We’re all familiar with the old adage insisting that “cleanliness is next to godliness.” This sentiment holds no more true than in the restaurant business.
In fact, cleanliness topped nearly all other factors — including service, value, menu variety, atmosphere, craveability, and reputation — to come in second only to food quality in a Statista survey about the most important family-dining restaurant attributes for diners.
We’ve rounded up five tips aimed at helping keep your restaurant squeaky clean and your customers coming back for more.
1. Make Dirt Duty a Must-Do
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Floors are the top thing customers look at when assessing a store for cleanliness, according to CDI Research.
Your restaurant is no different than your home. The majority of dirt enters one way: From the outside.
One simple yet effective defense against dirty floors? Place floor mats at all entrances to your establishment.
This also serves a secondary yet important purpose during inclement weather by reducing the risk of slips and falls.
Additionally, set and stick to a regular schedule for deep floor cleanings.
The result? The oft aspired-to “floors so clean you can eat off of them.”
2. Understand Bathroom Cleaning Basics
A diner’s experience doesn’t take place entirely at the table. In fact, there’s one other spot where the need for cleanliness may be even more important than in the dining room: The bathroom.
According to a survey by Harris Interactive for SCA Tissue North America, a third of diners who experience dirty restaurant restrooms vow never to return.
Not only that, but approximately half of those same diners share that negative bathroom experience with their friends.
But maintaining a clean bathroom may not be as straightforward a task as you’d think. In addition to the usual chores like wiping down countertops and scrubbing the toilet bowl, a well-stocked bathroom is also key, according to research from professional services company Cintas.
Says the company’s director of segment marketing Brian Garry, “Business owners have known for many years that customers expect clean restrooms.
What they didn’t know is what people actually think about when judging a restroom cleanliness.” As it turns out, factors like empty toilet paper rolls and soap dispensers directly translate to dissatisfied customers.
Not only should surfaces be kept clean and dry, but routine restocking of bathroom supplies is also essential.
3. Conquer the Kitchen
While diners may not make it into the kitchen, a clean cooking zone isn’t just a people pleaser but also a matter of public health and safety.
Making sure that all equipment and surfaces are cleaned and disinfected at all times reduces the risk of food-borne bacteria, including salmonella.
Also, pay careful attention to kitchen drains which often play host to dangerous bacteria. Keeping drains free of debris not only prevents buildup and other plumbing issues, but also helps minimize odors.
4. Balance Deep Cleaning with Spot Cleaning
While deep cleaning is a necessary part of keeping your restaurant looking its best, spot cleaning is a vital part of upkeep. From menu covers to table pedestals, all surfaces should be cleaned and sanitized regularly.
Maintaining a checklist of daily, weekly and monthly to-do items can help you stay organized and on task. However, that alone is not enough.
It’s also critical to hold managers accountable for satisfactory adherence to these cleaning checklists. Of course, your establishment won’t be clean without proper restaurant cleaning supplies, so be sure to stock up.
5. Educate Employees About the Effort
The more employees know about your restaurant cleaning processes, the better prepared they will be to meet your expectations.
Making a list of all duties along with a clear schedule is your first step. But that’s not all.
At a time when turnover is high, offering mandatory employee training on cleaning techniques ensures that nothing will fall between the cracks when an employee leaves.
The ultimate takeaway? While keeping a restaurant clean is no easy feat, it’s well worth the effort when it comes to delivering an appetizing dining experience.
The good news? You don’t have to do it alone. Hiring an outside vendor with expertise in restaurant sanitation and food safety can free you and your staff up to focus on what you do best: serving the very best food — along with a consummate experience — to your diners.