health-departmentIt is very important for businesses, especially full service restaurants, to comply with the fundamental rules and regulations made clear by the health department. It is also important to develop a good relationship with your health inspector.

It can be daunting and hard to identify core problems, because there are numerous factors that determine a health score. These include:

  • Refrigerator temperature control, maintenance and signage
  • Utensil storage
  • Line set-up: maintaining a clean and sanitary kitchen during service
  • Pest control: choosing a provider and easily maintaining pest-free storage
  • Cleaning duties, closing and opening
  • Staff training for hygiene, food handling, and management certification tutoring
  • Preparation and organization of forms, invoices, and certifications to give to health inspector (before they ask for it and you are unprepared)
  • How to set up a new kitchen to get a maximum health score: consultation with contractor, architect or designer on kitchen layout

We focus on helping you with all of these health department issues before or after they occur. For example, if a refrigerator is above the desired temperature (one of the most important factors an inspector looks for) and employees are trying to make excuses or cover up the situation, the inspector may feel taken advantage of.  The result of this is that the inspector will then approach all other rules with equal weight. If the relationship is deteriorated by deceit, all other factors come in to play – light bulbs being covered, employee changing areas being large enough, employee food handling cards being requested, storage areas scrutinized thoroughly, pest control invoices being current and more.

To ensure that every aspect of the business is not held under a microscope, we specialize in identifying and thoroughly addressing the most important factors.  It needs to be understood that the health inspector does not want your business to fail. On the contrary, the health inspector wants businesses to do well and make money. However, this can be misinterpreted because often times they take their job very seriously. The importance of their role is to keep the public safe. If you present your business as wanting to work with the health inspector with the same goal in mind, the relationship can be very beneficial for the business.

Remember, the health department wants businesses to open. It does not want to shut businesses down. However, they have an obligation to keep people safe. The key to developing a good relationship with the health department is to understand what they want to see and having your company goals aligned with keeping the public safe.


We have thorough experience dealing with health departments in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you need help or want to avoid future issues with the health department, do not hesitate to contact David Mitroff, Ph.D. at Piedmont Avenue Consulting, Inc.

Example of Restaurant Inspection

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