Restaurants must maintain a clean and hygienic environment for the health and safety of employees and patrons. Every aspect of the facility must be properly cleaned to ensure safe food preparation and handling. Restaurant managers must carefully inspect kitchen areas, eating and dining areas and restrooms to make sure the restaurant meets health and sanitation requirements set forth by the local government.
The kitchen is one of the most important areas in the restaurant to keep clean. This area is exposed to a variety of possible contaminants. Cooks, servers, bussers and even cashiers have access to the kitchen and could potentially contaminate food products. Uncooked food also poses health risks if surfaces are not cleaned sufficiently. To properly clean a restaurant kitchen, employees must sanitize equipment and surfaces that have come in contact with food and kitchen instruments and must do so after each task. The state or local health department establishes the proper types of disinfectants and sanitizers kitchen workers should utilize when washing dishes, as well as the proper storage techniques for food that might contain bloodborne pathogens. Kitchen items such as cutting boards, blenders, grills and countertops should also be disinfected.
Dining and eating area cleanliness is necessary for safety reasons and to maintain the overall appearance of the establishment. The dining room is typically the first area patrons see when they enter a restaurant. Many visitors may decide to leave if the dining room appears unsanitary. Restaurant workers can properly clean dining areas by thoroughly sanitizing the surface areas customer’s come in contact with, such as bar tops, table tops and chairs. Surface area cleaning should be done with clean towels that have not been used on surfaces in other areas of the restaurant, such as the restroom or kitchen. It is also necessary to ensure condiment bottles and menus are disinfected regularly.
Dirty restaurant floors are unsightly and pose a safety risk for restaurant employees and patrons. Many establishments place a large floor mat at the entrance of the restaurant to prevent outside dirt from being brought inside. Workers must sweep and mop near the restaurant’s entrances and exits frequently as well as underneath booths and tables to keep these areas clean. Regular deep cleaning with soap, water and liquid bleach help remove soil buildup in tile grout. If a spill occurs, workers must promptly section off the area, clean up the spill and allow it to dry to avoid a slip-and-fall incident.
Restrooms are another area that require frequent cleaning and maintenance. In most cases, restrooms are shared by employees and visitors. Properly cleaning restrooms helps prevent cross-contamination from employees to food products and eating utensils. To properly clean the restroom, employees must scrub toilet bowls and seats, as well as the floor around the toilets. All door handles and sink faucets must be disinfected. Surface areas around sinks should be disinfected and dried. Dispensers for soap, paper towels and toilet paper should also be fully stocked. Employees should monitor restrooms frequently to ensure they do not require attention.
By Sherrie Scott