What I Learned About Inspections

As the newest member of the PrimeroEdge team, I wanted to better understand how inspections worked in our customers’ cafeterias. What better way to do so than to meet face to face with one of our customers located here in the Houston area and talk to them about their inspections process?

When we first sat down I was handed two different types of reviews that they use. One titled an All Day Onsite Review and a second titled the Supervisors Blitz. Each review is broken down into different categories asking “yes” or “no” questions with a notes section, in case the supervisor wishes to elaborate.
These review forms were pretty thorough, covering topics from the school’s menus, the staff, management, and of course HACCP and production. Once filled out, supervisors take the review forms back to their office, scan them, and upload them to their servers.

I asked the school district personnel several questions about their current processes, challenges they face, and improvements they would like to see. Here is what I learned:

1. Inspections don’t necessarily mean health inspections

When the average person hears the words “inspection”, their mind will most likely jump to a health inspection. However, as mentioned earlier, the reviews I saw covered a variety of topics. Some inspections can be more marketing/PR based; ensuring that sites stick to the district’s rules on branding (if there are any). Other inspections can review how a site is being managed in terms of documentation and policy.

2. Each supervisor has their own technique when they’re onsite

Supervisors can either choose to do an entire review including all of the topics, or target just one of the topics. For example, the supervisors can only focus on the school’s menus as opposed to reviewing the menus along with the staff, management, and production.

3. All Day Onsite Review vs Supervisors Blitz

The difference between an All Day Onsite Review and a Supervisors Blitz is the All Day Review is conducted by one person, thus taking all day. The Supervisors Blitz is conducted by more than two supervisors. This makes the inspection go much quicker, with multiple people onsite.

4. Inspections are scheduled far in advance.

This can create an issue around the holidays or during the summer when people are out of office. For example, if a Supervisors Blitz is scheduled, and then another supervisor gets sick, that only leaves one supervisor to complete the inspection . Rescheduling can be difficult, because now they have to work around other inspections already scheduled.

5. Teamwork is key

At one point in time, each person had to focus on their own work and responsibilities. Overtime, their processes have changed so that they’re able to lend each other a helping hand. Not only do they get more work done this way, but their working relationships closer because of it!

Of course, processes and reviews are different at every school district. With so many items and processes inspectors need to look out for, it’s important to have the right tools on hand so that nothing gets overlooked. Keep in mind, these are just a handful of things based off the conversation I had with these incredibly kind people. In fact, they’re so nice, they generously invited me to join them on one of their upcoming inspections. Read all about it here!