Cleaning and Sanitizing your Restaurant
Cleaning – what a chore?! Not everyone loves doing it and not everyone understands the importance of a clean restaurant. Everyone completely understands and agrees with the importance of keeping the kitchen clean but what about the rest of the restaurant? Every inch of your restaurant should be spotless – if the front of house is filthy, imagine what the back of house looks like.
It doesn’t matter what the style of your restaurant is or the cuisine you serve, you need to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses otherwise staff and patrons will get sick which will ultimately lead to loss of revenue. The biggest hurdle in the fight to keep bacteria and viruses in check is teaching your staff the importance of thorough cleaning and sanitization.
Here are 3 simple steps to help you operationalize cleaning:
- Develop a Master Schedule
Do you know what the key timeframes are in your restaurant? There are two key timeframes in every restaurant - when employee shifts start and your busiest times of day in terms of customers. You also need to consider where your contamination areas are. Once you have worked out your key timeframes and contamination areas, you can determine a rough schedule for your restaurant. Your schedule should contain which areas need to be cleaned, how often they need to be cleaned and who should be carrying out the cleaning duties in each area. Have you remembered to include customer-facing items such as the menus, seating, condiments, point of sale system and so on? You will need to add these items to the schedule to ensure they are cleaned on a regular basis rather than forgotten about. Remember to make the document easily accessible for staff by either pinning it on the staff noticeboard or storing it in a file, if you decide to store the document in a file then remember to inform staff on where they need to be looking.
- Demonstrate Cleaning Procedures
It is one thing to give the instruction to carry out cleaning procedures but staff cannot complete these tasks to your standards if you haven’t shown them how. Gather your existing staff and show them what you want done as well as how you want it done. When new staff members join your team, arrange for another staff member (or yourself, if you have the time) to show the new recruit what needs to be done and where. This is also a great opportunity to remind everyone where they can find the document. Show staff where buckets, towels and the other equipment is kept for cleaning. Don’t forget to show them how to clean and sanitize these items on a regular basis. It’s no good having a fantastic cleaning schedule in place and teaching your staff to follow this schedule if you’re using dirty equipment to clean with.
- 3. Supply Protective Gear/Equipment
You also need to ensure your staff members are supplied with the appropriate aprons, hats, gloves and any other gear need in order to carry out their duties safely. You should also be teaching employees to remove these items when they leave the relevant cleaning area to ensure cross-contamination doesn’t take place. This information should be discussed during training to ensure everyone is on the same page and the restaurant cleaning procedures are carried out correctly.
Finding the time to put together a schedule may be challenging but you only need to do it once and re-evaluate the schedule when something changes or every few months, whichever comes first, to ensure everything is being taken care of. A schedule paired with well trained staff will ensure you have peace of mind during day-to-day operations and you won’t feel caught off-guard during a surprise health inspection.