In small business, you are held accountable, and rightly so, to standards that are in the best interests of employees, customers, and your local community. In NYC, we undergo a rigorous scrutiny by the Department of Health (DoH) every year. Talk to any restaurant owner in town, and they will share their war wounds and the whispers about epic inspections at other establishments. NYC has a letter grade system that results in the inspector placing a prominently displayed grade card on the restaurant front so everyone knows their review.
We recently had our inspection at my restaurant & wine bar Sweet Revenge®, and I’m pleased as punch to brag we got an A. I’ve had an A since I opened 6 years ago; however, every year it has gotten more difficult and the inspections are ever more relentless. I have an open kitchen, so 100% of the time everyone can see into our operations. Downstairs in the basement, I can confidently invite guests in, also at any time. I can assure you that this is uncommon in my industry. What makes me confident is that my staff uses a Department of Health checklist I created for them. This form is based on the city’s Department of Health guidelines and feedback from my many conversations with inspectors through the years. My front of house ie bartenders/baristas, back of house ie chefs and the facilities crew accomplish their DoH responsibilities upon arrival every day. A closing checklist ensures cleanliness at the end of the shifts and end of the night.
When I was growing up, I took great pride in studying hard and getting straight As. No amount of studying can prepare you for one of these DoH inspections. Getting an A requires a full-team effort giving a full-court press every day without fail. I appreciate my wonderful staff for taking these standards seriously and upholding them. Although these checklists don’t make me a popular boss, they teach staff to hold themselves to the highest standards and not accept less. This will serve them well as they embark on their own entrepreneurial paths down the road or work anywhere else.
I think Anthony J D’Angelo sums it up perfectly: “Set high standards and few limitations for yourself.”
High five fabulous team-o-mine! Thank you for doing a marvelous job!