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TOPIC: Health Dept. requirements

Health Dept. requirements 04 Apr 2003 11:58 #26202

  • BurneyFalls
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Beckwith wrote: "Our local health department just visited us yesterday at the single screen. We sell only popcorn and drinks that register on their scoreboard and they ordered us to install a triple compartment sink. If we were to start selling hot dogs they would go nuts. Oh yeah, they already are nuts!"

I'm curious about what else the Health Dept. looks for/requires. They have never visited me yet, but I expect they will and I'd like to be prepared.
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Re: Health Dept. requirements 04 Apr 2003 13:07 #26203

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If you pop Popcorn, you are cooking food. Therefore you need to meet the minimum Health Department Standards. So once you have met those standards, it takes no additional effort to offer Hotdogs (Make sure they achieve the appropriate temperature.) Cotton Candy, Nachos, Pretzels, and yes, Hamburgers, Fries and Pizza.

You will need a Three Compartment Sink and the fire department may insist on a hood, fire suppression system. The Health Department may insist on a grease trap and other items.

It seems wrong when you take over an existing site and then the Health Department insists on all kinds of new things. If you are building from scratch, then it behooves you to visit with the Health Department and the Fire Inspector and find out what they expect. Make it a working with experience instead of a working against experience.

Our older site is Grand fathered. But our Health Inspector is also a neighbor and an appreciative patron. But a new plex in town had to install an automatic fire curtain around an upstairs concession stand for the Fire Department. I think it was excessive, but that is what was required.

All new homes in Sonoma County are required to install a Fire Sprinkler system. Mine will have one.
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Re: Health Dept. requirements 05 Apr 2003 08:56 #26204

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Part of my point with that post is actually to point out that Health Departments are inconsistent both in my area and across the U.S. When we first opened 6 years ago we needed a Food Service permit for about $100 bucks. The next year they decided that popcorn establishments such as ourselves didn't need a license. We were legally unlicensed until 2 years ago. We've been inspected 3 times (annually)since then.

Our license is $244 dollars this year, $226 last year, $328.77 the previous year. We were caught under a new set of food codes which now licenses everyone including stores which sell only packaged foods - i.e. such as convenience stores. With our new class of license we are a full restaurant and with that comes a full new set of rules including the wearing of hats or hairnets, removal of all jewelry including wedding rings, etc. The three compartment sink is a joke when you consider that we need 3 compartments to wash one kettle and a popcorn scoop. We complied with the health departments requirements in 1996 by installing a single compartment hot water sink. I am not sure how the previous owners survived for 25 years without a place for the employees to wash their hands near the concession stand or a place to clean the kettle but we don't have room anywhere in the building to install the 3 compartment monster.

Typically they will come in and inspect all your chemicals to make sure that they are all labeled. That means that every spray bottle must have "Blue glass cleaner" or whatever written on it in permanent marker. Your pop nozzles must all pass inspection. You must tell them how often they are taken off and cleaned. They will check all your floors to make sure that all tile is in place and that there are no cracks that they feel need to be sealed. Remember each inspector is different and they write down whatever whim they have at that moment. (Some don't like our rubber mat for the workers to stand on behind the concession stand.) Some of them think that we should install a backflow for the cleaning closet sink, etc. Some one wrote that we needed to move a spray bottle of blue glass cleaner away from the pop syrup bags for fear of contamination. We've also been told to move or secure our CO2 tanks so that they can't fall over. You never know what they will do. I have never seen a complete written set of guidelines which would help me out either.
BTW, I met one of our Health Dept inspectors up at the new theater. When we discussed my single screen, she said "It is so clean you could eat off the floors."

Hot dogs are a very hot issue here with the Health Department. I really don't want to keep a freezer full of spoiled ones until they come to inspect them as our competitor has to do. We've asked, they say don't sell hot dogs because that is a whole new can of worms that you don't want to get into.
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