Is Your Restaurant Kitchen Really Clean? 7 Places Staff Commonly Miss While Cleaning

Is Your Restaurant Kitchen Really Clean? 7 Places Staff Commonly Miss While Cleaning

Regular cleaning is a necessity for all commercial kitchens. Frequently cleaning equipment and supplies keeps them neat and presentable, increases their life and helps prevent food poisoning. However, there are areas of the restaurant that staff either forget about or do not know to clean.

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 the commercial kitchen. Bacteria and vermin will be attracted to food scraps no matter where they hide. You can also be sure that the health inspector will check underneath every piece of equipment and work table to see if the area is clean.

3. The Dumpster Area

Everybody knows that rodents and disease love garbage, and since the large majority of waste thrown out by food service establishments is food waste, the dumpster is a like a playground for bacteria, flies and vermin. Hosing down the dumpster exteriors and making sure all of the trash is deposited inside and the lids closed will cut back on rodents. A clean dumpster area will also cut back on foul odors that can hurt business. 

4. Refrigeration Coils

Dirty refrigeration or evaporator coils make the refrigeration unit work harder, which can result in uneven temperature in the cabinet. If the temperature fluctuates too much, the food can spoil, so employees need to wheel out the refrigerator and clean the coils at least once a month to make sure the unit functions properly.

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5. The Meat Slicer

Kitchen workers may remember to wipe down the top of the slicer blade when they are cleaning at the end of the day, but the bottom side of the blade comes into contact with food, too, and can harbor bacteria. Therefore, it is important to remind employees to clean both sides of the meat slicer blade. San Jamar even makes special sponges to make cleaning a slicer blade quick and easy. 

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, so workers need to remove and hand wash the nozzles at the end of every day so bacteria doesn't take up residence over night. 

7. Splashes on the Walls

Bacteria can grow on the food splashes, and, depending on the area, fruit flies or other pests may be attracted to the splash. Also, health inspectors will not like dirty walls and neither will customers. It is best for workers to wipe down walls as soon as the splash occurs, so the food does not become dried on and harder to clean at the end of the night. 

One way to assure that all areas of the restaurant are cleaned every day is to put together a cleaning schedule that lists what needs to be cleaned and by whom. You can go a step further and have the person responsible for cleaning each area initial the schedule, indicating that they have cleaned it in order to keep your employees accountable. Mangers can also make a restaurant closing checklist and make it part of their closing inspection.