The Dirtiest Places in a Restaurant
Eating at a restaurant is a treat. No planning, no cooking, no serving and the best part, no cleaning up. The restaurant staff does it all.
Or do they?
Diners trust that the places they pay to eat, from the most basic fast food joint to an expensive, white tablecloth affair, is clean, safe and sanitary. And to their credit restaurant owners and managers certainly try. After all, they know their reputation is on the line if their spaces are dirty or, even worse, if customers get sick. They should also know that 75% of consumers will not visit or patronize a restaurant with negative reviews about their cleanliness, according to a Harris Poll for Cintas Corporation.
Despite all this, some common areas never get cleaned.
Being aware of the dirtiest places in a restaurant can help keep diners healthy and clue staff in on areas that need special attention.
The Dirtiest Place in a Restaurant: Front of House
It goes without saying, if the restaurant looks dirty, run away. Garbage in the parking lot, smudges on windows and glass doors, crumbs on the floor, sticky door handles and dusty light fixtures are all tell-tale signs of neglect. And that neglect probably extends throughout the establishment.
'If they're cutting corners in their front-of-house…then they're most likely cutting even more corners in the kitchen,' according to leading chefs and food personalities polled by Fox News Live.
The same holds true for the restrooms.
Eighty eight percent of people polled agree that a dirty, smelly or poorly stocked restroom signals a dirty, smelly, poorly cleaned kitchen. Almost 30% of those people will not give the place a second chance.
The Dirtiest Place in a Restaurant: Hiding in Plain Sight
Even if a restaurant looks and smells clean, dirt, germs and bio-pollutants can still hide on common surfaces. Some of the dirtiest places in a restaurant include:
- The Ice Machine: Ice machines can harbor black mold and other pollutants. One study found that 60% of ice tested had more bacteria than toilet water.
- The Menus: Handled by everyone and washed by no one, menus can contain a staggering number of bacteria, perhaps about 100 times more than on a typical toilet seat.
- Salt and Pepper Shakers: Two of the dirtiest items on your table top. Pepper is particularly bad as bacterial really have a taste for the spice.
- The Chairs:A 20/20 Investigation found that 70% of tested restaurant chairs harbored E. coli bacteria.
- The Table Tops: Sure, table tops are wiped down between guests, but with what? A rag may start out clean, but after the first wipe it's absorbed dirt, germs and bacteria and transfers them to other surfaces throughout the shift.
- Other Touchpoints: Door handles, toilet flushers, sink taps and any other commonly touched places harbor lots of dirt and germs.
The Dirtiest Place in a Restaurant: How to Keep them Clean
Restaurant owners and managers use cleaning checklists and defined protocols to keep their establishments clean and safe. But are they supplying their staff with the right cleaning tools? Mops, buckets and rags are unwieldy and slow leaving the cleaning crew with less time and energy to tackle those dirtier areas.
Worse, mops, buckets and rags can't fully remove dirt and bio-pollutants even when used correctly. Used incorrectly, like cleaning with the same mop in the kitchen and the restroom, increases the risk of cross-contamination, which can have dangerous consequences.
Luckily, there are newer technologies that can fully remove dirt, soils and germs from nearly every restaurant surface. Floors, table tops and other touchpoints are left clean, dry and ready to use. This same technology can even be used in restrooms without fear of cross-contamination.
Click here to learn more about cleaning the dirtiest place in a restaurant.
Get detailed information about how Kaivac helps you clean better and faster:
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.