What is Restaurant Cleaning?
Cleaning is essential to running a successful restaurant, but it can be time-consuming and challenging. There are many factors to bear in mind when the health and safety of customers is concerned. All surfaces must be clean and free of bacteria; food handlers must wash their hands frequently; food should be cooked thoroughly; tables and chairs should be wiped down after every use; floors should be swept and mopped regularly; and bathrooms should be spotless.
In short, restaurant cleaning involves a host of activities, both inside and outside the premises.
In addition to cleanliness, another important aspect of restaurant management is organization. A well-organized restaurant runs smoothly and efficiently. This means keeping track of inventory, prep times, cook times, order tickets, etc. Conversely, a dirty or disorganized restaurant will quickly turn off customers and hurt your business.
The most efficient way to assign and monitor cleaning tasks is to draw up a checklist.
There are many factors to consider when creating a restaurant cleaning checklist, but one of the most important is frequency. You can have a weekly cleaning or monthly cleaning schedule. How often certain areas need to be cleaned will largely depend on how busy the restaurant is and what type of food is served. For example, kitchen surfaces that come into contact with raw meat need daily cleaning or even hourly cleaning. As it is, kitchens need to be cleaned more frequently than dining rooms. It's important to tailor your cleaning checklist to your specific needs in order to make sure all areas of the restaurant are thoroughly covered.
The Importance of Restaurant Cleaning
The restaurant business is a tough one. Not only do you have to worry about the quality of your food, but you also have to maintain a clean and presentable establishment. A clean restaurant says a lot about the quality of your food and your commitment to hygiene.
Restaurants in the United States are subject to a health inspection scorecard. It ensures that the establishment meets a particular standard of hygiene, which in turn decides the rating it receives from a health inspector. In the 2022 Hulu-FX series, The Bear, which revolves around a small sandwich shop in Chicago, a health inspector gives the place a "C" after discovering a box of cigarettes near the stovetop and noting the deplorable condition of the place in general. This isn't good for the owner, who's trying to change the restaurant's image. Evidently, every tiny detail is of the utmost importance when it comes to cleanliness.
In fact, restaurants often shudder at the mention of health and safety inspections. A restaurant with a low score during an inspection may need to shut down temporarily or display the scorecard -- B or C in its window. This could be detrimental to the business.
In the United States, every restaurant is audited by health inspectors from time to time. They grade it on the basis of cleanliness, food safety practices, and compliance with local statutes. The broader laws may vary with city, county, or state, but the basic rules follow the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Food Code (last revised in 2017), which has standard guidelines that inform the food safety and cleaning processes at a restaurant.
To round up, here are five reasons why regular cleaning is important-
- First impressions matter. When customers walk into your restaurant, they should be greeted with a clean and well-kept dining area. It will set the tone for their experience and let them know that you are proud of your establishment.
- Keeping things clean prevents cross-contamination. If surfaces are not cleaned regularly, they can become breeding grounds for bacteria and contaminate food. A dirty kitchen can lead to food poisoning, which will damage your reputation and cause customers to stay away.
- Customers expect it. The advent of social media has ensured that people are more aware of hygiene risks than ever before. They don't hesitate to leave a dirty restaurant no matter how good the food is -- so it's always worth putting in that extra effort to ensure everything is spotless.
- It shows that you care about your employees. If your restaurant is not regularly cleaned, it creates an unhealthy and unprofessional work environment. This can lead to high employee turnover and low productivity. Also, a messy, cluttered kitchen is dangerous as well as unsightly. By maintaining high standards of cleanliness, you show that you care about your employees' safety and well-being.
- It's required by law. There are strict laws safeguarding hygiene, health and safety in restaurants globally. If you don't meet these standards, you could face hefty fines or even be forced to close down your establishment.
Restaurant cleaning can be a big job
With our guide, you can easily clean your restaurant without feeling overwhelmed!
A Quick Guide to Restaurant Cleaning
Cleaning may not be the most glamorous part of running a restaurant, but it is essential to ensure that your business runs smoothly. Of course, this is no easy feat -- countless nooks and crannies must be scrubbed, sanitized, and shined. Not to forget the regular grease traps and grime build-up, and the disposal of huge quantities of waste day after day.
To help make the job easier, many restaurants are turning to technological solutions. For instance, they're using automatic trash compactors to compress kitchen waste, including food scraps and packaging materials. This improves overall efficiency and reduces waste storage costs. More and more restaurants have started to install integrated waste management systems to segregate waste. Commercial composting systems then turn food waste into nutrient-rich compost for use in kitchen gardens.
Robots are also deployed to maintain hygiene and cleanliness. Some of these bots use UV light to clean and disinfect surfaces in restaurants. Small enough to fit under tables and chairs, their in-built sensors help them steer clear of obstacles, so they don't damage furniture or walls.
Of course, a restaurant can be cleaned without the gizmos too. All one needs are some essential supplies- gloves, buckets, sponges, mops, trash bags, and cleaning products. Once you have everything you need, it's time to get started.
1. Use Effective Cleaning Supplies
Cleaning a restaurant can be quick and easy with the right cleaning supplies. Here's what you need-
- Heavy duty degreaser- Ideal for getting rid of tough grease stains on cooktops, ovens, and fryers.
- Disinfectant- Helps kill bacteria and viruses that lurk in the cooking and serving areas of a restaurant.
- Acidic cleaners- Excellent for removing mineral deposits and build-up from stainless steel surfaces. They can also be used to clean glassware, dishes, and kitchen utensils.
- Scouring pads- Great for scrubbing away stubborn dirt from surfaces like stainless steel counters and stovetops.
- Sponges- Perfect for quickly wiping down surfaces and soaking up spills.
- Angled brushes- Apt for getting into tight spaces and corners where dirt tends to accumulate.
- Large mop- Necessary for mopping floors quickly. However, choose one with a washable head to reuse multiple times.
- Bucket- Essential for holding water when mopping floors or cleaning surfaces.
- Dust cloths- Important for picking up dust without spreading it around.
- Trash bags- Necessary for collecting trash during cleanup. Get heavy-duty ones that don't rip easily.
- Glass cleaner- Glasses and windows can get grimy quickly in a busy restaurant. A good glass cleaner is essential for keeping windows, mirrors, and other glass surfaces sparkling. A streak-free formula can help.
- Floor cleaner- Floors can be hardest to clean in a busy restaurant, but a good floor cleaner can help get the job done.
- Furniture polish- Polish keeps wooden furniture looking shiny and new. It's also great for removing fingerprints and smudges from tables and chairs.
2. Increase Front-of-house Sterilization Measures
When you walk into a restaurant, the first thing you notice is how clean it is -- whether the floors are shiny or not and if the tables are wiped down. A speck of dirt, food on tables or floor mats, and spilled water can be a major turn-off.
Front of house sterilization ensures that the areas of the restaurant that guests see are clean and free of bacteria. Regularly wipe surfaces, disinfect bathrooms, sweep and mop floors, and clean menus and door handles. Keeping these clean and free of bacteria is essential to preventing the spread of illness among customers and staff.
The front of the house is where customers spend their time, and it is important to make sure everything is clean and sanitary in this area. There are a few different ways to sterilize the front of the house-
- Wipe down surfaces with an antibacterial solution like diluted bleach or alcohol wipes. Be sure to do this several times throughout the day, especially in high-traffic areas.
- In addition to regular wiping, deep cleaning should be done weekly. This involves getting into all the corners that may have been missed during normal cleaning routines.
- All toilets, sinks, showers, and floors must be cleaned regularly. Pay special attention to the toilet bowl brush - this must be replaced frequently to prevent cross-contamination.
- Install hands-free soap dispensers in restrooms. Washing one's hands after using the facilities can go a long way in preventing the spread of illness.
- Menus can get pretty grubby from all the hands that flip through them, so give them a good wipe- down every few days. The same goes for condiment bottles and other items on the table that guests regularly touch.
- Make gloves a must-have for all food handlers. They reduce the risk of cross-contamination.
- If there is a garbage can in the front of house area, it should be emptied regularly to prevent dirt and debris build-up. The same goes for recycling bins.
- Good ventilation keeps fresh air flowing in and frees the place of odor. Ensure adequate airflow by opening windows when the weather permits, or running fans when necessary.
- Use an ozone generator. It creates ozone molecules that bind to dirt and bacteria, effectively killing them. Also available are UV light sanitizers that quickly and easily sanitize high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, door handles, light switches, etc.
You don’t want your restaurant to be the next headline in the news
Follow these restaurant cleaning guidelines and you’ll be able to keep your staff and customers safe
3. Increase Kitchen Sterilization Measures
Restaurant kitchens are often hectic places, with chefs and cooks constantly on the move. This makes it tricky to keep the kitchen clean and sterilized at all times. Cross-contamination between surfaces, utensils, and hands can occur easily if proper hygiene is not maintained. Foodborne outbreaks have often been linked to insufficient handwashing, improper restaurant equipment cleaning, and poor food safety practices. Good foundational knowledge of food handling can steer clear of these risks.
Here's what restaurants can do to improve their restaurant kitchen cleaning measures-
- The first step is to identify the areas of your kitchen that need the most attention when it comes to sterilization. These are typically high-touch surfaces like countertops, cutting boards, and utensils. Once you've identified these, ensure that they're regularly cleaned and disinfected.
- Wash dishes thoroughly in hot water and soap, or use a dishwasher.
- Use single-use items like disposable gloves or paper towels whenever possible.
- Thoroughly cook all food items to their appropriate temperature.
- Storing raw meat and poultry separate from cooked food avoids cross-contamination.
- Train staff to wash hands thoroughly after handling raw meat or poultry.
- Store restaurant cleaning supplies away from food preparation areas to avoid contamination.
- Designate an employee to oversee all cleaning tasks.
A comprehensive course in food handling, like the one offered by Zipfoodhandler
, will help educate staff members on good kitchen sanitation practices. Zipfoodhandler Features
an overview of foodborne illnesses, and ways to prevent them through proper food handling. It trains commercial kitchen staff on good personal hygiene practices and helps them understand safe food preparation techniques, including correct cooking temperatures and storage guidelines. Such courses cover restaurant deep cleaning and sanitizing procedures for utensils, kitchen equipment, and work areas.
4. Always Wear Protective Gear
Commercial restaurant cleaning can be dirty and sometimes downright dangerous, especially when cleaning chemicals are not used properly. The importance of proper protective gear can't be emphasized enough when restaurant deep cleaning is in progress.
Some of the reasons to wear protective gear when cleaning a restaurant are-
- Some cleaning chemicals can cause skin irritation, respiratory problems, and even death if inhaled or if they come into contact with skin. Wearing gloves, goggles, and a face mask helps protect a user from these harmful chemicals.
- Slip-resistant shoes prevent slips and falls -- slippery floors can be dangerous, especially when wet.
- Dust and debris can contain harmful bacteria that can cause respiratory problems. Wearing a dust mask helps reduce the amount of dust and debris that one breathes in during cleaning.
- Moreover, if one does not wear gloves or other protective gear while cleaning, there's a risk of contaminating food surfaces or utensils with bacteria from garbage or cleaning chemicals.
5. Frequently Wash Your Hands
One of the easiest ways to prevent foodborne illness is to wash your hands frequently. When you work at a restaurant, you're constantly in contact with different surfaces and objects -- putting dishes away, handling food, or cleaning up -- and your hands can be a cause for contamination.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hands are one of the chief transmitters of bacteria and germs, so keeping them clean is essential. Washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is the best way to remove germs from restaurant kitchens and prevent the spread of illness.
6. Frequently Clean High Traffic Surfaces
High-traffic areas are breeding grounds for germs, so it is important to keep them clean. This means wiping down tables, chairs, and countertops after every use. It's also important to mop floors frequently and to dust all surfaces regularly.
Why is it so important to keep these areas clean? First and foremost, it's a matter of food safety. If surfaces aren't clean, there's a risk of cross-contamination, which can lead to serious illnesses, especially if someone has a weak immune system. Second, cleanliness is essential for customer satisfaction. Diners won't want to eat in a restaurant that looks dirty or untidy.
There are many reasons to keep high-traffic surfaces in restaurants clean, including-
- To prevent the spread of illness.
- To maintain a professional appearance.
- To avoid slips and falls.
- To prolong the life of your furnishing and equipment.
- To keep pests at bay. Rodents and insects are attracted to food scraps and other debris, so keeping things clean will deter them from setting up camp in your restaurant.
- Allowing dirt and grime to build up on surfaces can lead to costly repairs. For example, if floor tiles become stained or cracked, you might have to cough up a huge amount of money to fix them. However, it is easy to avoid such situations through regular cleaning.
- To protect your restaurant from lawsuits.
- To pass government inspections with flying colors.
You want your restaurant to be clean, but how do you make sure that your staff is following safety protocol?
Our restaurant cleaning guide can keep your staff and customers safe