It's the little details that make all the difference in running your business. While your restaurant kitchen may never be as sterile as a hospital cleanroom, it's important that you eliminate as much dirt and bacteria as possible, for the health and safety of your customers. Your employees may spend serious time at the end of their shift cleaning the kitchen, but if they're making these common restaurant kitchen cleaning mistakes, it's too late to repair the damage. Working in a safe, sanitary manner might take a moment or two longer, but it's the best way to make sure that bacteria doesn't sneak into the food you're serving. Train your team to pay attention to the small details during their shifts and to practice good habits. After all, some of the simplest restaurant kitchen cleaning mistakes can cause the worst problems.
Food storage safety is critical, and most problems can be prevented by following some simple rules. Always store dry goods in airtight containers, such as zip-top bags or plastic containers with sealed lids. Store serving or measuring tools out of the food, in a separate, clean container.
Most food storage problems happen in the refrigerator or freezer, and the trouble almost always comes down to temperature. Know the correct temperature your equipment should be running at, and check it multiple times each day to make sure it's right. Develop a policy of checking off all thermometer temps at the beginning and end of each shift. Putting away leftover food can cause problems, too. Always store leftovers in airtight containers, and mark the date on the outside. Practice FIFO (first in, first out) storage by placing new items behind older ones. Shoving food together into one large mass doesn't allow it to cool efficiently, so leave space between each container for air to circulate.
More food suffers from active contamination during the prep process than at any other time. Among the mistakes kitchen workers make are:
- Not washing their hands properly, or often enough.
- Using the same cutting board for poultry, vegetables, and other meats.
- Using the same knife for poultry and for other foods, as well as for raw and cooked foods.
- Not washing foods that are cut and served cold, such as lemons or cantaloupes, notes the Huffington Post. Fruit and vegetables should be scrubbed with soap and rinsed well, to remove bacteria that might be pushed into the flesh with a knife blade.
Use the wrong technique or tools, and your cleaning methods can actually spread dirt and bacteria around instead of cleaning it up. These restaurant kitchen cleaning mistakes can endanger both customers and restaurant employees.
Just as refrigerator and freezer temperatures must be monitored, water temperatures should be watched as well. Dishwashing and sanitizing must be done at a certain temperature for the chemicals in the water to work efficiently. Always use pH test strips in your sanitizing water to make sure that the chemical solution is at the right strength.
Cleaning tables and work surfaces can be a futile task if workers aren't using the right kind of cleaning tools, or if they don't change cleaning solution often enough. Kaivac has a solution to this problem with the KaiFly cleaning system. The cleaning solution is applied with a mircofiber pad, then removed from the surface with a squeegee without being contaminated with dirty rags or sponges. Food and bacteria are removed, and tables end up cleaner than with regular scrubbing and wiping.
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