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Keep the kitchen running with a restaurant audit checklist

Use a restaurant audit checklist to protect your business from the damaging effects of poor operations and unsafe food handling practices. A digital checklist gives you the flexibility that you need to stay on top of the game and be successful.

What is a restaurant audit checklist?

A restaurant audit has various uses. You can employ it when you want to perform menu evaluations or assess your facilities, for example. But the most important reason for using a restaurant audit checklist is ensuring the health and safety of your kitchen staff, servers, and customers.

Your customers rightfully expect that the food you serve them is properly prepared, clean, and has no undesirable effects on their health and well-being. Meanwhile, your employees must feel safe in the workplace knowing that you have safety measures in place that help prevent injuries and accidents, like walk-in cooler lock-ins or slipping. Meeting these needs will have a positive impact on your brand’s reputation and your establishment’s atmosphere.

Restaurant managers and owners can conduct audits by using a restaurant audit checklist that makes sure their restaurant complies with the common safety requirements. An audit report must be created to record all findings from an audit.

In this article, you will learn:

1. Why You Should Perform a Restaurant Audit

2. How To Pass an External Restaurant Audit

3. How a Digital Software Can Support Your Restaurant Audits

What is the purpose of a restaurant audit checklist?

Poor operations and unsafe food handling practices can damage your brand and hurt your sales, your customers and you. Restaurant auditing evaluates your restaurant’s facilities, operations, and procedures to ensure compliance with company, industry, and regulatory standards.

A restaurant audit checklist is essential whether the audit is internal or external. It will benefit your restaurant in many ways since a checklist helps ensure that everyone in your organization follows food safety, loss prevention, and quality control best practices. Regular restaurant auditing allows you to discover issues and non-conformities so you can correct them, which will ultimately result in operational efficiency.

There are several possible reasons for performing food safety audits. Not only are they necessary for obtaining certificates, but there are other equally desirable reasons:

  • Evaluation of the management system
  • Prioritization of management actions
  • Objectives of commercial nature
  • Evaluation of suppliers or fulfilment of customer requirements
  • Evaluation of incidents occurring at other facilities/organizations
  • Regulatory or contractual requirements

Pass an External Restaurant Audit in 5 Steps

1. Food Safety

A restaurant health inspection is necessary for the health and safety of your customers. To pass a health inspection, it is important that you store, thaw, and cook your dishes in compliance with regulations. You also must make sure that your storage area, the freezers, and your kitchen are always clean and sanitized.

Failing a health inspection can cost you a lot – and not only money: If the health inspector finds violations in your establishment, you might need to pay fines or worse, you might be forced to close your restaurant until you solve the issues. But the most undesirable consequence would be customers losing their trust in your business.

Personalize your restaurant audit checklist but make sure you consider food safety rules. Check crucial areas such as the storage, transportation of ingredients and materials, cleaning process, and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

During the restaurant inspection, a health inspector will evaluate your establishment and check for the following:

  • Uncovered food products
  • Inappropriate food or beverage containers
  • Absence of labels on your food for expiration dates
  • Employees without gloves
  • Storing meat on top of raw ingredients
  • Storing cleaning products near food
  • Absence of temperature control
  • Absence of temperature checking log
  • Untidy food handlers
  • Lack of general cleanliness

2. Loss Prevention

Employee theft is very common in many restaurants and leads to an annual revenue loss of $40 to $400 billion, according to the United States Chamber of Commerce. About three-quarters of employees steal from restaurants and about half will do it repeatedly.

Apart from stealing cash, employees can also abuse discount codes, treat their friends, relatives, or themselves to food and beverage, and cheat the time clock. Having a standardized process in your restaurant, next to an inventory checklist will help prevent losses. This means that your restaurant audit checklist must also include an item for keeping records. Here are some suggestions for preventing employee theft in your restaurant:

  • Implement a well thought out loss prevention policy
  • Follow specific opening and closing routines
  • Control cash handling
  • Control the use of keys and swipe cards
  • Keep all doors secure
  • Assess POS reports
  • Create checks and balances
  • Install security cameras
  • Manage floor staff

3. Quality Control

Quality control will be easier if you have standards in place for every area of your business. Identify flaws and areas for improvement using a SWOT analysis. Some areas that can greatly affect the quality of your food and service are:

  • Freezers and cold storage areas
  • Preparation, holding, and service
  • Dry storage areas
  • Personnel hygiene
  • Kitchen equipment and utensils

4. Workplace Safety

With a restaurant audit checklist you can discover workplace areasthat could cause injury or health issues to your employees. Include items in your checklist for hourly and daily floor inspections.

A facility audit may also be done and should include a pest inspection. This means checking your establishment for holes and gaps that could be entry points for pests. Schedule an inspection with licensed contractors and fix the problems right away.

There are also areas that you might miss if you don’t use a restaurant audit checklist. Areas that are often forgotten are doors, handrails, and parking lots.

To safeguard the health and well-being of your employees, include an occupational safety audit in your plan. Structure your checklist so that it will help you meet government regulations related to workplace safety.

  • Make sure employees are wearing protective equipment when handling or cooking food
  • Make sure your employees wear hairnets
  • Have a first aid kit in key areas and make sure everyone knows where it is
  • Follow the right process for thawing and reheating food
  • Have separate areas for preparing raw and cooked food
  • Always have soaps and sanitisers at hand
  • Keep combustibles and flammable material away from heat sources
  • Make sure aisles are free of clutter
  • Make sure the grill and fryer exhaust systems are clean and in good working condition

5. Follow-Up

It is also important to make sure that your restaurant complies with any government regulations, especially if you only perform audits a few times each year. Implement the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points HACCP as recommended by the FDA. This will help you be more consistent in your food preparation processes and will also ensure that quality control measures are followed correctly.

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Perform restaurant audit checklist with a Mobile App

With Lumiform’s audit app you can easily perform any restaurant safety and quality inspection on the go from your smartphone or tablet – online or offline. Make sure you’re complying with regulations by creating checklists for your Restaurant Audit to easily collect data in the field, ensure highest quality standards and reduce errors and threats.

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