Making sure their dining area is clear of clutter, spot-free, and organized can make their experience more memorable. Just make sure not to neglect other parts of your restaurant, such as the waiting area and restroom. These are the first and last two places that most people see in your venue and you would be surprised at what an impact the cleanliness of these two areas can have on your guests' experience. - Questions to ask: How would you rate the organization and cleanliness of the restaurant? How was the presentation of our venue?

    Manager Presence

    Other than fixing mistakes as soon as they happen, a manager should make an appearance at the table almost immediately and preferably with a great solution. However, managers shouldn't only make themselves available when there's a problem. The more often a good manager communicates with his or her guests, the more likely those guests are to return and give a good review. - Questions to ask: Would you like to let the manager know about your great experience? How often do you dine with us? Would you like for me to have my manager come over with a customer appreciation coupon?

    More questions to consider:

    - How would you rate your...appetizer? Beverage/alcoholic beverage? Salad or soup? Entrée? Dessert? Overall meal? Assistance in selecting menu items? - What was your favorite food item? - How was the overall presentation of the food? - What was your favorite part of your experience? - Would you recommend us to others? - How can we improve our business/service? - Do you plan to return? For more information about restaurant management, foodservice industry tips, or questions about our products please feel free to email us at: info@missionrs.com laurenb@missionrs.com
  • Cocina de las Americas: 2010 Paella Cook-Off

    Paella Mission Restaurant Supply is a proud sponsor of Cocina de las Americas: 2010 Paella Cook-off Presented by H-E-B. This event is a charity event and proceeds will go toward scholarships for culinary students at CIA San Antonio.

    What to Look Forward To

    Chefs from all over the country and Latin America will be participating in an "Iron Chef" style competition at the Pearl Brewery on March 14, 2010.
    "I'm honored that my friends and fellow chefs from around the country and Latin America will join me in bringing a level of culinary prestige to San Antonio and highlight not only its rich culinary landscape but the CIA's newest campus," said Chef Johnny, executive chef of True Flavors. "...one of my goals has been to develop a culinary event that will benefit aspiring local chefs who face touch social and economic hardships." Chef Johnny
    Guests at the event will get to try the famous Spanish dish of paella, as well as hams and cheeses from Spain, delicious wines, and a number of different tapas that will be made by San Antonio chefs and CIA San Antonio students. Those in attendance will also be able to enjoy live music and entertainment during the event.

    Ticket Sales

    Tickets for the event will be sold online for $40 (21+) and $20 (21 and under). Tickets will also be sold at the door for $50 each.

    Chefs Competing in Cook-Off

    Local chefs that will be competing: - Bruce Auden (Auden's Kitchen & Biga on the Banks) - James Sanchez (Acenar) - Jason Dady (Bin 555) - Andrew Weissman (il Sogno) - Josh Cross (Oloroso) - Renee Fernandez (Azuca) Other chefs that will be competing: - Roberto Santibanez (Truly Mexican, NYC) - Waldy Malouf (Beacon Restaurant, NYC) - Rick Moonen (Mandalay Bay, NV) - Jhojans Priego (Villarica, Veracruz, MX) - Ben Ford (Fords Filling Station, LA) - Jeffery Axell (Grand Hyatt, TX) - Smoky Waters (Taco Cabana, TX) - Brian West (Las Ramblas, TX) - Jeff Balfour (Hotel Valencia, TX) For directions to the Pearl Brewery, look here: http://www.pearlbrewery.com/pages/location.html For more information about CIA San Antonio: http://www.ciachef.edu/sanantonio/ For more information on the event email us at: info@missionrs.com laurenb@missionrs.com Hope to see you there! Come support the culinary community and students of San Antonio! What: 2010 Paella Cook-Off Presented by H-E-B When: March 14, 2010, 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Where: Pearl Brewery Price: $40 (21+ presale), $20 (21 and under presale), & $50/person at the door
  • Equipment for the Avid Entertainer

    Hosting events at your home is a great deal of fun, but it can also be much more stressful than you imagined. As long as you're prepared with the right kitchen and catering equipment (and perhaps some assistance) you will be able to effortlessly entertain your guests.
    Polar Ware T8971A - Serving Tray, Hammered Stainless Steel Serving Tray Make Sure You Have the BasicsMost of us already have the basic supplies needed to host a party, but there's always something that we seem to forget. It's likely that you already have serving spoons, forks, and platters, but have you ever thought about getting tongs and nicer trays for presentation? Purchasing dressier serving utensils and platters is an inexpensive way to take your party up a notch. Also make sure that you have a blender for frozen drinks (either alcoholic or non-alcoholic) and a crock pot or roaster for preparing slow-cooked, easy meals.
    Sitting Down for a MealNothing is worse than not having matching dinnerware, flatware or glassware at a dinner party. Purchasing dinnerware for a large gathering can get pricey, but the good thing is that you can reuse your plates and silverware for years to come and you can even sell some of it if you feel like you don't need it anymore. At Mission Restaurant Supply, we have more than ten different color options for our dinnerware and numerous sizes, shapes, and prices. Don't forget to make sure that your glassware is fitted for the occasion as well. Look into purchasing numerous beverage glasses and wine glasses, and maybe consider stocking champagne glasses for special occasions. If you want to save a little money, you can even purchase plastic glasses and plates.
    Thunder Group SLRCF0833GH - Rectangular Chafing Dish Keeping It Hot & FreshGuests will usually want another helping of your food, especially if you're a great cook, and they should be welcome to it! Making sure that the food stays hot and fresh can be tricky if you don't have numerous crock pots or oven space. An easy solution to this problem is to provide chafing dishes so that the quality of your food is just as impressive as when it was first prepared. Chafing dishes are extremely easy to use and clean. All you have to do is fill it with the bottom of the dish with warm water, light a chafer candle (or fuel cell) below it, and place your pans of food into the chafing dish.
    Buffet Enhancements Inc. 1BACF35 - Chocolate Fondue Fountain If You Insist...If you want the best entertainment for your guests, then you definitely need to check out some of these cool items:
    1. Margarita machine: one of the hottest commodities at blow-out bashes. They come in a number of different sizes and they are super easy to clean.
    2. Popcorn machine: these are great for kids or themed parties. Providing a popcorn machine is a simple way to add a little flair to any event.
    3. Chocolate fountain: an incredible addition to special events that adds another little touch of class.
    Did You Know That at Mission Restaurant Supply...?
    1. Serving spoons can either be perforated or non-perforated, plastic or stainless steel.
    2. Platters come in more than 10 different colors and numerous different sizes.
    3. Tongs come in more than 10 different colors and styles.
    For more information on necessary kitchen equipment, quotes, consultation, or design ideas, please don't be afraid to contact us! Toll free at - 1(800)319-0690 info@missionrs.com laurenb@missionrs.com
       
  • Purchasing Equipment Based on Your Menu

    For new business owners, specifically restaurant owners, purchasing the right equipment can be pretty overwhelming. Even those with excessive funds seem to have a hard time knowing where to begin if they don't consult with a professional first. The common misconception is that all restaurants have the same equipment, but prepare different foods. This couldn't be more wrong. Here's a simple guide to purchasing commercial restaurant equipment and supplies for your new business.

    Southbend Range 360DD-2RR Commercial Range

    Figure Out Your Budget

    There's no point in coming up with a list of supplies before knowing what your budget for supplies is. New business owners often look at their total budget and don't break it up for different purposes: land/property, licenses, equipment, smallwares, décor, contractors, employees, furniture, landscaping, taxes, utilities, and the list goes on. Make very specific budgets and figure out where you can spend your money. This way you know whether you should buy a $4,000 commercial range or a $1,300 range.

    Turbo Air SAKURA-50 - Sushi Sushi Case

    Figure Out Your Menu

    Venues that prepare fried foods and those that prepare sushi are going to have completely different equipment. The venue that serves fried foods will need multiple freezers and fryers, but the sushi restaurant will needs refrigerated sushi display cases and undercounter fridges. The first business will need to purchase food baskets and ramekins, and the latter will need chopsticks, soy sauce bottles, and very specific dinnerware.

    Ask Your Chef

    The most knowledgeable people in the foodservice industry are chefs. They know everything about food, equipment, brands, staffing, schedules, and the like. Your best bet would be to consult with your executive chef before making any big purchases for your business. They can help you decide the layout of your kitchen based on efficiency, outlet localities, and sanitary purposes. If your restaurant or your supplies don't meet local standards, they will let you know.

    Must-Have Kitchen Equipment

    For more information on necessary kitchen equipment, quotes, consultation, or design ideas, please don't be afraid to contact us! Toll free at - 1(800)319-0690 info@missionrs.com laurenb@missionrs.com
  • Microwave Buying Guide

    At Mission Restaurant Supply, we're always bringing you new products from all of the most recommended brands. Our new line of Panasonic Commercial Microwaves has us pretty excited though. Panasonic delivers great quality, dependability, and warranties with their products. Mission Restaurant Supply stocks several different varieties of commercial microwaves and we're here to assist you with your purchase should you have any questions. Here are a few steps to figure out which microwave you should purchase for your home or business. Step 1: Determine the microwave's purpose. Why are you purchasing a commercial microwave? Is it for a restaurant or other commercial venue, or for home use? Even if you need a microwave for your home, commercial microwaves are the way to go. They usually have a larger capacity and are more high-powered than standard models. Because there are so many different sizes and varieties of microwaves, you need to figure out how much traffic will be in your kitchen. If you purchase one for your home, you may want something that has memory buttons on it. For commercial use, you might want something with a dial so that employees can quickly and easily set the time without having to search for a specific button. Step 2: Determine the microwave's future location. Where do you plan on putting your microwave? As mentioned before, commercial microwaves come in a variety of sizes and you have to figure out how much space you will need to make for one. If you plan on mounting the microwave, you'll also need to invest in a specialized shelf for it. For commercial use, you probably need to place it in a high traffic area so that your employees have easy access to it. Placing it right inside the kitchen door or near your beverage station is usually the best option. Step 3: Decide what features you want the microwave to have. For high volume usage, commercial models with a dial are usually the most convenient for employees. Microwaves tend to take a beating in restaurants, but fortunately Panasonic has made strong, long-lasting models to withstand the constant usage. For home use, consider purchasing a microwave that has specific buttons and memory capabilities. You may even want one that comes with removable shelves so that you can heat more than one or two items at a time. Step 4: Research your warranty options. Most shoppers don't consider manufacturer warranties unless they are buying large appliances. The good news is that Panasonic offers warranties on select commercial microwaves that are good for parts and labor. You can be rest assured that your microwave purchase will be easy and risk-free. (Bonus) Step 5: Shop at Mission Restaurant Supply for the LOWEST prices on microwaves! Here's what some of our customers had to say about their Panasonic purchases: *****That's the way they all should be! Reviewer: Chuck (Port Hadlock, WA) "You don't need to be a programmer to run this thing. No computer here, just a timer the way they used to make them." (model #NE-1024) *****Great microwave for our office Reviewer: John (Scottsdale, Arizona) "I've been very satisfied with this commercial microwave. I thought about buying a regular one, but then realized this was the better option because of the heavy traffic in our office." (model #NE-1054) *****What a deal! Reviewer: Jeff (San Diego, CA) "I bought one of these microwaves for my diner and I can't believe how inexpensive it was. I've searched all over the internet and haven't come across a better price. It's extremely easy for my staff to use and I haven't had any trouble with it." (model #NE-1024) For more information about products or warranties, please feel free to contact us! 1(800)319-0690 - toll free info@missionrs.com
  • CPS & PG&E

    Mission Restaurant Supply is now offering a $50 instant rebate to all customers who purchase select ENERGY STAR commercial appliances on top of the account credit that customers will receive from CPS Energy. We were very happy to hear that other companies in our area, and across the country, are taking the initiative to become more green in their business practices. Don't worry, if you aren't with CPS Energy we'll still work with you to find a company in your area that is offering a rebate or discount on your energy bills if you buy one of our thousands of Energy Star appliances. PG&E and EcoRebates are just a couple more places to check for great deals and energy bill savings. They work with companies like Mission Restaurant Supply to ensure that you purchase quality equipment that complies with energy saving regulations. Let us help you today! By the way, did you know that $300 million has been allocated to regions across the country so that our citizens will be paid back for making smart appliance purchases? The Cash for Refrigerators program doesn't start in Texas until 2010, but account credits from energy companies and rebates from Mission Restaurant Supply are already available! Additional Information - All applications for the CPS Energy account credit must be completed within 30 days of installation. - Promotion applies to electric appliances ONLY. - Offer only open to CPS Energy customers. Please allow up to 8-10 weeks for account credit to appear on account. For more information about our rebate, energy credits from CPS Energy, and an application contact us today! 1(800)319-0690 info@missionrs.com laurenb@missionrs.com
  • Restaurant Marketing

    Prove That Your Business is Worthwhile Customers want to know that they can rely on you to keep them happy and that going out to eat won't require any effort on their part other than the obvious ordering of the food and paying of the check. You have to show them that you are willing to do whatever it takes to make your restaurant successful and that their opinions do matter. One reason why chain restaurants do so much better than independent restaurants is because they are willing to experiment. They change their menus according to the season, upgrade décor, run amazing specials that are usually pretty different from their menu (but trendy), and ask for feedback. Once something works great, they run with it. What have you done for your customers recently? Where to Spend Your Money Most restaurant owners and managers are under the same common misunderstanding that marketing needs to be grossly amplified during certain times of the year, or day, when business is particularly slow. There couldn't be a bigger waste of marketing dollars. There's always a reason why business is slow at certain times and it's most likely because it's slow everywhere. According to Aaron Allen of RestaurantReport.com, "Marketing can't change behavior; it can only influence existing behaviors." Your marketing campaigns should be proportional to the kind of business you already get during that time. If July is usually busy for you, then make sure to continue to market July. Same goes for your happy hour or brunch. Remember the idea of keeping current clientele and bringing them back over and over again. Even if it is a slow time of year, your clientele will return if they have the money to spend. To amplify sales during slow times, make sure that your guests are getting just as good of service as when your restaurant is moving at a steady pace. Also make sure that you are spending more money on training than marketing during these times. Extremely successful companies, such as Starbucks, spend millions of dollars on training and because of this their staff is known for their consistency and perfection when it comes to service and making their products. Well trained employees will up-sell, know every detail of your product, and be able to sell it to anyone. Social Media & It's Impact on the Foodservice Industry It's no secret that restaurant and quick service venues have begun to strongly rely on social media and all of the free advertising on the web. Websites like Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Twitter have exploded due to their massive popularity with foodservice industry marketing reps. The good thing about SEO and social media is that it's free, but it is also a great deal of work that requires a lot of time and consistency. The major problem that a lot of restaurants have is that whoever is managing their social media outlets doesn't have much marketing experience and is bombarding their current clientele with obnoxiously repetitive messages. The keys to being successful when utilizing different social media tactics are to be creative, consistent/up-to-date, personable, and make your posts worthwhile. Respond to comments and complaints in a timely manner. Make the customer feel directly connected to you and vice-versa. More Tips on Marketing: - Focus on current clientele. When you focus on gaining only new customers, you are spending 7-10 times more than you would if you focused on increasing your current sales through repeat customers, up-selling, and increasing party sizes. Earn more money from money that has already walked in the door. - Try different tactics like bounce-backs, loyalty programs, email marketing, partnerships, event marketing, and internal merchandising. - Your marketing IS NOT working if you can't see a direct connection between your marketing and sales. - 3-6% of your sales should be dedicated to marketing. - Make sure that your menu is fluid, concise, and interesting. - Have one central message. Make sure your staff believes it and abides by it. - Test new items based on what is doing well in other places. - Encourage guests to bring more people with them the next time they visit. - Know where you stand compared to your competition and offer something that you know they can't. - Make alliances with businesses that are not direct competition. - Be consistent. Are there any topics that you would like to hear more about? Don't forget that we love feedback! Either leave a comment or email us! laurenb@missionrs.com joshuag@missionrs.com
  • Going Green

    More and more venues are switching over to greener practices and equipment, but it seems as though some restaurant and quick-service owners aren't sure where to start or if they can even afford it. The reality is that going green is going to cost you some money initially, but any change you make to your business will. However, changing your habits to help the environment actually saves far more money in the first year alone than you will spend altogether. Whether you plan on make a few small changes or going all-out on new equipment, you can still make a huge difference. According to PG&E's FTSC, restaurants use 500,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, 20,000 therms of natural gas, and 800,000 gallons of water, which comes out to more than 490 tons of carbon dioxide per restaurant each year. Just making one or two changes can cut back costs both monetarily and environmentally. Where Do You Start? Before looking into big expense tactics to conserving energy, take a look around your venue to see where you are being most wasteful. Most likely you are using more electricity than you really need because your appliances and lights stay on much longer than they need to be. Creating shutdown schedules and using timers on appliances or outside lights can save you huge sums of money each year. One restaurant owner in Boston even put motion sensors on the lights and fans in the restrooms so that they were only in use when someone was present, which ended up saving him $2,000 by the end of the first year. Another way to make an impact is to change to non-toxic products, such as cleaning solutions and paints. Also try using chlorine-free paper products and reusing grease for other purposes if you're not sure how to dispose of it properly. You can also try: cutting back on preheat times and cooking space, making good use of a timer, preparing food in bulk when you can, using lids to keep in heat, temporarily turning off door heaters on refrigerators and freezers, and maintaining and cleaning all of your equipment.   Making Small Changes When people think of "going green" they think of recycling projects and basic conservation efforts. There are a number of ways to do both and it just takes a little creative thinking. The core idea of conservation is to use less, so do it! This means using less paper, packaging, water, electricity, Styrofoam, and harmful chemicals. Change out your current Styrofoam or plastic to-go containers, straws, and cups with paper ones and have your new menus made out of recycled products. Swap your toilets out with low-flow ones and swap your urinals with waterless models. To cut back on the emission of harmful gases, opt for locally grown produce that won't have to travel hundreds of miles to get to you. You might even want to consider having a bicycle delivery service if your business relies on a lot of outside sales. Making a Bigger Investment If you plan to make even bigger changes to your restaurant or foodservice business, there are a number of different ways that you can do so. Purchasing ENERGY STAR® appliances can be costly initially, but the savings add up very quickly. You can also get rebates from energy companies. Other things to look for are self-contained or "connectionless" appliances that use far less water, walk-in cooler curtains, and bigger hoods for ranges and fryers that collect more waste (5-6' instead of 4'). If you don't want to purchase more hoods for you kitchen, then try grouping heavy appliances together. Not only will this cut back on how much waste escapes, but it will also cut back on cooling expenses for your kitchen. Creative Ideas from Restaurant Owners & ENERGY STAR® - Use night curtains on display cases to keep in cold air and to save energy. - If you have fans, utilize them more than your AC. Researchers have found that energy use increases 4-5% every time you lower your thermostat by 1 degree. You can cut your costs by 12-15% just by raising the thermostat 3 degrees. - Offer a discount to customers on to-go orders if they bring their own Tupperware. - Compost trash to cut back on trash pick-ups costs by up to 45%. - Switching just 8 of your regular light bulbs that are used for 16 hours a day to incandescent bulbs can save you $342 annually. - Changing the defrost cycle on freezers from 70 minutes to 15 minutes saved one restaurant owner $800 annually. - Putting a special film on your windows can cut back on energy costs and make your guests more comfortable. - Installing solar panels can earn you an energy rebate depending on where you live. - A bakery owner in Battery Park City planted herbs on the roof to insulate the store and to improve air quality. - A store owner in New England wrapped the first three feet of his hot water-out pipes with insulation to conserve heat. For more tips on how to "go green" check out these sites: ENERGY STAR® NPR: Restaurants Set Sights on Going Green USA Today: Can Restaurants Go Green, Earn Green?
  • Press Conference with Governor Rick Perry at Mission Restaurant Supply

    Governor Rick Perry comes to Mission Restaurant Supply.

    Governor

    The staff at Mission Restaurant Supply in San Antonio, Texas was very fortunate and honored to be graced with the presence of Governor Rick Perry on Tuesday, January 26, 2010. The governor wanted to share his beliefs on the changing economy and education system here in Texas, and meet with the people that are going to experience the changes firsthand. His goal is to earn the trust of residents of the state of Texas and to keep in close contact with the people that will help make our future brighter. He was joined by state representative Frank Corte Jr. from District 122, who will not be running for reelection, but who will be supporting the Governor in his next campaign. Governor Perry made it clear that he will not rest until every citizen that wants a job has one. To date, Texas has one of the strongest economies in the country and it is continuing to flourish as we move into 2010. Creating more jobs in multiple fields is at the top of the priority list. The governor believes that our government does not create new jobs, but the driven entrepreneurs of our great state do. Mission Restaurant Supply and its owner, Mr. Jack Lewis, were recognized as a strong, independent entity that has continued to see substantial growth and has been able to provide a number of jobs to Texas citizens over the years. Governor Perry hopes to attract even more of the best businesses, researchers, and capital investments to Texas. Another of Governor Perry's concerns is to better our education system in a number of different ways. One of the most recent things he has done was promote the $100 million STEM Challenge Scholarship initiative. This money will help students that are pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics receive the education they need to compete in the global workforce. Despite the fact that Washington D.C. continues to struggle during these hard economic times, the state of Texas will continue to prosper and be prepared for changes. While everyone else was spending more money than they had, the Texas state legislature made sure to leave more than $8 billion in a state fund that would be there in case of a rainy day. The Governor assured us that we can stay calm and in control when it comes to planning our future here. The Lewis family and the employees of Mission Restaurant Supply also want to assure the citizens of Texas and its customers that it will continue to live up to the high standards that it has adhered to for more than twenty years. Here are some more photos of the press conference:
  • Restaurant Health Codes

    If you are new to the restaurant business or have decided to open a venue, you are probably aware of most of the health codes that apply to the service industry. However, there are most likely some regulations that you weren't aware of and that you might have forgotten to abide by. Here is a simple guide to following health code regulations and what you should know before getting a visit from the inspector.

    Typical Things Inspectors Check

    Depending on your state or county, the health codes could differ slightly. Most states however, check for pretty basic things. You just need to take preemptive measures. One of the first things that anyone who enters your kitchen will notice is the cleanliness (or vice versa). Bacteria can be found anywhere and kitchen equipment that isn't cleaned properly will be covered in it from top to bottom. Make sure that all equipment is cleaned properly with the right chemicals. Food preparation and storage is another huge factor that comes into play. There are very specific guidelines about where food should be stored and what it should be stored with. - All food must be covered or wrapped and stored at the appropriate temperatures, no exceptions. - All produce must be washed thoroughly and must be kept away from raw poultry during preparation. Frozen foods must be thawed according to certain health standards. Heating and re-heating methods must follow set guidelines. - There should be minimal, if any, hand contact with prepared food. All employees must wash their hands thoroughly before handling food, must have hair pulled back, and may not eat or drink near restaurant food. - All equipment should be cleaned and sanitized throughout a shift, not just before and after. - All food and beverages must be labeled according to shelf life and may not be served after specified date. - All ingredients and food must be purchased and delivered from approved sources. They may only be used if they arrive in good condition. Good inspections are not just due to the cleanliness and presentation of your kitchen and staff. Your establishment will also be checked for rodents, other pests, foul odors, mold, overstuffed trash receptacles and the area around them, and the appearance of your restrooms.

    What to Expect from an Inspector

    Typically inspectors will arrive without warning, but they do generally come just once a year so you will have a pretty good idea of when they might stop in. When the inspector does show up, make sure to ask for their credentials and let them know that you want to follow them around the venue. Inspectors will notice your willingness to correct things if you follow them and take immediate notes about violations, and may allow you to make some changes on the spot. Once the inspection is done, ask the individual to inform your entire staff about his or her findings. This shows the inspector and your staff that the proper measures will be taken to make improvements if necessary. Make sure to sign the report, which only indicates that you received a copy, but you don't necessarily need to agree with the findings. Never offer food or other things to an inspector as a way of bribery. Never refuse an inspection because the health department is still capable of getting an inspection warrant.

    Action to Take in Case of a Citation

    No matter how careful you are there is always a possibly of missing some small detail that an inspector will surely notice. Their job is to notice those small details. You have to learn to have a very keen eye for things that are out of place or not properly taken care of. Most likely you can correct the small things that you are cited for while the inspector is still present. If the problem is taken care of immediately and appropriately, it is likely that the inspector will remove the citation. If for some reason you don't understand why you received a citation then ask. Inspectors are trained to answer any and all questions about restaurant health codes and they will be more than happy to help you understand. If you don't agree with the citation, do not say anything to the inspector because this can only stir up trouble. Sign the report and appeal the decision later.

    MORE RESOURCES:

    FDA Model Food Code (National Restaurant Association) How to Prepare for a Health Inspection (National Restaurant Association)

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