Concession Tip July 2019
Make the Health Department your Best Friend
By: Chris Lauber, University of North Dakota at R.E Arena
When I talk to concessions managers or people in food service about the health department, I usually get negative responses. People tend to dislike the heath inspector and complain they are mean and are out to get you. I know from experience people dislike when the inspector shows up because they know they are not doing everything correctly. If your operation was in complete compliance you should have no concerns when they show up.
From my experience, the health department inspector should be your best friend and if somehow it was possible, I would have them at all my events. Most inspectors don't want to give you a bad score, they are there to insure your operation is not endangering the public. If they see a concern they most likely want to educate you on the situation so that you can correct it. I will admit, there are some bad inspectors out there. Here in the great north, I work closely with my health inspector. In fact he has called me once to ask how I was doing something for the other arena in town. Just this week, I called my inspector to ask about a new food item and the holding unit temperature. After telling him my concerns and providing some information from the vender, my health inspector gave me the go ahead. If I started selling this item without his approval, once he came to inspect I would have been cited and had to then try to change his mind, however because I was proactive we are already good to go. He is shocked I call him for advice as no one in town takes the time to do it.
So, call your health inspector now and start building a positive relationship with them. It will pay off in the end for both you and them.