COVID-19 has made the general public much more aware of restaurant cleanliness. Here’s your perfect opportunity to do the kind of deep cleaning that makes regular spring-cleaning look like a light dusting – and make it part of your routine.
“Cleaning is getting the visible; disinfecting is getting the invisible, the germs, the viruses.”Cleaning Expert Mark Mellish, Owner of Saskatoon Janitorial
Here’s how to do it right:
Think like Mr. Clean
It’s not just about cleaning now, it’s about sanitizing. That means sanitizing all work surfaces (i.e., countertops, equipment, etc.) and focusing on key touchpoints (tables, chairs, door handles, credit/debit machines, self-serve kiosks, light switches, utensils/plate ware… anywhere hands can carry germs). Back-of-house and front-of-house should both receive heightened attention.
Institute a cleaning schedule
Even if you haven’t reopened to dine-in business and with fewer staff in place, you still need a rigorous cleaning schedule and checklist that you share with all employees. Hourly cleaning may sound excessive, but it will ensure your surfaces remain clean – and likely germ-free.
Read the labels
The fine print on cleaning products recommends how long to keep the disinfectants on the surface for them to be effective at killing germs. Also, make sure you’re using the right product for the right job. Homemade mixtures with vinegar, for instance, have not been shown to be potent enough against COVID-19.
Don’t forget your washrooms
While washrooms are removed from the kitchen and dining area, they, too, need extreme cleaning. That means toilets, stalls, hand dryers, toilet paper dispensers, sinks, waste bins, and any other people-facing equipment.
Mind your menus
If menus can be discarded, whether they’re made of paper or plastic, replace them with new ones. If you have laminated menus and this isn’t feasible, disinfect them carefully and “isolate” them from everyday use until it’s safe to return to more normal operations.
Remember, the little things count
Deep cleaning means taking into consideration even the smallest items, such as the salt and pepper shakers. Empty them before cleaning and allow them to air dry before refilling. Empty and thoroughly clean any other tabletop food containers, like ketchup, mustard and vinegar dispensers.
Give walls, curtains and blinds a thorough cleansing
COVID-19 is a respiratory virus and not considered to be a food-borne illness. To be on the safe side, clean vertical surfaces, which may carry air-borne pathogens.
Let your customers know
Use social media and signage in your front window to tell diners what steps you’re taking to keep your operation clean. Use this as an opportunity to keep in touch and keep customers informed and loyal. They’ll thank you for the care you’re taking.
About the Author
Jane Auster is the editor of ChefConnexion.com. She has been a foodservice writer and editor for more than 30 years. Jane was the editor of Your Foodservice Manager, a national magazine for professionals in the foodservice and hospitality industry in Canada, and FoodBiz.ca digital site. She was also editorial consultant and managing editor for the relaunch of Flavours magazine.