17 practical cleanliness and hygiene tips for restaurant owners

Shiny cooker hoods, stain-free carpets, clean washrooms and beautiful exteriors - a lot goes into maintaining a hygienic restaurant that's always busy with customers and staff.     

Here are 17 practical cleanliness and hygiene tips to keep in mind if you're in the restaurant business: 

1. Steam Clean The Cooker Hood

If you're running a restaurant, you know that grease and bacteria can build up on the cooker hood over time. The best way to keep it clean and hygienic is through a steam cleaning method. Keep in mind that the wire mesh underneath should be cleaned with warm, soapy water.

You can also use the same cleaning method for extractor fans that have a removable mesh.

For those extraction fans that use paper filters to soak up grease and grime, the best thing to do is to clean the mesh and replace the old filter.

Don’t forget to soak and scrub all washable items with non-abrasive brushes to avoid damaging the material.

2. Polish All Stainless Steel Surfaces

Avoid damaging stainless steel exteriors by using microfiber cloths when cleaning and polishing. It is also best to use high-quality commercial cleaning products for a better finish.

Here’s a handy guide to cleaning stainless steel surfaces from Hospitality Design.

3. Keep Carpets, Curtains, And Linen Clean And Stain-Free

Always check your carpets, curtains, and linen for obvious and unsightly wear and tear.

  • Stains can be removed by high-pressure cleaning, heat and steam extraction
  • Vacuum carpets regularly to keep them free of debris such as dirt and dust that could tangle in the carpet fibres
  • Make sure all curtains and window dressings are properly laundered

4. Clean The Fridge And Freezer Regularly

When cleaning, make sure to remove everything from fridges and freezers and check every item’s expiration dates.

Use multipurpose cleaners and damp cloth to clean and defrost shelves where necessary using a multipurpose cleaner and damp cloth.

Only a damp cloth is needed to wipe down the exterior of these appliances for a perfect finish.

5. Staff Uniforms

Customers notice how your staff present themselves. Make sure they don’t only have nice uniforms to wear, but also that these uniforms are always kept looking neat and professional.

6. Get Rid Of Grease In Your Fryer And Grill

Grease that builds up on your fryers and grills can become a fire hazard. Clean the baskets, filters, hangers and tank racks separately and keep the interior surface of your fryer and grill free of signs of oil by wiping it with paper towels and a wet sponge soaked in warm soapy water.

You may also soak your grills in soapy water for 24 hours to remove hardened deposits and blackened carbon.

7. Keep Stockroom And Storage Organised

Regularly check your stockroom shelves to see if items have reached or are nearing their expiration dates, if containers are worn out, or have cracked lids, and broken labelling.

8. Clean Your Washroom And Toilet Every Hour

Customers remember restaurants with clean washrooms and make a point not to forget those that aren’t. You want them to remember yours as one that is up to par with hygiene standards.

Clean your washroom and toilet every hour. Never miss important ‘touch points’ like handles, switches, and faucets as these are the areas that are most prone to the spread of bacteria.

  • Any fixture or fitting that people touch, including on and off buttons of hand dryers, should be thoroughly cleaned with disposable disinfectant wipes to avoid further spreading the germs around.
  • Also check fixtures, taps, and toilet seats for damages that may need repairs or replacement.
  • Get rid of those loose toilet seats as they are considered as health hazards, fix broken door locks, brush the grout between tiles with a hard-bristled grout brush, and do something about those cracked mirrors and tiles as they can house thousands of germs too.

9. Powerwash And Prettify Your Exteriors

A restaurant that looks clean outside gives customers a good impression of what’s inside. Keep the outside area of your restaurant clean as it will make a serious impact on passers-by.

The best way to get rid of dirt from walkways, pathways and exterior walls is to blast them clean with a power/pressure washer. Don’t forget to clean exterior doors and repaint them if they look worn out.

  • If you have space, outdoor and garden furniture that can endure adverse weather conditions make great investments
  • Artificial plants, flowers, and hanging baskets will also cost you less
  • Add patio benches or welcome planters to attract more people into your restaurant.

10. Wheelie Bins Need Regular Cleaning Too

Regularly clean your bins, inside and out. You may also want to power wash them to ward off unwelcome pests and keep them looking fresh. Make sure your bins do not collect water as this attracts rats and other animals. It is best to hide your bins from view with a bin store or secure them with fences.

11. Use The Correct Method To Wash Hands

Regular hand washing should be a habit in your restaurant. Make it 100% sure that your employees understand the importance of keeping their hands clean and sanitised at all times.

Put up reminder posters in the kitchen on when they need to have clean hands:

  • Before, after, and while preparing cooked food
  • When handling meat, uncooked eggs, seafood, and poultry
  • After they go to the toilet, sneeze, blow their nose, touch garbage
  • After assisting someone who is sick

Or maybe reminders on how to properly wash hands, in case they forget. Here are free, print-ready hand washing posters that you can post in your kitchen and in your washrooms.

Access more hand washing and hygiene posters here.

12. Follow HACCP Principles

Make sure that everyone in your restaurant is aware of the HACCP food safety management system principles and the practices in keeping and preparing food to prevent the growth and spreading of bacteria.

Not only will these practices help ensure that the food you serve is kept sanitary, they will also minimise the risk of spoilage and cross contamination of food while in the storage, or during preparation and cooking.

13. Clean Surfaces And Utensils

After use, every single utensil used and every surface in the kitchen should be thoroughly cleaned. Use hot, soapy water and disposable paper towels to clean up spills and if you are going to be using cloths on other surfaces, make sure these are washed using a hot cycle on a washing machine.

14. Sanitise Smaller Kitchen Items And Utensils

Consider investing in a commercial dishwasher that will help you sanitise utensils and other small kitchen items. When it comes to eliminating bacteria, high temperatures are necessary.

15. Cleaning Commercial Kitchen Floors

Grime and bacteria mostly build up on kitchen floors. That’s why you should make sure all kitchen floors are mopped regularly. If you are going to be mopping the floors regularly, you might want to apply a non-slip coating to prevent staff from slipping when moving about.

16. Improve Your ‘Mat Game’

As basic of a necessity as they may seem, mats play important roles in every restaurant. Invest in quality mats that prevent your staff from slipping, prevent dirt from outside get inside the restaurant when customers come in, or prevent fatigue or exhaustion for staff who need to stand for long periods of time.

Maybe even get a mat that will promote your restaurant better or one that sends a message!

17. Have A Regular Cleaning Schedule

Make sure you have a regular cleaning schedule. Also, encourage each employee to never leave their assigned station in the kitchen dirty. For best results, you might want to consider hiring Alsco’s Food and Beverage linen service to deliver clean and hygienic linen for your restaurant every single day. We understand cleaning and will get the job done right.

These tips was first published on alsco.com.au's  100+ more tips on restaurant planning strategies article. Alsco offers cost-efficient rental services that are tailored for your business. including first aid kit rentals and training services, linen and workwear, and hygiene systems.