Keeping your restaurant clean, particularly the kitchen, is non-negotiable. Not only is it important to keep your kitchen clean and sanitary for the sake of your guests, but it is a must for keeping your doors open! Having a spotless kitchen and dining area promotes an enjoyable experience for restaurant-goers as much as staff members and restaurant owners.

It can be a challenge to stay on top of keeping pristine restaurant and kitchen during busier holiday seasons, but these tips and checklists can help.

Front of House Cleaning Checklist

  1. Clean tables, chairs or benches, and wash any reusable napkins and tablecloths.
  2. Vacuum your carpeting.
  3. Inspect condiments you leave on tables to ensure they are clean.
  4. Disinfect door handles.
  5. Wash windows, mirrors, and other glass surfaces.
  6. Inspect your air ducts and make sure they are free of dust buildup.
  7. Wipe light fixtures and change any burned bulbs. You’ll want to dust other decorate fixtures and paintings as well.

Back of House Cleaning Checklist

  1. If your kitchen is seeing higher than normal use, remember to get your kitchen exhaust system checked and cleaned more frequently as grease will build up at a faster pace. This will not only ensure your kitchen stays clean and your food gets cooked in the most sanitary way possible, but will help you avoid any fire hazards!
  2. Change the foil linings of your grill, range, and fryer. And don’t forget to clean behind and underneath the equipment too.
  3. Disinfect ovens, racks, prep surfaces, meat slicers, other countertops. Wipe any walls that may have had food or liquids splashed on them.
  4. Disinfect your waste disposal area to prevent pests as well as the spread of bacteria.
  5. Clean your dishwasher, can opener, popcorn machines, soda fountains, coffee machines, ice machines, and other equipment before using it.
  6. Finally, don’t forget about the floors in your kitchen as well as your staff restrooms and guest bathrooms. You’ll also want to disinfect toilets, sinks, and soap or paper towel dispensers.

Cleaning Mistakes to Avoid

There is definitely a right way and a wrong way to go about cleaning. Make sure your staff or the kitchen hood cleaning company you hire isn’t cutting corners or making these rookie mistakes.

Avoid the mop like the plague! Many restaurant owners and staff rely on mopping to get their non-carpet floors cleaned, but mops mostly just spread dirt, grease, and other contaminants around rather than picking them up or sanitizing them. If you have tile floors, mops won’t clean grime out of your grout lines. Plus, it is a rather time-consuming cleaning method. Instead, consider ditching the mop and bucket for microfiber cleaning cloths (or a pressure washer, if you have the space) and strong, kitchen-friendly cleaning chemicals.

Make sure food is properly stored. The way you store food is critical to the health and safety of your guests. You can also help prevent unnecessary food waste, spills, and other messes by properly storing food. Store dry goods in airtight containers. Keep serving and measuring tools out of the food in separate, clean containers. Make sure your freezers and refrigerators are at the appropriate temperature to keep from spoiling or getting freezer burn by regularly checking thermometers. Always be sure to carefully store leftovers and toss any expired foods.

Keep food prep sanitary. Your kitchen staff needs to wash their hands properly before handling food. Avoid using the same cutting boards, knives, and other utensils with raw meat, poultry, and other foods. And always wash food that is served cold or uncooked to avoid bacteria and pesticides from getting into your dishes.

Cleaning your restaurant frequently probably isn’t why you got into the food service business, but it is an inescapable part of the job. The fact of the matter is the cleaner a restaurant is, the more likely it is to be successful!