Key message: Even with in-house cleaning staff, restaurants are being closed down by health inspectors, and it is not due to COVID. This can make you lose hundreds of dollars a day in net profit. Know why your restaurant needs more than your in-house cleaning staff.
Even with the pandemic crisis gradually getting resolved and businesses are starting to open again, it has permanently brought awareness to the public about hygiene and sanitation of commercial places. With customers becoming more cautious about eating out, they must regain confidence in your restaurant business in doing so. This is how professional restaurant cleaning services – and not just your in-house cleaning staff – can help you win customers back.
Hiring a Cleaning Service for your Restaurant
IF you think that a restaurant cleaning checklist for your in-house cleaning staff to follow is enough, think again. Health inspectors have been serving closure orders, and it is not due to COVID.
This means that in spite of in-house staff taking care of restaurant cleaning, restaurants fail to meet the stringent standards of health inspectors.
How do professionals clean restaurants?
A professional cleaning company uses the latest commercial grade chemicals and equipment to make sure that the client passes inspection standards by local authorities while keeping the safety of both the diners and the restaurant employees in mind.
This includes floor to ceiling cleaning and sanitizing, and will likewise clean the exteriors to prevent infestation. Such a commercial company knows the pain points often neglected by in-house cleaning staff and prioritizes the most critical areas to keep your restaurant the cleaning service it deserves.
- Professional cleaning companies are knowledgeable in terms of local laws governing health inspectors’ standards. Your in-house company cleaning staff members most likely are not. So if you want to pass sanitary inspection and avoid closure, hire the pros to do the job.
- Commercial cleaning companies are always updated with the best commercial-grade equipment and cleaning chemicals. For example, the EPA has released a list of chemicals approved for COVID, called the listN.
- Restaurant cleaning pros know the pain points in terms of the most critical places to deep clean, from food preparation surfaces, hoods, carpets and flooring, to bathrooms.
- As for carpet cleaning, it takes more than just a vacuum to do the job. Professional carpet cleaning involves a vacuum that has a HEPA filtration capability, application of a special type of cleaner, then rinse and dry.
- Restaurant cleaning professionals can clean hard-to-reach places such as ducts and exhausts, which are often left out by in-house cleaners. A dirty exhaust system is a fire hazard and can result in rejected insurance claims, aside from being a source of airborne illnesses.
- Companies providing restaurant cleaning service are certified professionals and know how to deep clean your restaurant at industry standards to keep health inspectors happy and the customers safe.
Importance of Keeping Your Restaurant Clean
- Pandemic or not, unsanitary restaurant conditions are very likely to pose a health risk. Food poisoning is not far behind in a dirty restaurant, or employees reporting sick. This can cause a costly legal battle.
- A study revealed that 70% of the restaurant-dining public are deterred by failed inspections. Further, local health inspectors do carry out surprise visits and can easily slap a closure order. This closure report is made public.
- In this day and age of social media and business platforms such as Yelp, it is quite easy to share a diner’s dissatisfaction when a restaurant has poor sanitary conditions and this creates a bad impression. Negative reviews, once posted, usually stay.
- Any day of operation lost due to closure is worth hundreds of dollars down the (greasy) drain. In California, the average daily income of a restaurant is $1652.
What Areas in Your Restaurant Do You Want to Be Cleaned?
The Restaurant Kitchen
Commercial kitchen cleaning is very crucial to your restaurant business in order to prevent foodborne illness. It also prevents accidents when floors are clean,
- Clean all surfaces including countertops, food preparation areas, doors, windows, and walls. Even ceilings should be cleaned about once a month to prevent grease buildup. Germs can live up to 7 days on a porous surface such as granite and tiles, and up to 72 hours for stainless steel.
- Sanitizing freezer doors, handles, grill, hoods, and other food equipment including ice machines and freezers.
- Cleaning and sanitizing the kitchen floor. This starts with mopping but should definitely not end there. Failure to sanitize kitchen floors leads to bacteria growth and food buildup. As a result, it can cause foodborne illness and cause vermin infestation.
- Cleaning buckets – these buckets (which are color-coded red and green) are also part of the health inspection and inspectors do check what they contain. The green bucket is for the soap and water solution, while the red is for the sanitizing solution. These should be changed when visibly dirty, or every 4 hours.
- Trash – this should be emptied when full and washed at least once a week.
- Loading docks and dumpsters – kitchen cleaning should also include cleaning these areas regularly to prevent pest infestation, one of the most common reasons for health inspectors to order a temporary closure.
- Clean and sanitize doorknobs – restaurant cleaning staff often neglect doorknobs, when in reality, it only takes two to four hours to spread the germs from the doorknobs/handles to everywhere else in the building.
- Sanitize dining seats – Most in-house cleaners don’t even think of cleaning your restaurant chairs, let alone sanitizing them. One study as reported in ABC news is that 70% of restaurant chairs have 17 strains of bacteria on them. Don’t forget the high chairs!
- Sanitize tables – Cleaning restaurant tables with rags is not enough. They should be sanitized as well, and cleaning and sanitizing restaurant tables are where in-house cleaners most likely fall short. But what follows is a big surprise.
- Tables are cleaned, but the dirtiest things often neglected in restaurant cleaning are the tabletop items! Yes, the condiments and the menu card are laden with germs, with the menu being the dirtiest. Sugar has the least microorganisms among them with 2300 microorganisms, other condiments around 11000 microorganisms. But the dirtiest of all is the menu at 185,000 microorganisms – even dirtier than the toilet seat!
- Serving utensils – salad tongs are also a culprit and need sanitizing, same with the serving utensils on a buffet table.
- Floors/Carpets – The dining room floor whether carpeted or not, is also a breeding ground for bacteria, viruses, dirt, debris, mold, and mildew. Furthermore, being a high-traffic area that is prone to spills, a carpeted dining area can easily be unsightly. Thus, this requires general cleaning and sanitizing about once every 3 months.
Cleaning bathrooms can be checked by in-house cleaners several times a day, usually, every 15 minutes, to include emptying trash bins, flushing toilets, and cleaning the partitions, faucets, and sinks.
- Toilet facts: the toilet seat has about 295 types of bacteria per square inch, the actual toilet bowl has about 3.2 Million bacteria per square inch. Even the flush handle is not spared – while considerably less, still has about 83 types of bacteria per square inch.
- Most surfaces of bathrooms have 500,000 bacterial cells on average.
- Faucets have about 229,000 bacterial cells per square inch. Even soap dispensers are not spared and harbor millions of bacteria, since soap dispensers are almost always not cleaned.
FAQs in Restaurant Cleaning
How Much Does Restaurant Cleaning Cost?
On average, restaurant cleaning costs $0.18 – $0.29 per square foot or can start at $150 per hour. It may slightly vary as to the cleaning needs and the number of crew. For example, cleaning an exhaust system or range hood is an average of $150 per hour or more.
How much does it cost to clean a kitchen?
Commercial kitchen cleaning costs an average of 150 per hour or an average of $17-$27 per square foot. To save more, check with your cleaning service provider if a long-term kitchen cleaning program can be arranged.
What is included in commercial cleaning?
A complete commercial cleaning service program includes industry-standard floor-to-ceiling cleaning and sanitation. This includes all surfaces that are prone to be breeding grounds for germs, cleaning of equipment, ducts and vents, trash disposal, interiors, and exterior areas to prevent infestation.
Depending on your business, services provided shall be adjusted according to the recommended frequency. As an example, a restaurant cleaning service generally requires more than office cleaning because of the risk of food poisoning.
It does make you wonder that even with an in-house restaurant cleaning staff, how come restaurants still face a temporary closure order by local sanitary inspectors?
This is why it makes a difference to let a commercial cleaning company do the dirty job when it comes to deep cleaning your restaurant. After all, it is a small price to pay compared to losing so much more per day that your restaurant business is slapped with temporary closure orders.
Why You Need to Avail of a Professional Cleaning Service
Even with a seemingly clean restaurant, you still need to hire experts in deep cleaning services. Outsourcing it to professional cleaning service companies has several advantages:
- You are hiring professionals who are always up to date with local laws’ sanitation standards and thus help ensure that you pass these inspections.
- You need not invest in high-grade commercial cleaning equipment and chemicals – these cleaning service providers always maintain the best commercial equipment for efficient services.
- It helps to have a third-party inspect your restaurant and thoroughly clean it – something that your in-house may miss or be unaware of.
Choosing a Restaurant Cleaning Service
There are daily routines that inhouse staff can do minor tasks in cleaning restaurant facilities such as dusting, mopping floors, cleaning walls. However, to make sure that you maintain a clean restaurant that is compliant with local laws, it is best to hire a company with expertise in providing restaurant cleaning services.
When choosing a restaurant cleaning service, search for online reviews, check how long such a commercial cleaning company has been operational, their clientele, certification, and compliance with OSHA standards.
Joncowest has been in the commercial cleaning business since 1975 providing services to restaurants, offices, and warehouses. Request a free quote through our contact form or give us a call today! That way, you can just focus on your business with peace of mind knowing your restaurant is compliant with safety standards.