The restaurant industry might have taken a $240 billion knock last year, but things are starting to get back to normal again.
Are you one of the fortunate few who are planning to reopen your commercial kitchen soon? Now’s a good a time as any to get your kitchen up to scratch, and spic and span before the hungry hordes descend.
Here’s how you can improve your commercial kitchen cleaning game and what you stand to gain from it.
Why Is a Clean Kitchen So Important?
A dirty, untidy kitchen is a recipe for disaster in the catering industry.
For starters, you could end up in hot water with the authorities during an inspection. There are strict laws regarding food safety in the USA, and you’ll lose your license to trade after repeat offenses.
Nobody wants to eat in a restaurant that looks or smells dirty. Lack of cleanliness will drive customers away and could even make them ill. The last thing your restaurant needs is to end up trending on social media for all the wrong reasons.
Customers who have an unpleasant experience at your restaurant will tell all their friends and family about it. They’ll also share their trials with their hundreds of Twitter and Facebook friends and followers.
A few bad reviews on Yelp or any other review platform can kill your business.
Although food safety is the main driver behind restaurant cleanliness, there are also safety issues to contend with. Wet or greasy floors can lead to nasty slip and fall accidents. Disorganized kitchens can present tripping hazards and let you overlook spoiled inventory.
Poorly maintained rubber mats can also cause problems.
Workplace accidents can cost you a lot of money and even lead to lengthy and expensive lawsuits.
Set Up a Commercial Kitchen Cleaning Routine
Planning is always a good place to start whenever you’re faced with a mammoth task. When you work in the food industry, it’s the law.
State laws dictate the rules for commercial kitchens. The best way to ensure compliance with these is with meticulous planning.
Set up a cleaning schedule for your premises that includes daily, weekly, and monthly chores to ensure your kitchen stays hygienic and safe.
Environmental Health Officers can pop in any time to check whether you have a plan in place and whether you’re implementing it. So, make sure you’ve got everything in order and that your employees know how to clean your kitchen and when to do each area.
Divide these chores equally between employees and give them a list of duties in order of importance. You can also split these tasks into time slots i.e. monthly, weekly, and daily or per shift.
Provide each person with a checklist of their duties and place a supervisor or your head chef in charge of ensuring everything gets done.
Monthly Deep Cleaning
At least once a month, you should dedicate at least a day to deep cleaning your commercial kitchen. It’s best to hire a professional cleaning company for this task, but you can use trusted employees too.
If you can’t close your business for an entire day, split these tasks over a few days, with a few hours dedicated to each one.
Some issues you should deal with during deep cleaning include:
- Hard-to-clean areas
- Fridges, freezers, and cold rooms
- Storage cupboards
- Washing behind the hotline
- Running cleaning chemicals through your coffee machines
- Cleaning your ice machine
- Cleaning refrigerator coils
- Emptying grease traps
Now’s a good time to check for the tell-tale signs of pests and put traps or other pest control measures in place.
It’s the perfect opportunity for commercial hood cleaning, and you can also tackle any burned-in grime on your stoves and ovens with a heavy-duty degreaser.
Regular Cleaning Tasks
Sticking to your daily cleaning schedule is the best way to ensure your deep cleaning efforts don’t go to waste. Check out these examples of regular cleaning tasks for every restaurant:
At the end of every shift, or after preparing individual meals, there are a few tasks that take priority. These are:
- Cleaning food prep areas
- Sanitizing work surfaces
- Washing chopping boards
- Changing dishcloths and towels
- Washing cooking utensils in warm soapy water
- Wiping down of grills after each order
Regular handwashing is imperative when working with food, and you must empty your waste bins as soon as they’re full.
Every day, employees should clean appliances and scrub all surfaces with boiling soapy water. They should clean the hob or gas boiler and its surroundings, and sanitize the interior of the ovens.
Other tasks include:
- Cleaning the top and underside of griddles rangers, fryers, and flattops
- Changing the foil lining on ranges, grills, and flattops.
- Wiping down appliances like toasters, slicers, and coffee machines
- Disinfecting prep areas and waste areas
- Cleaning soda guns and beverage dispenser heads
- Disinfecting sinks
- Washing towels, rags, uniforms, and aprons
- Sweeping floors and walk-in storage areas
Throw away any leftover or unused food that’s past its expiry date and wash down the floors with anti-bacterial cleaner and boiling water.
Weekly Cleaning Chores
Clean out your fridges every week and sanitize them with a food-safe anti-bacterial solution. Check for expired food items in the process.
Clean and sanitize all taps, sinks, and drain areas. De-scale kettles and de-lime faucets and sinks.
Clean out your toasters, boil out the deep fryer, empty, and clean coffee machines. Finally, you should clean and disinfect your floor drain.
Get Into the Nooks and Crannies
Insist your cleaners get to grips with the hidden areas of your kitchen daily. These places aren’t as in-your-face as countertops and cooking appliances, which makes them a haven for bacteria and grime.
- Underneath and behind appliances
- Skirting areas
- The top of shelves
- Any gaps in between equipment
- Fridge and freezer seals
- Walls and light fittings
- Around the base of surfaces
Wiping these areas daily prevents a build-up of unseen dirt and grime that can become a breeding ground for serious contamination.
Rooting Out the Invisible Enemy
Despite your best efforts, regular cleaning isn’t always enough to deter bacteria and viruses from breeding unseen inside your kitchen. Boiling water and anti-bacterial or anti-viral sanitizers and soaps are the best way to keep these organisms at bay.
When you’re dealing with food, wet cloths, and store-bought cleaner doesn’t cut it. Use a commercial kitchen cleaner approved for use around food to ensure the health and safety of your employees and clients.
Getting Around Restaurant Cleaning Challenges
Honestly, nobody really enjoys cleaning, and that includes those employees charged with these duties. These chores only add to an already jam-packed schedule and can seem overwhelming after an exceptionally busy day.
Different areas require different approaches and it’s tempting to skimp on those areas that need a little more elbow grease, like ovens.
Most employees in the food industry are young, temporary workers who aren’t committed to taking on jobs that require extra effort. Some might not understand what’s required of them.
That’s why it’s important to train your employees about the importance of cleaning and try to figure out ways to make these tasks easier for them. If all else fails, you can hire a daily cleaning company to ensure your commercial kitchen stays in top shape.
Commercial Kitchen Cleaning Hacks
Some commercial cleaning chores are totally unrewarding. For instance, sweeping and mopping your floors never seems to get rid of all the grease.
A traditional bucket and mop are simply no match for ingrained grease that rapidly spread far and wide. One of the best cleaning tips for kitchen floors is to use a suitably diluted degreaser.
This formula emulsifies grease, and oils within a few minutes, making it easy to wipe them away.
A steam cleaner makes short work of hard-to-reach areas. A hand-held vacuum can quickly get rid of irritating crumbs or sugar granules that seem to get everywhere.
Researching and modifying domestic cleaning shortcuts to suit your situation can inspire shortcuts. Getting the right tools for the job makes it easy to keep your commercial kitchen clean safe and sanitary.
Get More Business Insights
When your restaurant is clean and sanitary, it’s a pleasure to work in it. This helps with employee motivation, boosts productivity, and ultimately leads to happy customers.
Happy customers leave bigger tips, which is enough motivation for your employees to get stuck in and help clean.
Is commercial kitchen cleaning the furthest thing from your mind right now? Check out our blog for the latest news and information on a wide range of other topics.