Coffee Shop Cleaning for Cleaning Contractors

Coffee shop cleaning can be a business opportunity for cleaning contractors looking for new business opportunities. Why? Coffee shops that hire cleaning contractors often hire one vendor to clean many shops, making this a lucrative opportunity. Further, the coffee shop industry is incredibly competitive. Serving great coffee is not enough. Customers want coffee shops to shine.

On the Barista Exchange, a members-only networking organization of coffee shop owners and managers, one member wrote that hiring a “commercial janitorial service can be a lifesaver for coffee shop owners strapped for time” and is one way to “keep your coffee shop looking lovely and wonderful.”

Start your to-do list by contacting coffee shops in your area—or even those within driving distance—and introducing yourself as the owner of a cleaning company that specializes in restaurants and food establishments. Then ask them if they need professional cleaners on staff or if they would prefer to outsource their cleaning needs to an outside company (which may save them money).

  • Create a cleaning checklist. Include this list in your cleaning proposal and use it as a guide for workers, detailing what tasks they must perform each visit.
  • Realize that cleaning starts at the front door. Scan the shop’s exterior checking for dirty outdoor seating areas, trash and debris, and any landscaping issues that should be brought to the manager’s attention.
  • Clean the prep area first. As with a restaurant kitchen, this area will usually be very soiled. Tackling it first prevents debris from landing on a just-cleaned floor.
  • Ensure the stainless-steel fixtures are sparkling clean. “Sparkling clean” stainless translates into safe and healthy to your customers.
  • Remember that cleaning espresso machines is not your job. The coffee shop staff are tasked with cleaning the espresso machine parts, brewers, blenders, and other equipment. Your job is to clean the exterior of these machines.
  • Wipe clean the condiment section. View this as the “mess magnet” of a coffee shop. Everyone uses it. It needs to be detail-cleaned and restocked each visit.
  • Use environmentally friendly cleaners and sanitizers, including on high-touch areas of the coffee shop. Citric-acid-based sanitizers are often used in the food service industry because they are made of FDA-approved ingredients and because they can reduce pathogen numbers to safe levels without the need for more powerful (and often more costly) disinfectants.
  • Floors can make or break a coffee shop. Consider vacuuming the floor instead of sweeping. It’smore detailed and prevents dust from becoming airborne. Then mop with an environmentally friendly cleaning solution.
  • Most coffee shops require their staff to clean restrooms throughout the day. However, your job is to take this cleaning to the next level.  Check walls and high-touch areas. Also ensure metal areas and vents are clean.  Very often coffee shops do not have windows in their restrooms.  Clean vents help keep restrooms odor-free.
  • You may need to clean windows each visit, at least to remove fingerprints. Discuss cleaning frequency levels with your customer.

Leave some tasks to the shop staff

Cleaning crews also need to know which parts of the shop/equipment they must clean, and which they should leave to the coffee shop staff. Jonasse explains the responsibilities of the cleaning staff vs. the shop staff:

  • The shop staff are responsible for cleaning tabletops and placing chairs on top of the tables, making it easier for your crew to clean the floors.
  • The inside of ovens, microwaves, blenders, fryers, exhaust hoods, and refrigerators are typically handled by the shop’s staff or, in the case of the exhaust hood, an outside vendor.
  • Shop staff will clean the “guts” of milk frothers, while you take care of the exterior.

Brew your business

To generate business, contact coffee shop chains or those that have multiple locations in a community.  You may need to do some talking to convince local owners and managers that hiring a contractor saves time, ensures quality consistency, and is ultimately a cost savings.  However, if you stick with it and do your homework, you will determine how much to charge—and how much profit you need—to turn coffee shop cleaning into a lucrative business.  

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