Going out to eat is a treat. Having food prepared and served in a clean environment is an expectation most of us take for granted. Cleanliness is paramount to food safety. So they next time you are out to eat at your favorite restaurant, keep your eyes on these five indicators of restaurant cleanliness.
5 Restaurant Trouble Spots
- Restrooms. This one may seem like a no-brainer. Bathrooms are frequently used, high-traffic areas in restaurants. They are bound to accumulate dirt, grime and germs. Staying on top of restroom cleanliness is paramount for restaurant owners, however. Online reviews and anecdotes about dining experiences are rife with how clean or dirty a restaurant’s bathroom was. Restaurants can stay on top of restroom cleanliness by:
- Stocking them regular with paper products, hand soap and towels.
- Creating a restroom care schedule for staff, or hiring a cleaning company to attend to them daily.
- Deep cleaning on at least a weekly basis. This will help to remove lingering odors and discoloration on floors and walls.
- Floors. Floors are among the first things you notice when you walk into a restaurant. You notice them at your table, at the bar and when you’re walking across them. Consumer polls reveal over and over again that customers value the presence of a clean floor. Restaurants should take care to not only sweep floors, but to deep clean them, paying attention to grout, carpet stains, grease and grime. Floor cleanliness can be maintained with:
- A floor cleaning policy that includes several deep cleaning steps beyond simply sweeping. Tiles floors especially should be well-cleaned to prevent grout and tile from staining over time.
- Regular carpet care. Carpets can not only look dirty, they can also harbor unpleasant odors. Vacuum and steam clean carpets regularly to keep them looking and smelling fresh.
- Staff. Restaurant employees communicate the style and feel of a restaurant. They are also billboard for a foodservice business’s level of cleanliness. Food stains on clothing and other items, dirty hands and soiled uniforms are things restaurant patrons notice. They are also important for food safety. Personal hygiene should be promoted by management, and regular hand washing with foaming or liquid hand soap should be performed regularly by all restaurant employees.
- Kitchen. The beating heart of a restaurant is its kitchen. Some kitchens are open and visible to patrons. Others are just behind some swinging doors. The cleanliness of the front of house is often a reflection of the cleanliness of the kitchen. And even if it isn’t, customers will likely think it is. A clean kitchen is important for food safety, of course, but also for the safety of staff. Greasy floors, slippery surfaces and dirty equipment can all pose risks.
- Tables. Dirty tables are quickly picked up by customers’ radar. And few things are more unappetizing than sitting down at a dirty table that has remnants of food and grime from previous diners. Staff should wipe tables clean between seatings with an all-purpose cleaner. After hours the tables and the areas around them should also be deep cleaned to prevent build-up of dirt, germs and odors. Customers interact more directly with a table than any other part of a restaurant. Cleanliness here is extremely important.
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