How to Clean a Grocery Store

by | Oct 3, 2019

The grocery business, like all retail, is in great upheaval. Shoppers can buy online and then choose home delivery or curb-side pick-up. Big name players have worked to adapt to the new expectations by shoppers. Mass marketers like Target and Walmart have jumped into the grocery game and even smaller convenience stores are expanding their offerings in an attempt to grab a piece of this over $700 billion a year business.

How can any supermarket stay ahead of these dynamic changes? Knowing how to clean a grocery store will make a huge difference.

It sounds obvious yet shiny floors, impeccable cooler cases and sparkling, fresh smelling restrooms makes all the difference to consumers. Clean and sanitary stores shows you care, letting customers know you can be trusted to handle fresh produce, dairy, meat and seafood.

And, maybe more importantly, it inspires delight, a good thing since ‘delighted’ customers are 2.2 times more likely to recommend a store than those that are merely ‘satisfied.’

Still, grocery store cleaning isn’t easy. Stores are big, with over 41,000 median total square feet,  employees are busy and outside contractors are expensive. But with the right tools and techniques, grocery story cleaning can be quick, easy and effective.

Refrigerated Display Cases: They’re Dirtier Than You Think

Cleaning refrigerated display cases is a job often left to an expensive outside HVAC contractor…if it’s done at all. There’s a lack of standard cleaning protocols for cooler cases with advice ranging from cleaning coils once a week to every 30-90 days. In reality, many grocery store managers just wing it, or wait until there’s a malfunction.

This hurts the bottom line in a variety of ways. Dirty refrigerated display cases lead to:

  • Increased energy bills.
  • Increased service calls.
  • Decreased equipment life.
  • Decreased product sales.

Kaivac’s Cooler Case Cleaner offers a better solution that offers a very fast ROI. The spray-and-vac technology gently cleans sensitive equipment in half the time of manual cleaning methods. Like all Kaivac machines, the Cooler Case Cleaner is simple to learn, easy to use and much less expensive than outside service contractors. Your employee can clean refrigerated display cases so they look and smell clean while keeping expensive product fresh and safe.

Clean condenser coils make each unit operate much more efficiently cutting energy costs dramatically. Since refrigeration units are such energy hogs, these savings add up quickly.

Clean Floors: Your Store’s Opportunity to Shine

Grocery store floors take a beating. Between heavy foot traffic, rolling loads, tracked-in weather-related messes like rain, melting snow and road salts, and all nature of spills it’s hard work to keep them clean, safe and appealing. Yet that’s what store managers have to do to keep customers happy and coming back.

There are two factors to cleaning grocery store floors: daily maintenance and emergency spill cleanup. Both are equally important for occupant health and safety.

Daily maintenance is usually performed overnight when the store is closed. Some 24-hour establishments do slow, daily cleaning with dust mopping, wet mopping and then trail mopping or air drying. Cleaning is this manual old-fashioned mop and bucket method is difficult, time consuming and not very effective at cleaning the grocery store.

Some supermarkets switch to an autoscrubbers to do this daily job but that technology is expensive, bulky and hard to use.

Grocery Store Floor Cleaning Machines Work

An AutoVac Stretch Cordless floor cleaning machine is a better choice for grocery floors. This easy-to-learn and simple-to-use technology works three to four times faster than a mop while actually removing soils from the floor. A fraction of the cost of an autoscrubber, it cleans in one pass leaving floors sparkling clean, dry and ready to walk on.

While daily maintenance usually happens at night, emergency spill cleanup can happen at any time. Do it wrong and there can be a price to pay. That cost doesn’t come from lost product but from the estimated 1 million yearly hospital emergency room visits due to slips and falls. Compensation and medical costs associated with employee slip/fall accidents add up to approximately $70 billion annually.

Attending to a spill immediately is key. Start by blocking access to the mess, either with safety cones or closing off the aisle, so no one slips or tracks the spill through the store. Then get cleaning.  Reaching for a mop may seem like the most obvious solution, but mopping only spreads the soils around making the problem worse. Even if the spill is completely removed, the floor remains wet making it a slip hazard. An autoscrubber would do the job but it’s big, expensive and bulky.

Luckily the same Kaivac AutoVac used for daily maintenance works for emergency spills too. Designed for heavy-duty commercial floor maintenance, the wet vacuum removes spills quickly and completely leaving floors dry and ready for shoppers to walk on.

Restrooms: Your Unexpected Showroom

A quick glance at the professional discussion thread below RetailWire‘s article, How do consumers define cleanliness in grocery stores? confirms it. Restrooms cleanliness is pivotal to your store’s reputation. Comments include: ‘If the bathroom is dirty what does it say about the rest of the store?’ and ‘restaurant clean should be the standard.’

Georgianne Bender, consumer anthropologist at Kizer & Bender lays it out with humor. ‘We joke in our presentations that we can tell exactly how well a store is run by the state of its restrooms. It always gets a laugh, but it’s true. The ladies’ restroom is always the first place I visit when doing a consultation.’

The bottom line is: restroom cleanliness is always important, but vital in an establishment that sells food like a grocery store. Get it wrong and you’ll lose trust, customers and revenue.

Still, cleaning grocery restrooms can be a hassle. Mops and buckets are bulky and require bending and twisting. Cleaning fixtures like toilets, urinals and sinks is slow work and asks employees to get on their hands and knees. Worse of all, neither method leaves the restroom fully clean.

Kaivac No-Touch Cleaning System, however, can get the job done quickly and completely leaving restrooms sparkling clean, dry and ready to use. The system’s combination of automatic chemical metering and injection, indoor pressure washer and powerful wet vacuum cleans up to 60 times better than cotton or microfiber mops in one half to one third of the time.

The system also does a great job of cleaning tile and grout by fully removing the bacteria that causes stains and unpleasant odors.

Our Recommended Solutions

Cooler Case Cleaner

Refrigerated Case Cooler Cleaner

Product KV1750

KV1750 No-Touch Cleaning Machine

Product AutVac Stretch

AutoVac Stretch Floor Cleaning Machine

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.
Amy Milshtein
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