Neglected Areas of a Restaurant: Hidden Homes for Bacteria
Making your restaurant look clean is only half the battle. If you don't use the right cleaning methods and make a habit of cleaning every surface that's touched, there's a good chance that bacteria will grow and make your customers sick. The neglected areas of a restaurant are easy to ignore, as customers can't see them easily, but those are the places where germs usually lurk. Emphasize cleaning these neglected spots and using proper techniques, and you'll make a significant difference in the number of microbes that hide in your restaurant.
Infrequently Cleaned Surfaces
During a busy restaurant day, it's easy to overlook extra cleaning chores—but a minute here and there throughout the day is enough to make a difference to your customers' health. Cleaning everything that customers and employees touch is the best way to prevent bacterial growth. Some of these surfaces are obvious, but others may be places you've never thought to clean on a regular basis, such as:
- Benches and chairs
- High chair seats
- Wait stations
- Ketchup and other condiment bottles
One of the most frequently touched but rarely cleaned objects in a restaurant is the menu itself. You can reduce contamination from your menus by either printing out disposable paper menus or laminating the ones you have for easy cleaning.
Other areas that are easily ignored are in the back of the house. Refrigerator shelves, faucet handles, paper towel holders, and even telephones are touched repeatedly throughout the day, but are rarely wiped down except at the end of the shift — if they're even cleaned then.
Changing your habits and learning to clean places that were previously ignored is a good start, but if you use the wrong cleaning method, you might as well not even bother. Traditional cleaning methods entail using a rag and a bucket of sanitizing solution. The sanitizing chemicals in the bucket are soon overwhelmed with the amount of bacteria rinsed into the solution from the rag, making it worse than plain water. There are two better ways to clean small and large areas that will kill the bacteria without spreading it further.
Small items such as menus, bottles, and the backs of chairs require a rag or wipe of some sort, but traditional rags simply spread bacteria from one place to another. Using a rag and the eight-fold method will eliminate that problem. Fold a clean rag into fourths. Spray cleaning solution on the surface to be cleaned, then wipe it off with the cloth. Move on to the next object to be cleaned, and wipe it with the other side of the folded rag. Refold the cloth to reveal two more cleaning surfaces, then fold it inside out to show four more. A good way to emphasize this method is by using the Kaivac SmartTowel. It has numbers printed on the inside corners when folded, to let workers know if they've used a surface or not.
Larger neglected areas of a restaurant, such as tables and work counters, should be cleaned with a spray solution and squeegee. Kaivac's KaiFly cleaning program is an all-in-one solution to the problem of spreading germs on large restaurant surfaces. Its intuitive design allows employees to easily mix the solution, apply it to surfaces, and squeegee it off in less time than it normally takes to scrub them. The result is tables with a much cleaner surface and a healthier environment for your customers.
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