The easiest way to keep all of your equipment working in tip-top form is to clean it, and clean it often. There are the obvious hot spots to wipe down, but there are many more that are missed. Keep food poisoning, equipment breakdowns and unsightly work areas out of your business with this comprehensive checklist of seven places staff commonly miss while cleaning restaurant kitchens.
1. The Ice Machine
There is a reason this is number one on the list. A lot of food service workers, managers included, forget that ice is food, and consumption can lead to food poisoning if the product is contaminated. Regularly cleaning the ice machine and ice storage bin will assure a healthy, contaminant-free product.
2. Underneath and Behind Equipment
It is easy to forget about kitchen areas that are not visible, but the whole out-of-sight-out-of-mind principle does not hold in commercial kitchens. Bacteria and vermin will be attracted to food scraps no matter where they hide. It’s also important to note that health inspectors will check underneath every piece of equipment to see if the area is clean. Keep it neat and tidy everywhere, everyday and keep violations and vermin out of your kitchen.
3. The Dumpster Area
Everybody knows that rodents and disease love garbage. In fact, a messy dumpster area acts as an attractive buffet for bacteria, flies and vermin. Combat this issue with a clean garbage area. Start by making sure all of the dumpster lids close fully and stay closed. Next, instruct your staff to keep the area around the dumpster clean. This includes hosing down the dumpster’s exterior and making sure that all trash is deposited into the container. No waste should be left in open containers or on the ground. A clean dumpster area will also cut back on foul odors that could potentially hurt business.
4. Refrigeration Coils
When a refrigerator’s coils are dirty it has to work harder to keep the unit cool, which can result in uneven internal temperatures. If the temperature fluctuates too much, the food can spoil. Have your employees wheel out the refrigerator once a month to dust the coils and keep the back of the unit clean and in good working order.
5. The Meat Slicer
The top slicer blade is likely getting all the cleaning love. But it’s important to keep the bottom side of the blade just as clean. This area comes in contact with food and can harbor bacteria. Therefore, it is important to remind employees to clean both sides of the meat slicer blade every day and in between different cuts of meat.
6. Beverage Dispenser Heads
Mold, bacteria and fruit flies love sugar almost as much as they love warmth and moisture. The nozzles and dispenser heads of a beverage dispenser will have residual sugar on them at the end of the day. Make it a daily habit to remove and hand wash the nozzles during closing clean-up duties. This will prevent bacteria from taking up residence over night.
7. Splashes on the Walls
Got a little fryer oil or tomato sauce splatter on the wall? Wipe it off as soon as possible! Bacteria can grow on these splatters and splashes, and, depending on the area, fruit flies or other pests may be attracted to the stuck-on residue. For the easiest remedy, instruct employees to wipe down walls as soon as the splash occurs. This way the food does not become dried on and harder to clean at the end of the night.