Restaurant Inspector

Investigate the sanitation practices of restaurants.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$39,000 – $94,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Restaurant Inspectors do?

Restaurant Inspectors inspect restaurants to make sure they’re clean enough to eat off of — literally. There are nearly a million restaurants in the United States. Although each has its own menu, all have at least one thing in common: When their customers eat there, they want the food to be delicious, the service to be attentive, and the premises to be clean.

As a Restaurant Inspector, you can’t do much about the taste of food or the quality of service. However, you can do something about cleanliness.

Employed by governments and public health departments, Restaurant Inspectors are tasked with preventing outbreaks of foodborne illness by keeping restaurants safe, clean, and sanitary. To do that, you make surprise visits to the restaurants in your area. Upon arriving, you typically show your credentials and then commence a top-to-bottom inspection of the restaurant, during which you examine the storage and temperatures of food, the food safety knowledge of the staff, and the physical condition of the kitchen, dining room, and restrooms.

When you find health code violations — anything that might cause illness, such as spoiled food, evidence of pests, etc. — you make a note and point it out to the staff. Some violations are grounds for immediate closure, in which case it’s your job to order the restaurant shuttered until the problem is fixed. Other violations, however, require only a warning, although restaurants that rack up too many warnings are also eventually closed.

There are lots of things that make people sick. It’s your job to make sure restaurants aren’t one of them!

Should I be a Restaurant Inspector?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.

  • Also known as: Quarantine Inspector

    How to become a Restaurant Inspector

    Most Restaurant Inspectors have a Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:acf9kc&chl=|certificate+%283%25%29|associate%27s+%286%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2874%25%29|master%27s+%2813%25%29|doctorate+%283%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,74
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