The weather is warming up, and even restaurants in the north are moving their outdoor furniture into courtyards and sidewalk areas. Outdoor restaurants have an edge over indoor-only establishments, but they have unique cleaning challenges, as well. Trash blown in from the street, animal droppings, and cigarette ashes are just some of the extra cleaning problems you have to deal with when you serve your customers outside. Regulars may love to have a drink on your patio or enjoy lunch in the summer sun, but outdoor dining areas get dirtier than indoor ones ever do, and it takes more effort to keep them clean.
For decades, the only way to clean your outdoor furniture was by using a rag or scrub brush along with a bucket of cleaning solution. This was far from the ideal solution, for a number of important reasons. First, this labor-intensive process ties up one or more of your employees for a long time—time they could be devoting on other cleaning chores indoors. Wiping tabletops, table legs, and each individual chair to make sure the area is thoroughly clean is very exacting and detailed work, especially when dealing with cleaning the grease off your outdoor tables. Animals also make more permanent messes than humans, and these problems have to be dealt with right away to keep the dining area safe. In addition, the flooring or cement under your tables should be cleaned as often as the tables themselves because of all the dirt and foreign objects that can be blown in from the surrounding area.
It's also long been known that traditional cleaning solutions can be bad for the environment, but when you're cleaning outdoors, the problem doubles. With the traditional mop-and-bucket approach, your cleaning staff has to be very careful to contain all the wastewater and empty it in a proper slop sink or drain afterward. Failing to do so violates regulations set by the Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, if you've got landscaping plants around your building, spraying cleaning solution in the area can damage tender leaves and growing plants.
Newer and Better Technology
Outdoor restaurants that want to take a safer route should use a system like Kaivac's OmniFlex Spray-and-Vac to clean their water-safe outdoor seating area. This tool sprays an effective cleaning solution onto all the surfaces that need to be cleaned. After allowing the solution to sit for a moment, you can use the high-powered spray on the system to remove soil and germs from the tables and chairs, then hose down the patio surface. Kaivac's KaiPow degreaser solution is certified by Green Seal, so it's environmentally friendly and helps break up the tough grease that can collect on your outdoor surfaces. A wet-vac system will also vacuum up all of the soils and wastewater for safe, environmentally friendly disposal.
For more information on restaurant cleaning, click here.