Maintaining your restaurant premises (your kitchen, dining area and bathrooms) is part of your task of providing an overall experience for your customer. Maintenance, although less interesting and exciting than whipping up the menu items, is a necessary part of your restaurant business. Scheduled cleaning activities minimize trips and spills, as well as any food-borne illnesses that may harm your customers.
Here are some tips to ensure that your restaurant is regularly cleaned and well-maintained:
- Check the walls, ceilings and wall décor. Dust and cobwebs can collect on surfaces – on the walls, lighting fixtures, the ceilings and ceiling fans, as well as their nooks and crannies. Small insects can make their homes in the cracks. This is especially crucial in the kitchen area, where the dirt and critters can fall into the food. Armed with a ladder, feather duster and broom, give the walls and other surfaces a thorough rubdown. For framed wall-art, you can use a glass cleaner to clear streaks and marks on the glass. Be sure to also wipe the top of the frames, where dust can gather.
- Perform plant maintenance. Aside from daily watering, you also need to regularly check to get rid of dried and fallen leaves that may tempt vermin into roosting in the pots. You also have to trim the plants and set them out in the sun to keep them healthy.
- Inspect and clean kitchen hoods, ducts and vents. Every quarter, make sure that these are inspected by a cleaning company that has been certified to clean and check these areas. Certified commercial cleaning companies have the training, know-how and tools to ensure that your hoods and vents pass safety and cleanliness standards and that these present no imminent hazards (such as fire hazards).
- Clean and sanitize often ignored areas and items. Tabletop items such as salt & pepper shakers, ketchup bottles and menus look innocuous but can actually harbor dangerous germs. Imagine babies in high chairs grabbing on to the salt shaker and using it as a teether. Imagine a diner going into the restroom and touching the menu with unwashed hands. Make it a policy for those bussing and cleaning the table to clean these with sanitary wipes. The same goes for the kitchen. Often-ignored items such as the phone, cheese grater or can opener may also act as germ repositories so be sure to regularly clean these as well.
- Check and block possible vermin entrances. Rats, cockroaches and other vermin can try to get into your storage area – and contaminate your ingredients. Do a regular sweep of your storage areas to see if there are holes or cracks by which insects and rats can use to enter the premises. Make sure that these are blocked. It can also be helpful to keep the storage area organized and that all items are placed on shelves and pallets – never on the floor. If things get too problematic, you can also consider hiring a professional exterminator who can safely and effectively get rid of any vermin.
- Make a regular sweep of inventory. This will help you root out any stock that has gone past its use by date. As you organize, you can push newer stock to the back of the shelves while placing items with closer use by dates at the front.
- Assign weekly and monthly cleaning duties to staff. Each staff should have regular cleaning duties that can be done in rotation. For each week, the staff should clean up the drain and grease traps by pouring drain cleaner, delime the faucets and sinks, as well as clean the coffee machines and ice machines. For each month, the staff should work on cleaning the refrigerators and freezers, scrubbing down dry and wet storage areas, cleaning exhaust hoods, as well as the reach-in areas. They should also move appliances and other heavy kitchen equipment away from the wall to clean the area. The area behind the hot line in fryers, stoves and ovens should also be cleaned to prevent the buildup of grease.