In our previous blog post, we addressed the limitations of using mystery shoppers to conduct retail audits. It’s a point worth reiterating when discussing property inspections.
Mystery shoppers may be used for a brief appearance survey, but you can’t expect them to understand your property in depth. This is why you should call upon a qualified member of your maintenance staff or a manager who has this type of knowledge.
The obvious issues -- those readily seen by the eye -- may fall under the categories of maintenance and sanitation. However, there may also be structural deficis that may not be readily identifiable, unless the employee knows what to look for.
When conducting a property inspection, here are three main areas to focus on and key features for each:
A. Building Exterior
- Building foundation
- Painted surfaces and glass windows
- Roofs and downspout drainage
- Air conditioning units, water systems and septic tanks
- Trash removal system
- Condition of signage
- Parking lot condition, landscaping
B. Building Interior
- Entry doors and interior walls
- Adequacy of lighting
- Cleanliness of floors and shelves
- Condition and temperature of maintenance room
- Storage of flammable products and/or cleaning supplies
- Presence of fire extinguisher in maintenance room
- Restroom plumbing and sanitation
C. Foodservice area (if applicable)
- Cleanliness of food-handling surfaces
- Cleanliness and condition of culinary equipment
- Presence of fire extinguisher
- Food protected from contamination and containers properly labeled
- Clean gloves and aprons
- Refrigeration systems
- Condition of hot food holding systems
- Proper ventilation
- Sink plumbing and garbage disposal
As you can see by the list above, your property inspection is an involved task. It can easily become complicated if you don’t have a clear and uniform process.
Go paperless with a process
Filling out a paper questionnaire and sending photos separately for each question can be tedious. Instead, use a mobile solution that consolidates functions.
For instance, if a question requires a more detailed explanation, the employee can easily add comments and attach a photo all from the same device. Real-time notifications will initiate a quicker response among your team members.
Offer an incentive
If you’re a small operation, you may have a limited number of staff members who have the knowledge necessary to perform a property inspection.
However, you may have other employees who are trainable and can improve upon their skills.
Make property inspections a routine part of your operations. Reward employees who are willing to help and create an uncomplicated process to instill confidence in completing the task.