Welcoming Your Guests Back
COVID-19 has been brutal on restaurants but, luckily, those who made it through are beginning to allow in-person dining again. This is an excellent time to review some best practices for restaurant cleaning to provide a safe, sanitary environment for guests and ensure repeat visits.
Foodborne Illness is Restaurant Enemy #1
A food-related outbreak of diseases like E. coli and norovirus can be a disaster for a restaurant. Consider Chipotle, hit with a $25 million fine after instances of E. coli, norovirus, and salmonella outbreaks in 2014. Proper and frequent handwashing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of foodborne illness. As we’ve all learned in the COVID era, 20 seconds with soap and warm water is enough. Other things to watch for are sick staff members, poor food storage practices, and improperly cleaned workstations. Bioesque’s Botanical Disinfectant Solution can clean and disinfect in one step, kills E. coli in two minutes and norovirus in four, and is safe for food-touch areas.
Know the Health Department’s Guidelines
Skipping on these out of ignorance or carelessness can mean temporary closures or having to display a low grade somewhere in your establishment. Both will cost you money. These guidelines were devised to make sure restaurants are providing clean, safe environments. Use them to guide you as you develop a cleaning plan for your business.
Keep the Critters at Bay
Another thing that can destroy a restaurant’s reputation is a guest seeing a roach during a visit. Or, worse yet, finding one in their food. Make sure you’re doing everything you can to make your restaurant as inhospitable as possible to pests. This means storing food properly in airtight containers, making sure food residue is cleaned up at workstations and in coolers, and taking trash bags out to the dumpster several times a day. Signs that you might have a pest problem are chewed containers, rodent droppings, and flies in the food prep area.
Get Everyone on the Same Page
It does no good to have the kitchen staff following best practices for cleaning if the servers are going to contaminate the food before it reaches the guest and vice versa. Make sure everyone on your team knows the guidelines for proper hygiene, food safety, and general cleanliness. Stick to your standards and make them a habit.
Think About Customer Perception
Following the Health Department guidelines will ensure your business is safe and sanitary, but you can really give your restaurant’s dining experience a boost by putting yourself in the guest’s shoes. Think about the little details that can make or break a night out. Does your dining area seem welcoming? How do the floors look? Are the salt and pepper shakers full? What about the toilet paper in the restrooms? Walk through your entire establishment to try to find things you’ve overlooked. You could also ask a friend to come in and eat and be as critical as possible, writing down everything they see in a notebook. Sometimes a set of fresh eyes helps. The goal is the best customer experience possible and using these tips as a starting point will get your restaurant there in no time.