When it comes to restaurant flooring choices, designers often take the buffet approach, matching zones: front of house, main dining area, bar, restrooms and kitchen with materials: carpet, vinyl, quarry tile, concrete, rubber and more. While mixing and matching creates a singular look that enhances the dining experience, it also poses challenges for the maintenance crew. Here’s some restaurant floor cleaning techniques to keep each material safe, sanitary and looking its best.
Offering great traction, acoustical dampening and an up-scale look, carpet has long been the material of choice for restaurant dining areas. It can be an environmentally sensitive product as it often incorporates recycled content into its fibers. However, even industrial- grade carpet will show wear in high-traffic areas. Mix in food spills, aerosolized grease from the kitchen and tracked in dirt and expensive carpeting can look old and tired pretty quickly.
Maintain carpet with daily vacuuming and spot clean spills immediately. Set a schedule for deep cleaning. Many restaurateurs contract with a maintenance company for this task, however an in-house No-Touch Cleaning system can extract grease and soils at a much lower cost.
Called, “the new carpet,” in Restaurant Development + Design, concrete has a lot of advantages. It’s incredibly durable and relatively low cost. Paint and stain options are limitless and the material can even be textured to look like stone. When properly sealed, it resists cracking and staining. It’s an on-trend choice in the dining area and, since it can be installed tight to the drains and up the walls to form a cove base, a sanitary choice for the kitchen.
To clean, remove loose soil and grime. Then apply a degreaser and wait the appropriate dwell time before removing all liquids and contaminants with a wet vacuum, leaving floors clean and dry. Concrete floors should be resealed as needed to keep them in good condition.
Highly durable and easy to maintain, ceramic tile makes a great flooring choice for restaurant kitchens and restrooms. A variety of colors and sizes gives designers infinite options for customization. Replacing a broken tile is easy and requires little downtime.
Cleaning tile requires paying special attention to the grout lines. Grout is porous so it absorbs and holds on to spills, be it food and grease in the kitchen or urine in the restroom. Mopping can actually make grout dirtier as the rough surface pulls dirt from the mop. Try using a dispense-and-vac system to fully remove soils from tile and grout. Added advantage: machines like this dry as they go, reducing slips and falls.
Amy Milshtein covers design, facility management and business topics for a variety of trade publications and consumer magazines.
Her work has won several awards, most recently a regional silver Azbee Award of Excellence.
She lives in Portland, OR with her family and Clyde, a 15-lb tabby cat. Once an avid hiker, these days she finds herself on the less-challenging -but-still-exciting 'creaky knees' trails.