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Top 10 Things to Consider When Contracting a Restaurant Cleaning Service

Top 10 Things to Consider When Contracting a Restaurant Cleaning Service

mop bucket Restaurant owners and operators have a lot to consider when it comes to keeping their restaurants under control. One thing on all of their minds is cleanliness. Restaurant cleanliness is crucial to any establishment's success, as dirty restaurants can cause serious health code violations. This is no small matter. For instance, in Milwaukee alone, over a third of its restaurants—about 500 of them—were cited for critical health violations in 2008.1 Health and safety are the biggest reasons for keeping a clean restaurant. As such, some restaurant owners opt to bring in professionals to get the job done and safely avoid health code infringements. Here are ten things to consider when contracting with a restaurant cleaning service:

1. Consider your needs.
Every restaurant is slightly different. Consider your establishment and your needs before determining what cleaning services you require. For instance, you may just need detailed restroom cleaning once a week, or you may require a thorough cleaning of your entire building every night. Be sure to see what services cleaning companies provide before securing a particular cleaning service.

2. Check for proper training.
Restaurants require cleaning professionals with experience in food service establishments, since food safety and health regulations are an issue of concern. Be sure that your cleaning service has experience and training before trusting them in your kitchen areas. For instance, restaurants that have carpeted areas should look for trained carpet cleaning professionals certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) for quality assurance.

3. Know who will be cleaning.
Look for cleaning service companies who will assign you a special team of at least two cleaning professionals. When you have the same people cleaning every time, you can rely on consistency and uniformity.

4. Maintain a reliable contact.
In case you have any concerns or in case problems arise in the future, make sure the cleaning company provides a contact person with the cleaning company you choose. Check to see that you have a contact person who will be available to provide help in a time of need.

5. Determine a cleaning schedule.
Be sure to discuss a schedule with the cleaning service. Many restaurants have a cleaning service come in nightly or weekly, depending on the building and the areas that require cleaning. Most restaurants want their cleaning services done late at night after the restaurant is closed, usually between the hours of 12:00pm and 5:00am. Make sure you agree upon a schedule so you know when to expect the service team to arrive.

6. Discuss cleaning procedures.
You will need to talk about what tools or cleaning solutions the cleaning service will use. It is important to make sure these cleaning tools or chemicals comply with your requirements, especially if yours is an environmentally-friendly establishment.

7. Take your own precautions.
In food service environments, professional cleaning procedures have the potential to contaminate food that is left out or sitting in open containers. Be sure to properly seal and store all food before any cleaning service professionals arrive.

8. Define your terms.
Make sure your cleanliness standards always reflect local health code regulations, which will help your restaurant score well during a health inspection. It helps to walk through the restaurant with the cleaning service team on the first day, showing the workers exactly how things should look, or exactly how often they should clean a certain area or fixture.

9. Remember the exhaust system.
Your kitchen ventilation system must be cleaned at least every six months as a precaution against fire dangers. You may need to bring in another cleaning company to take care of your commercial ventilation system, but check to be sure.

10. Make sure restaurant staff holds their own.
Just because you decide to use a restaurant cleaning service does not mean that your restaurant staff should never lay their hands on a mop and bucket. Servers and kitchen staff should all have regularly assigned side work, or tasks they must complete in addition to their normal job responsibilities. Train your restaurant staff to clean as they go so that the restaurant has a constant appearance of cleanliness. Cleaning services will execute the extra detail cleaning that make your restaurant stand out to your customers.


1 Ellen Gabler, "37% of City Restaurants Cited for Serious Health Violations," www.JSOnline.com http://www.jsonline.com/watchdog/pi/29594134.html (accessed December 16, 2008).