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Cleaning in Restaurants - Best Practices for a Sanitary Environment

Tillie Demetriou
3 Jul 2023

Cleaning in restaurant – now, it may not be the most glamorous topic out there, but trust me, it's a game-changer when it comes to creating a safe and inviting dining experience. We're here to spill the beans on the best practices for achieving a squeaky-clean and sanitary environment in restaurants. So, let's cut to the chase and get down to the nitty-gritty of restaurant cleaning!

Imagine this: you walk into a restaurant, ready to dig into a scrumptious meal. But hold on a second! The tables are a bit sticky, the menus have seen better days, and you can't help but notice a layer of dust lurking in the corners. Suddenly, your appetite takes a hit, and you start wondering about the cleanliness of the kitchen. That's the cost of poor hygiene and cleaning.

That's why we're here to guide you through the ins and outs of maintaining a spotless restaurant. Whether you're a restaurant owner, a leader dealing in restaurant operations management, or just someone who can't resist a great dining experience, we've got your back. We'll spill all the tea on creating a clean and hygienic space (and an awesome restaurant cleaning checklist) that will have your customers coming back for seconds.

So, grab a cup of coffee, roll up your sleeves, and get ready to dive headfirst into the world of restaurant cleaning best practices. Together, we'll transform your establishment into a shining example of cleanliness that will keep your customers coming back for more. Let's get this cleaning party started!

Preparing for cleaning:

Alright, let's get this cleaning party started! Before we dive into the actual cleaning process, it's essential to be well-prepared. So, grab your gloves, dust off your mop, and let's talk about how to get ready for a thorough restaurant cleaning. Here's what you need to do:

Assembling your arsenal: Cleaning supplies and cleaning equipment

First things first, gather all the necessary cleaning supplies and equipment. Think about it as assembling your cleaning arsenal. You'll need items like:

  • disinfectant cleaners
  • sanitizing wipes
  • microfiber cloths
  • mops
  • brooms
  • vacuum cleaners
  • trash bags 

Don't forget to stock up on gloves, aprons, and any other personal protective equipment (PPE) you may need. Assign a designated cleaning storage area where you can keep all your supplies neatly organized. This way, you'll always know where to find what you need when it's time to clean.

Training your cleaning dream team

Now that you have your supplies ready, it's crucial to ensure that your staff is trained in proper cleaning tasks and techniques. A well-trained team will work efficiently and maintain consistency throughout the cleaning process. Schedule a training session to demonstrate the correct use of cleaning products, teach proper techniques for different surfaces (such as wooden surfaces or stainless steel surfaces), and emphasize the importance of following safety guidelines.

Create a cleaning manual or guide that outlines the step-by-step procedures for each area of the restaurant. This restaurant cleaning checklist will serve as a handy reference for your staff and ensure that everyone follows the same cleaning protocols.

Establishing a cleaning schedule and assigning responsibilities

To maintain a clean and organized restaurant, it's essential to establish a cleaning schedule and assign specific responsibilities to your team members. Divide the restaurant cleaning tasks into daily, weekly, and monthly routines, depending on the frequency required for each area.

Use a restaurant cleaning checklist or a restaurant kitchen cleaning checklist to ensure that no area or task is overlooked. This checklist will serve as your trusty companion, guiding you through the cleaning process and helping you keep track of completed tasks.

By assembling your cleaning supplies, training your staff, and establishing a cleaning schedule with assigned responsibilities, you'll set the stage for a successful cleaning operation. So, gear up and get ready to turn your restaurant into a gleaming haven of cleanliness!

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Front of house cleaning checklist

Ah, the front of the house – the face of your restaurant that leaves a lasting impression on your customers. To create a welcoming and clean environment for your guests, let's tackle the restaurant cleaning tasks specific to the front of the house. Get ready to make your dining area shine!

Tackling tables, chairs, and surfaces

First up in getting your restaurant clean is to start by clearing and wiping down the tables, chairs, and other surfaces in the dining area. Remove any crumbs or debris, and give them a thorough cleaning using appropriate disinfectant cleaners. Pay special attention to high-touch areas like table edges, armrests, and chair backs.

Polishing glassware and utensils

Clean and sparkling glassware and utensils are a must for any clean restaurant. Give them the attention they deserve by thoroughly washing, rinsing, and polishing them. Inspect for any spots or stains and make sure everything shines like new. Encourage your staff to inspect glassware and utensils before placing them on tables to ensure they are spotless. A little extra care goes a long way in leaving a positive impression on your customers.

Keeping floors and carpets immaculate

Next up, let's address the floors and carpets. Sweep and mop floors in the dining room to remove any dirt or debris, paying attention to corners and hard-to-reach areas. For carpets, consider monthly deep cleaning to maintain their appearance and freshness. Place mats at entrances and high-traffic areas to minimize dirt and moisture from being tracked into the dining area. This will help keep your floors cleaner for longer.

Cleaning windows and mirrors

Windows and mirrors are often overlooked but can make a significant difference in the overall appearance of your restaurant. Wipe them down with a streak-free glass cleaner, ensuring a crystal-clear view for your guests. Schedule regular window and mirror cleaning to maintain their cleanliness and clarity. Don't forget about entrance doors and windows, as they contribute to the first impression of your restaurant.

By tackling tables, chairs, surfaces, glassware, utensils, floors, carpets, windows, and mirrors, you'll transform the front of the house into a clean and inviting space. Your guests will appreciate the attention to detail and feel confident in having a clean restaurant. Keep following your trusty restaurant cleaning checklist, and let's move on to the next cleaning challenge!

PSTTT. You should also dust ceiling fans or any other hidden or hard to reach areas.

Back of house cleaning checklist

Now, let's shift our focus to the back of the house, where the magic happens in the kitchen and other operational areas of your restaurant. It's crucial to maintain a clean and organized back of the house to ensure food safety and a smooth workflow. Let's roll up our sleeves and dive into the cleaning tasks specific to this area!

Sanitizing food preparation surfaces and equipment

In the heart of the back of the house lies the food preparation area. Start by thoroughly sanitizing all food preparation surfaces, including countertops, cutting boards, and food preparation stations. Use appropriate sanitizing solutions or disinfectants to eliminate any potential bacteria or cross-contamination risks. 

Create a regular restaurant cleaning schedule and restaurant kitchen cleaning checklist for deep cleaning larger equipment, such as ovens, grills, fryers, and range hoods. This helps to remove built-up grease and maintain the efficiency of your kitchen equipment.

Scrubbing sinks and drains

Sinks and drains can quickly accumulate grime and become a breeding ground for bacteria. Regularly clean and sanitize your sinks, faucets, and drains to prevent odors and maintain a hygienic environment. Consider using drain cleaners or enzymatic solutions to keep drains clear and free from clogs.

Train your staff to clean as they go, ensuring that dishes, utensils, and other kitchen items are promptly washed and placed in designated areas. This helps to minimize clutter and maintain a tidy workspace.

Deep cleaning storage areas and refrigeration units

Storage areas, walk-in refrigerators, and freezers play a vital role in food safety and quality. Set up a routine to deep clean these areas frequently, removing expired or spoiled items, wiping down shelves, and sanitizing surfaces. Pay attention to temperature controls and ensure proper organization to avoid cross-contamination.

Consider implementing a labeling system for stored food items, including dates of storage and expiration. This helps to ensure that food is used in a timely manner and reduces the risk of serving expired products.

Maintaining employee break areas and restrooms

Don't forget about the employee break areas and restrooms! These spaces also require regular restaurant cleaning and maintenance. Clean and disinfect restrooms, including toilets, sinks, and surfaces. Keep the break areas tidy, providing a clean and comfortable space for your hardworking staff.

Implementing a "clean as you go" approach as part of your restaurant staff responsibilities. Provide restaurant cleaning supplies and remind everyone of their role in maintaining a clean work environment.

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Implementing food safety practices:

When it comes to running a restaurant, food safety is of utmost importance. Proper food handling and storage practices not only protect the health of your customers but also maintain the reputation and success of your establishment. Let's explore some key food safety practices that you should implement in your restaurant.

Train your staff on food safety protocols

First and foremost, ensure that all your staff members receive comprehensive training on food safety protocols. This includes proper handwashing techniques, safe food handling practices, and understanding the importance of temperature control and cross-contamination prevention. 

It goes without saying, but you must make food safety training a priority during employee onboarding and provide regular refresher courses to keep everyone up to date.

Display food safety guidelines and reminders in the kitchen area as visual cues. This will help reinforce best practices, promote a culture of food safety and help with staff efficiency.

Establish standard operating procedures (SOPs)

Develop and document standard operating procedures (SOPs) for critical food safety processes. SOPs outline step-by-step instructions for tasks such as receiving and inspecting food deliveries, storing perishable items at the correct temperatures, and cooking foods to proper internal temperatures. These procedures ensure consistency and minimize the risk of errors or oversights.

Regularly review and update your SOPs to incorporate any changes in food safety regulations or industry best practices. And make sure they’re easy to access, so that everyone knows what, where and how food should be stored and cooked.

Monitor and record temperatures

Maintaining proper temperatures is crucial to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and ensure food safety. Use temperature monitoring devices such as thermometers and digital probes to check and record the temperatures of refrigerators, freezers, and cooking equipment. Regularly monitor the temperature of food during storage and cooking processes to ensure compliance with food safety guidelines.

Create a temperature log to track temperature measurements and make it easily accessible for your staff. This log will serve as a record of due diligence and provide a reference for any necessary corrective actions.

Implement a system for food rotation

Implement a system for proper food rotation to minimize the risk of serving expired or spoiled products. Follow the "first in, first out" (FIFO) principle by organizing your inventory in a way that ensures older items are used or sold before newer ones. Regularly check expiration dates, label items with date information, and train your staff on proper inventory management techniques.

Conduct regular audits of your inventory to identify and remove any expired or damaged products. This will help maintain the freshness and quality of your ingredients.

Clean as a whistle!

In conclusion, maintaining a clean and sanitary environment in your restaurant is essential for creating a safe and inviting dining experience.

By following the best practices outlined in your restaurant management and utilizing a comprehensive restaurant cleaning checklist, you can ensure that every aspect of your establishment, from the front of the house to the back, is spotless and hygienic.

Regularly cleaning and sanitizing surfaces, implementing food safety practices, and training your staff on proper procedures will go a long way in preserving the health and satisfaction of your customers.

So, let's embrace the power of cleanliness and elevate your restaurant to new heights of excellence.Cheers to a sparkling, safe, and successful dining establishment!

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