WE'RE HERE TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS.
Here are some common ones we frequently get asked (FAQ). If you don’t see what you’re looking for CONTACT US and we will be sure to answer all your questions and concerns. And if we get a question more than once, we will add it here. So ask away!
What are mock inspections / 3rd party audits and how often should I have my restaurant inspected?
There is no requirement. Depends how often our Clients want them. Some do once a month, some every week, and some every three months. We recommend monthly inspections. Based on experience, we believe that monthly inspections are most beneficial. Our inspectors perform a comprehensive review of your food service operation. Having our inspectors check your kitchens on a monthly basis, will reduce risk of potential violations, ensure proper equipment maintenance, save on costs by reducing food spoilage and unnecessary fines, promote food safety awareness, increase profits, and take out the element of surprise come DOH inspection time. And to show our appreciation, Clients that enroll monthly , get other services included in that price.
Why every month?
Because things change, employees change, new/different violations occur, its difficult to keep a kitchen violation free without proper guidance and because people/employees get comfortable. Monthly mock inspections will KEEP your establishment “Inspection Ready”.
I have an “A” letter grade, why do I need mock inspections / 3rd party audits?
This may come as a surprise, but majority of our Clients come to us with A letter grades. Why? Because they understand the importance of keeping them.
When will the Department of Health visit me next? Is there a schedule?
Yes, every establishment is on an “inspection cycle”. Your inspection cycle starts from the date of your first (“initial”) inspection. The total amount of points you received during that inspection determines the date when the DOH will be back. For example if you received 14 points (equivalent to a “B” grade) in the month of June, besides the reinspection, which occurs 7-14 days from that date. You are on a “B” cycle, your next inspection can be anytime between 7-9 months from June..
I had my first Department of Health inspection, received fines and a settlement offer. The offer is less, should I just settle?
NO! and YES those were shouting capitals. It is always better to fight, then to accept a settlement. However, there are those rare instances when violations cannot be fought. The best thing to do is ask your Attorney. We can assist you in reducing your score and the amount of your fines.
How much do 3rd party audits cost? Aren’t they expensive? Anytime I hear the word Attorney/Consultant I know its going to be expensive!
Our prices vary based on the size of your kitchen, our monthly audits can cost as little as $8 a day for a very small kitchen, but most fall into a range of $10- $12 per day. Do you know what the price of a “B” letter grade on your door is, according to one of our Clients, about a 30% decrease in revenue. You do the math!
I was given a letter grade card and a grade pending card. What do I put on my window, if I’m waiting for a hearing?
Always display the Grade Pending while waiting for a hearing.
Do I have to attend the Tribunal Hearing?
The answer is No, if however you have nothing better to do, we would love your company. An attorney will represent your interests at the Tribunal, meaning that your presence is not necessary. In fact we encourage our Clients not to come, that’s our job!
I am opening up a restaurant, I have an H-25 permit, can I start serving food immediately?
The answer is No. There are a number of steps that need to be taken in order to be operational. The specific steps that need to be taken may vary, that is why you need to contact us. We will answer any questions that you may have..(well almost any)
What type of establishments do you service?
Any establishment that serves food to the public is subject to the letter grade system, we service all of them. Our clients include hotels, corporate cafeterias, restaurants of every size, coffee shops, athletic facilities, golf clubs, theaters, schools universities, and mobile food vendors. Presently we service only the NYC area.
Is there a cost for consultations?
Absolutely Not! and we come to you. Contact Us so that we can schedule your free consultation.
Coronavirus (Covid-19) FAQ’s
What is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV); and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019”- COVID-19
There is currently no vaccine or treatments available, however medication and vaccine research is underway. Visit the CDC for more info
How is Coronavirus spread?
- The virus that causes COVID-19 is most commonly transmitted from person to person, through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.
- Respiratory droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
People with the virus may leave infected droplets on objects and surfaces (called fomites) when they sneeze, cough on, or touch surfaces, such as tables, doorknobs and handrails. Other people may become infected by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, noses or mouths before cleaning their hands.
How Do I know if I’m Sick?
- Information regarding Covid-19 comes in fast and changes regularly. Although symptoms can vary depending on the individual, here are some you can recognize
If There is No Treatment for Covid-19, What Should I do if I’m sick?
- Visit this page, for specific instructions on where/when to get help and testing info.
How much of the coronavirus does it take to make you sick (viral load)
It depends on the actual place it’s deposited. If directly inhaled into the lungs, very little may be needed.
How long can Covid-19 live on surfaces?
The short answer is we really don’t know yet, but researches state the following:
- on copper- up to 4 hours
- on cardboard -up to 24 hours
- on stainless steel – pots, refrigerators- 3 days
- plastic – milk containers, bottles, elevator buttons 2-3 days.
- On wood- 4 days
How can we protect ourselves and prevent spread?
- WASH YOUR HANDS. Frequently and Properly (for at least 20 seconds)
- Washing your hands often with soap and water is one of the best ways to avoid transmission
- Keep hand sanitizer with you
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
- Limit close contact with people
- Try to maintain 6ft distance between yourself and others
- Wear a mask to stop the spread.. (visit CDC for everything you need to know about masks and face coverings)
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and Disinfect “High Touch Areas”
- If you feel sick stay home..more info from NYC and CDC
What is the Difference between Cleaning/Disinfecting and Sanitizing?
- Cleaning removes dirt, but does not kill organisms
- Sanitizing significantly reduces bacteria
- Disinfecting- Destroys Bacteria and Viruses
- Visit our Covid -19 Resource Center for NYC’s cleaning guidelines and checklists
What are “High Touch Areas”?
- Surfaces and objects that are touched often.
- High touch areas should be disinfected often
- Examples include – Railings, door knobs, light switches, tabletops, countertops, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
What kinds of cleaning products can I use to protect against Covid-19?
- If surfaces are dirty, clean them with detergent or soap and water before disinfecting.
- Check CDC for Guidance for cleaning and disinfecting
- Download the NYC Cleaning Checklist put together by NYC Department of Health
- To disinfect, choose products on EPA’s list N of registered disinfectants that are qualified for use against Covid-19
- Once you choose your disinfectant, follow these steps to use it properly and safely
Should I Use Soap or Hand Sanitizer to Protect against Covid-19?
- When soap and water is available…always soap!
- Viruses are protected by a lipid and protein membrane, soap dissolves lipids. Any kind of soap will work, it doesn’t have to be anti-bacterial.
- Sanitizer will not work if hands are dirty, also sanitizer will NOT get rid of all germs
When should hand sanitizer be used?
- When soap and water is unavailable, or when you need to sanitize on the fly.
- Carry it with you, make it available to guests and employees
- Make sure the sanitizer has at least 60% ethanol or 70% Isopropanol
- And make sure to use it properly
Can Covid be spread through food?
According to the CDC, “Coronaviruses are generally thought to spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food.”
Are there any special risks associated with food?
Eating food is not riskier than any other activities you do every day. In fact, we think it might be safer. Restaurants and food service establishments follow the Food Code, written by FDA, which mandates everything from where sinks have to be placed, to staff hygiene, to food temperature monitoring and strict food safety compliance. These protocols have been in place before Covid, and are followed by every food service operator. Non-compliance costs money in fines and more importantly, here in NYC an operator’s letter grade depends on it. We believe that the food service industry is better prepared than most.
Can Reheating Food Destroy Coronavirus?
- Yes. Although time and temperature for coronavirus hasn’t been fully researched, as with any bacteria or virus, safe cooking is a function of temperature and time.
- The hotter the temperature, the less time you’ll need to reduce the virus.
- To be on the safe side, we suggest reheating prepared food that is delivered.
My restaurant has been closed since the Covid-19 shutdown in NYC. What do I have to do before I Re-open?
NYC has a Restaurant Re-Opening Guide that you can access here. Make sure to sign the affirmation and have a safety plan in place
Where can I get Covid-19 related Posters for my Restaurant?
You’re in luck the following posters can be found in our Resource Center
- WHO Hand Wash
- NYC Maintain 6 Feet Poster
- NYC Reopen and Stay Safe Poster
- NYC Socialize Responsibly Poster
- NYC Take out Don’t Hangout
- CDC How to Wear And Remove Masks
- NYC Prevent the Spread Poster
- NYC Cover your Cough Poster
- CDC Please wear a mask
- CDC Cleaning vs. Disinfecting Guidance Poster
What should I do if an Employee is Sick or has Covid-19 Symptoms?
Information regarding what to do, who to notify info can be found here
Is screening employees mandatory?
Yes, NYS and NYC require employee screening
What does it mean to be an Open Restaurant in NYC? How can I apply?
NYC’s Open Restaurant Program is a citywide multi-phase program to expand outdoor seating options for food establishments to promote open space, enhance social distancing, and help restaurants rebound in difficult economic times. Get more info and apply here