Restaurant Audit Checklists

Identify restaurant non-compliance with organizational and regulatory standards and resolve them ASAP

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Published November 18th, 2020

What is a Restaurant Audit?

A restaurant audit refers to the formal evaluation of a restaurant’s facilities, procedures, and practices to ensure that they comply with organizational, regulatory, and industry standards for food safety, hygiene, housekeeping, and maintenance. Restaurant audits can be internal, performed by the restaurant manager, a supervisor, or other staff members, or external, performed by a licensed health inspector.

What is a Restaurant Audit Checklist?

Restaurant audit checklists are used by designated restaurant inspectors to assess if establishments are aligned with the set standards for food safety and hygiene, including housekeeping and facility maintenance. Business owners, auditors, and quality assurance teams use restaurant audit templates to evaluate performance, identify issues, and assign actions to address them.

Internal Restaurant Audits: Top Benefits of Diligent Self-Inspection

Health inspector visits, whether scheduled or unannounced, are dreaded by restaurant owners for good reason. Being caught with health code violations translate to hefty fines, or worse, a shutdown of the entire establishment. Restaurant owners and managers can reduce the stress of external restaurant audits by implementing an effective internal auditing program to ensure compliance with relevant food safety standards.
Here are the top benefits of implementing a good self-inspection program:

Food Risk Awareness

Running an effective internal auditing program allows you to spot instances and sources of non-compliance so you can proactively correct them before the health inspector forces you to. Prioritize the safety of your customers by verifying if the best practices for food hygiene and preparation are being followed consistently.
Check if frozen foods are kept at the recommended temperature to avoid spoilage. Observe kitchen staff and ensure that they wash their hands thoroughly before preparing food, check if kitchen utensils are being cleaned before usage, and ensure that hot food is kept at or above 140° F among other things.

Knowing the common markdowns issued by health inspectors and making a conscious effort to prevent them substantially lowers the risk of non-compliance.

Process Optimization

Through internal restaurant audits, you can not only see if existing SOPs are being followed, you can also identify gaps in your process so they can be eradicated. This includes the discontinuation of redundant and impractical steps, replacement of equipment and utensils deemed ineffective by kitchen staff, and changes on the wait staff’s service process.


Running an effective internal audit process is the best way to ensure that you don’t incur health code violations during surprise and scheduled external audits. Proper documentation during your internal audits is also important since they can serve as evidence should the health inspector ask for clarification regarding your restaurant practices.

A Versatile Mobile App to Improve Restaurant Compliance

Compliance with organizational, industrial, and regulatory standards is paramount to the successful operation of restaurants. In order to protect the health of the general public, as well as thrive from a business perspective, an establishment needs to have an effective restaurant audit process. Using iAuditor by SafetyCulture, restaurants and other food establishments can take advantage of a versatile, easy-to-use mobile app to streamline not only restaurant inspections, but the entire safety and quality initiative by allowing restaurant owners to:

  • download ready-to-use restaurant audit checklists for free, convert existing paper checklists into a digital format, or create smart forms from scratch with iAuditor’s drag-and-drop template builder;
  • perform restaurant audits even while offline and iAuditor will automatically save your audit data via unlimited and secure cloud storage once you connect to the internet;
  • take and annotate photos through the app for a more comprehensive restaurant audit
  • automatically generate audit reports once an inspection is completed and turn on autoshare so data is immediately sent to supervisors, managers, and other key stakeholders;
  • schedule recurring and ad hoc inspections to personnel and assign corrective actions so issues are resolved ASAP;
  • use automatic temperature and humidity sensors that send push notifications when issues are detected; and
  • take advantage of advanced data analytics to spot trends and common failures so they can be corrected


Carlo Sheen Escano

SafetyCulture staff writer

Carlo Sheen Escano is a contributing writer for SafetyCulture based in Makati City, Philippines. Sheen has experience in digital marketing and has been writing for SafetyCulture since 2018. His articles mainly discuss risks in the workplace and well-known safety and quality processes used to mitigate them. Furthermore, Sheen is passionate about providing insights to global customers on how technology can help them to do the best work of their lives.