The Importance of Sanitation in the Restaurant

sanitation man mopping floor of Coffee Balzac's roaster

Good sanitation is one of the most important priorities in a commercial kitchen. However, sanitation can be easy to overlook in the midst of a busy rush.  Sanitation is more than just wiping down the counters. It’s maintaining proper food storage, ensuring your staff is trained on cross-contamination and danger zone temperatures, performing a wide range of cleaning duties on daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly schedules, and more.

Sanitation may seem overwhelming at first, but ensuring proper sanitation will help your business thrive and keep the Health Department happy.

Why Is Sanitation Important?

Reduces Harmful Microbes

Most food-related illnesses that are caused by restaurants are the result of unsanitary food handling practices. Having just one case of food poisoning linked to your restaurant is enough to destroy your reputation, so training employees to follow safe food handling practices is a necessity. It’s also very important to stay informed of where your inventory comes from to prevent foodborne illness in your restaurant.

It’s a Legal Requirement

The simplest argument for maintaining a safe, sanitary commercial kitchen is because you are legally required to do so. Health inspectors are supposed to inspect restaurants every six months or so just to make sure you are following local safety regulations. If your cleaning schedule is visible for the health inspector they will see that you’re serious about the cleanliness of your restaurant, which makes you look like a rock star.

The FDA and USDA-FSIS also provide valuable information pertaining to inspections, warning letters and what can happen if a health inspector discovers a major violation. For example, the USDA can close a restaurant for a length of time for failing a health inspection.

Back of House Cleaning Routine

It’s no question how busy a commercial kitchen is, especially when you add cleaning into the mix. Don’t stress out too much, as a well-developed cleaning routine can streamline the process. Because your staff likely works in shifts, make specific cleaning duties apart of each employee’s job description.

Make sure your staff knows the proper chemicals to use before you dive into a cleaning routine. This will save everyone a lot of time if proper chemical usage and techniques are clear. Your sanitation training needs to focus heavily on keeping your customers and your staff safe at all times.

Cleaning Checklist

Every commercial kitchen should have a cleaning checklist. This checklist ensures that no pot is left unscrubbed, and no grease trap left undrained.

It’s best practice to clean your equipment according to the manufacturer’s instructions. However, timelines can vary. There are cleaning tasks that should be done every day, while others only require yearly cleaning. To make things easy we’ve compiled lists for daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and equipment specific-cleaning duties. Take a look at our lists here.

How do you keep your kitchen clean? Tell us in the comments below.

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