Restaurant Safety

07 July 2020
Restaurant Safety

Sanitation is often (and erroneously) treated as a secondary concern in restaurants. While it’s true that serving poor-tasting food will eventually cause a restaurant to fail, serving unsanitary meals (or serving in an unsanitary environment) transforms “eventually” into “immediately”. But how do you keep your restaurant truly clean? The answer goes well beyond a mop and bucket. Appropriate sanitary measures are broken down into three tiers: daily, weekly, and monthly tasks.

Daily tasks are, in general, things you probably do already—wipe down walls and countertop equipment (microwaves, coffee makers, etc.), clean grills/ranges/flattops, disinfect prep stations, and clean soda stations/guns. But there are other, less obvious tasks that should be performed daily. Waste disposal areas/garbage cans should be disinfected. The same goes for food prep and dishwashing sinks. Front-of-house tables, counters, and food displays (in pizza shops, for example) should also be cleaned and sanitized daily. You should carefully follow all instructions on product labels, especially disinfectants/sanitizers. These often need to stand on hard surfaces for 5 to 10 minutes, not just be sprayed on and immediately wiped away.

One of the most important—and most frequently botched—daily chores is cleaning floors. All non-carpeted floors (including walk-in coolers and pantries) should be swept thoroughly prior to scrubbing or mopping. Degreaser should be applied to kitchen floors and left to stand for at least 10 minutes so that it can emulsify fats/oils and lift away dirt; floors should then be scrubbed with a brush to further scour away grease and dirt. Only after these soaking and scrubbing steps should the kitchen floors be mopped. Skipping either step results in spreading kitchen grease rather than removing it. Restroom floors should be cleaned and disinfected daily, as should all hard floors in the dining areas. Every zone of the restaurant (kitchen, restrooms, and front of house) should have a dedicated broom and mop to avoid spreading grease, grime, and germs.

Weekly cleaning tasks are also things you probably already do, but perhaps not as frequently as you ought to. Floor drains should be cleaned and disinfected every week, not “as needed”—dirty drains are attractive homes/breeding grounds to flies, roaches, and bacteria like listeria. Floors, walls, and shelves in walk-in coolers and freezers should be cleaned and sanitized weekly. A specialty product like NCL® Frost Free can save considerable time there, as it’s a cleaner formulated to stay liquid at temperatures well-below freezing. Lastly, any deep fryers in the kitchen should be drained, scrubbed, and boiled out with a cleaning agent (like Arrow Chemical – Boilout) at least once per week. If they’re being used primarily for fish or chicken, you may need to drain and boil them out more frequently.

Finally, we come to monthly cleaning tasks. These are chores that may not be done at all in your restaurant—and if they do get done, it’s more likely on a yearly schedule than monthly. The most important of them are cleaning behind the cold line, cleaning behind the hot line, degreasing vents/vent hoods, degreasing the ceilings, and cleaning/disinfecting ice machines. These tasks must all be done outside of normal operating hours since they involve moving, disassembling, or otherwise blocking equipment and seating. Since almost all of the monthly tasks involve degreasing or disinfecting surfaces that aren’t cleaned regularly, using a stronger concentration of product is recommended.

Trust Gergely’s Maintenance King as your professional partner. Whatever your custodial needs, we can help you find the right products to get the job done.

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