Revamp Your Restaurant! The Ultimate Kitchen Cleaning Checklist

Keeping your restaurant clean and up to national health standards will keep your plate full most days. However, creating a detailed cleaning and maintenance plan can help streamline the process and ensure you comply with standard protocols. A comprehensive maintenance plan will have different levels that designate the frequency of cleaning tasks and the equipment that should be used. While a floor-to-ceiling daily sanitization routine is neither necessary nor feasible in a busy restaurant, maintaining good practices on an outlined schedule helps prevent the build-up of dirt and bacteria that can lead to health code violations in the future. Use this guide to help identify your restaurant’s maintenance needs, the frequency of tasks and the equipment needed to efficiently complete the tasks, so you can get back to serving guests.

Identifying the Needs and Frequency of Cleans

Organizing your tasks using a daily, weekly, and monthly delegation design is beneficial in a restaurant setting. This will help ensure that all tasks are completed when needed and help prevent waste from repetitive tasks. Within this system, separating expected tasks and materials between your Front and Back of House teams will help streamline the process and avoid cross-contamination.

Front of House

The main points of contention for the front-of-house staff will be the dining room, bar, and areas between the dining room and dish pit. You want to ensure that all dirty plates and utensils are removed promptly from the dining area and only returned to guest areas once clean. This is especially important for high-touch places such as bars, where multiple customers come and go simultaneously. Below are some example tasks that can be delegated to the front-of-house team.

Daily Tasks

  • Wipe tables, chairs and booths with sanitizer and cloths after each guest;
  • Also, sanitize items that remain on tables (i.e. condiments, menu cards, etc.)
  • Sweep and mop floors after each lunch and dinner service and as needed throughout the shift;
  • Sanitize menus after each use;
  • Sanitize high-touch surfaces in the washrooms every hour and deep clean toilets and sinks at the end of each day;
  • Sanitize door handles and Point-of-Sale/payment systems throughout the day;
  • Polish glassware after washing it and before giving it to guests.

Weekly Tasks

  • Wiping down high-touch walls;
  • Dusting and sanitizing shelving and storage units;
  • Removing stuck gum from under tables;
  • Cleaning tables bases and chair legs;
  • Dusting light fixtures;
  • Changing out and cleaning permanent table settings/decorations.

Monthly Tasks

  • Clean windows and doors;
  • Cleaning the upholstery of benches and booths (if applicable);
  • Outdoor maintenance of the patio and waste disposal areas;
  • Remove, sanitize, and reorganize products behind the bar;
  • Run descaling agents through necessary appliance lines (i.e., coffee machines, beer taps)

Back of House

Ensuring food preparation areas and utensils are constantly cleaned in the kitchen and surrounding back-of-house areas will be vital for avoiding cross-contamination and maintaining compliance. The specific tasks will vary based on the restaurant size and the equipment used, but below is a general guide for keeping up to code and ensuring your kitchen operates efficiently.

Daily Tasks

  • Wipe down all food preparation surfaces throughout the day;
  • Continuously switch out washcloths and aprons;
  • Sweep and mop floors as needed (at least once before and after service rushes);
  • Empty trash bins and food disposal as needed;
  • Sanitize all surfaces in the dish pit.

Weekly Tasks

  • Wipe fridge and freezer shelving;
  • Clean the inside of appliances such as the dishwasher, oven, and deep fryer;
  • Clear drains and sink garbage disposal;

Monthly Tasks

  • Empty any grease traps and clean drain lines;
  • Clean vent hoods;
  • Run chemicals through necessary appliance lines (i.e., dishwashers)

Tip: Have multiple copies of your checklist available for staff to consult while on the floor. Designate a manager to ensure the daily/weekly/monthly tasks are completed at specified times. Additionally, keep a record of this for health inspectors.

Implementing the Right Cleaning Tools

Industrial Equipment

Having the right equipment on hand to complete your cleaning and sanitization routines will save you time, energy and labor hours. Look to invest in quality machinery that is suitable for the size of your restaurant to get the most out of your equipment. Here are some of the essentials worth investing in.

  • Steam cleaner: A high-temperature and high-pressure steam cleaner for large hard surface areas will be ideal for quickly sanitizing. When used correctly, a steam cleaner that can produce pressurized steam of at least 212 degrees Fahrenheit will kill 99.9% of bacteria and mold. In the kitchen, surfaces such as industrial ovens, fridges, and stove hoods can be cleaned regularly with a steam cleaner. Using the right attachments will make your equipment even more versatile. For example, a grout brush can help you reach small divots prone to collecting dirt, while a towel can be attached to a larger grout brush to turn your steam cleaner into a steam mop for the floors.
  • Pressure washer: A pressure washer will be ideal for exterior and seasonal maintenance of the restaurant. The high-pressure water levels can quickly clean the sides of buildings, windows, patio concrete, and patio furniture. Be sure to follow all safety precautions and never use a pressure washer inside the restaurant, as water can easily ricochet in enclosed spaces.
  • Carpet extractor: A carpet and upholstery extractor will drastically improve the cleanliness and efficiency of any carpet and upholstery cleaning that needs to be done in the restaurant. If your business has a lot of booths and benches, investing in quality upholstery equipment will allow you to clean it more often and increase the longevity of the furniture. In the long run, investing in pricier equipment that suits your restaurant’s needs can be more cost-effective than outsourcing to a cleaning company once a month.

Everyday Cleaning Essentials

  • Brooms: Keep multiple brooms and dustpans around the restaurant for easy access to clean debris off the floor. Use different brooms for front-of-house, back-of-house, and patio cleaning to help limit tracking waste throughout the restaurant.
  • Mops and/or vacuums: Mopping up spills is another one in the restaurant. Due to the restaurant’s fast-paced environment, mops are often misused and can quickly become saturated and soiled. Be sure to properly clean mop heads and use sanitizing products when deep cleaning the floors. A vacuum cleaner will also be essential for a restaurant with carpet.
  • Microfibre cloths: Lastly, microfibre cloths are multi-use cloths that can be used for polishing silverware and glass and also for wiping surfaces after spraying sanitizer. Be sure to keep polishing cloths separate from sanitizing cloths to avoid bacteria being transmitted to clean utensils and glassware.

Tip: Switch out washcloths regularly to avoid cross-contamination between people, food-borne bacteria, and allergens during mid-service cleans. Bacteria can easily be transferred from surface to surface, even with the presence of chemical sanitizers.

Chemicals

Cleaning chemicals are of particular concern in restaurants as they are necessary yet dangerous contaminants to food if mishandled. Health and safety for handling chemicals around food should be a priority in your restaurant. For restaurants in America, the FDA Food Code helps to outline guidelines for maintaining compliance with health and safety standards around chemicals. The most recent

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  • Lucas

    Hi I am, a passionate and self-sufficient ‘USA’ resident who never depends on others to clean cars, other vehicles, decks, patios, driveways, sidewalks, and the exterior of my house. When I’m not busy always love to research new techniques to improve my cleaning skills and spend time maintaining pressure washers to keep them in top condition.

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