Cleaning Restaurants from the Back of the House to the Front

The proper cleaning of restaurants is more important now than in years.

After a two-year forced hiatus, patrons are returning to restaurant and quick-serve locations throughout the country. They’re tired of home-cooked meals and want to get out of the house.

One of their big concerns, however, is cleanliness. Even before the pandemic, consumers were concerned about restaurant cleanliness. A couple of years before the pandemic, a Harris Poll reported that 75 percent of those surveyed would not return to a restaurant if they considered it unclean. And, as you suspected, people talk a lot on social media about restaurants, especially if they are unhappy.

A study conducted by OpenTable showed that 60 percent of their users read restaurant reviews before going out for a meal. According to this study, two words stand out when people read reviews: “service” and “cleaning.” If a review says patrons experienced poor service at a restaurant or the restaurant appeared unclean, most site users will move on and look for another restaurant.

We know many of these reviews, good and bad, focus on the front of the house. That’s the part restaurant patrons see.

But it’s the back of the house where food is prepared that we need to be concerned about.  Why?  That’s where food-borne illnesses are found. This means the bulk of our cleaning attention should start by ensuring that the cooking and food preparation areas are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.

We are talking about washing, rinsing, and sanitizing all surfaces that come in contact with food. Cleaning surfaces — removing visible soils and debris — may suffice on some surfaces; but as we shall discuss, sanitizing food-contact surfaces in a restaurant or quick-serve location is what is most needed.

View sanitizing as a step up in the cleaning process. It’s designed to not only help remove soils that may or may not be visible but eliminate them so that surfaces meet acceptable public health standards for cleanliness. [[this will be highlighted]]

Before we discuss how to accomplish this, we should address one more thing. Yes, surfaces must meet public health standards for cleanliness. But view this as a baseline. With the pandemic still on everyone’s mind, we want to go further, surpassing public health standards for cleanliness and local health codes. It’s not complicated. It can be done, and here are some ways to do this:

  • Have open talks with your staff about the importance of cleaning and sanitizing in your restaurant.
  • Make sure you have one message for everyone regarding the importance of cleaning. Mixed messages can cause confusion. When it comes to protecting the health of restaurant guests, there is no room for confusion.
  • Talk about the importance of personal hygiene to your staff. To convey this, turn to trusted sources like the CDC for posters and educational materials discussing personal hygiene issues.
  • Before any cleaning begins, bring in a set of fresh eyes to review which surfaces in the back of the house need cleaning, deep cleaning, and sanitizing. Many times, a janitorial distributor familiar with cleaning restaurants can help.
  • As to sanitizing, all food-contact surfaces must be sanitized daily. Sanitizing helps eliminate most germs, bacteria, and pathogens.
  • Select what is called a “one-step” sanitizer, such as our LEXX® Liquid sanitizer & Cleaning Solution. These are time-savers because they clean and sanitize a surface in one step.

Finally, we must consider the environmental impact of cleaning restaurants. Many powerful cleaning solutions are often used. However, restaurant patrons today not only want good service and a clean restaurant, but they also want to frequent businesses that are environmentally responsible.

LEXX Liquid Sanitizer and Cleaning Concentrate, like other LEXX products, are EPA-registered, verifying they are effective, have a reduced impact on the environment and are made from some of the most sustainable natural resources on the planet — lemons and limes.

ProNatural Brand’s products are keeping surfaces clean and our planet untouched. To learn how we can help you, click here.

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