Restaurant Inspection

I have a restaurant inspection scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, my first restaurant. I would appreciate input from members (or others!) for particular things to pay special attention. All advice and/or suggestions valued and appreciated!!

Jimmy B.

One I did last year was shut down at the time, and the buyer was interested in condition of appliances. So I had a local commercial appliance service company show up shortly after I did and provide a written report to my client (at his expense of course).

Good advice John, as the equipment is very different than the typical home, elec. will be a lot different too.

Jimmy, do some homework on the roof and what type of material was used. Some rubber/torch down roofs will fail near the exhaust vent for the frialators, grease traps and floor drains are another issue.

Pay extra attention to the ventilation system. Lots of grease gets sucked up there.

Check for fire extinguishers, (location, how many, and whether or not they have expired)

Check windows (if needed) and doors for tempered glass.

My inspection agreement specifically disclaims ADA (disability) requirements. If yours doesn’t, you may want to disclaim that in your report.

Attention to Electric Service and Distributions Systems / Panels.

Sub-Contract everything you can negotiate the price for. As far as ADA compliant, I have always included that in our commercial inspection bids if the client wanted it. Inspecting commercial properties is a different animal of itself and is in no way comparable to a typical home inspection. Good luck, do a good job and you will get more referalls. If you have any questions about commercial inspections, feel free to contact me.

Being as it is a commercial building, dont for get to disclaim an enviornmental inspetion. Also, usually the fire system will need to be insepcted and certified by a licensed company. Oh, and dont forget to look for rats, mice, and roaches


I inspected 115 restaurants in the last 12 months, half were Subway Stores, and the rest everything from Red Lobster, Spaghetti Factory, My Big Fat Greek Restaurant, Olive Gardens, McDonalds, Dairy Queens, etc.

Not knowing what type of inspection you are doing at the restaurant, I wouldn’t know where to begin, I have a variety of types of inspections for a variety of buyers, owners, etc.

Call me in the morning if you need further assistance.

P.S…watch for in floor grease traps…:smiley:

Thanks guys…some very good advice here. Thanks to my NACHI bros, I’m sure all will be well!:smiley:

Joseph…I remember those pics from one of your posts a couple of months ago. Thankfully, this building isn’t that old, so probably there is a less chance of such a scewed up electrical system.

Dale…this is a restaurant presently in operation. It has a metal roof according to the client.

Check for the number of exits.

Wash your hands after you inspect the restroom, state law I think, :wink:


I believe that I would handle the restauraunt the same as any other commercial inspection.

But since it is a restaurant, there are certain things that are unique to the operation, including but not limited to: Grease traps, Triple sink @ dishwashing area, ansul system/exhaust system and filters, hot water booster at dishwasher area, up to date exterminators log sheet. Check the temps in the freezers/refrigerators, visual all compressors (possibly refer to refrigeration specialist).

Make sure someone is there to turn on these systems if necessary… you dont want to. Have alot of them operating as they would during the busiest time and see if there is ample gas/electric/water… HOT water (I don’t remember the exact temperature, but a certain temperture of hot water must bemaintained at the dishwasher/wash sink. See how long it takes for the water booster to heat up during multiple cycling of the dishwasher and is there hot water at the pot sink at the same time. The dishwashers usually have auto feed soap dispensers, don’t worry about this. The company that supplies the soap usually maintains the equiptment, so mention it, but refer it.

What type of sprinkler system does it have, since it’s a heated space, probably wet. Where is the osy valve located? Is it locked in the open position? Are there extra sprinkler heads and wrench on site? When was it last inspected? Where is the drain?

If you aren’t familiar with restaurant equiptment, have some who is look at everything. Also check the soda gun system, possibly refer to expert.

One other thing, usually in bars and restaurants, there is water damage to flooring/structure below wet areas (especially wooden structures). If the kitchen or whatever is on the second floor like a mall or something, although malls usually require a water proof barrier below flooring, check for signs of leaks in the ceiling below. Are the floors pitched towards the floor drains?

You may also wish to check local code regarding some of the issues I mentioned, you know everyplace is different.

Oh, yeah, Check occupancy ratings, emergency lighting, exits(enough or inoperable). Are compressor inspection sheets, fire department certificates/permits, Health dept. permits and license displayed. Dates on fire extinguishers.

Also remember handicapped accessability laws… you may want to read up on them.

I guess I could keep thinking of more things,

I realize that a number of the thing I mentioned are above and beyond residential guildlines, but since it’s commercial, it’s a whole 'nother ball game. By checking specifically restaurant related items, you will be giving your client a very valuable EXPERT report. I hope you are charging enough.


The most important thing to check is the sauce. Usually over a plate of pasta!!!

  • Steve

Sub the trades all of them (7) is your best bet.
Video them plying their trade, pictures lots of them.
Special attention to fire control, exits, handheld extinguishers etc. electrical, plumbing, customer parking, heating. Kitchen/food prep areas coolers/freezers are a major concern.
Collate into a spiral bound as it is more professional than a 3 ringed binder with dvd (no music), fixed pictures, condensed commentary as professionals just want the basics.
Cross reference for easy understanding helps.
By trial and error this has worked for me.
And…yes the sauce on the pasta was just right.

Hey Terry,

Music… video… I can get the guy that did my son’s Bar mitzvah!!!

Thanks for all the advice guys. Been busy the last few days and haven’t had time to get back here. I did it all myself and all went well. My experience as an erstwhile restaurant equipment repairman came in handy, and I remembered all the places where grease is a problem…including the wiring harnesses of fryers. Grease will literally melt insulation like when you leave your plastic worms lying against the plastic case you keep your hooks in (for you bass fishermen out there). The vent over the fryers and ranges was pretty gunked up from lack of attention and the fact that two of the filters were missing.