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9 Top Tips to DEEP Spring-Clean your Restaurant

Variety of cleaning products including gloves sponges cleaning cloths

by Jane Auster

Whether you've closed your restaurant temporarily or converted to takeout, delivery or drive-thru only, the coronavirus offers an opportunity to do the kind of deep cleaning that makes regular spring-cleaning look like a light dusting.
"Cleaning is getting the visible; disinfecting is getting the invisible, the germs, the viruses," said cleaning expert Mark Mellish, owner of Saskatoon Janitorial, in an interview.


1. Think like Mr. Clean. It's not just about cleaning now, it's about sanitizing. That means sanitizing all work surfaces (i.e., countertops, equipment, etc.) and focusing on key touchpoints (tables, chairs, door handles, credit/debit machines, self-serve kiosks, light switches, utensils/plate ware...anywhere hands can carry germs). Back-of-house and front-of-house should both receive heightened attention.
2. Move the furniture. Don't just move tables aside, but disinfect them in the kitchen and move everything away from the area you are disinfecting to prevent chemical contamination.
3. Institute a cleaning schedule. Even without dine-in business and with fewer staff in place, you still need a rigorous cleaning schedule and checklist that you share with all employees. Hourly cleaning may sound excessive, but it will ensure your surfaces remain clean – and likely germ-free.
4. Read the labels. The fine print on cleaning products recommends how long to keep the disinfectants on the surface for them to be effective at killing germs. Also, make sure you're using the right product for the right job. Homemade mixtures with vinegar, for instance, have not been shown to be potent enough against COVID-19.

5. Don't forget your washrooms. While washrooms are removed from the kitchen and dining area, they, too, need extreme cleaning. That means toilets, stalls, hand dryers, toilet paper dispensers, sinks, waste bins, and any other people-facing equipment.

6. Mind your menus. If menus can be discarded, whether they're made of paper or plastic, replace them with new ones. If you have laminated menus and this isn't feasible, disinfect them carefully and "isolate" them from everyday use until it's safe to return to more normal operations. If you've converted to delivery and takeout, likely you're relying on online orders in any case.
7. Remember, the little things count. Deep, COVID-19 cleaning means taking into consideration even the smallest items, such as the salt and pepper shakers. Empty them before cleaning and allow them to air dry before refilling. Empty and thoroughly clean any other tabletop food containers, like ketchup, mustard and vinegar dispensers.
8. Give walls, curtains and blinds a thorough cleansing. COVID-19 is a respiratory virus and not considered to be a food-borne illness. To be on the safe side, clean vertical surfaces, which may carry air-borne pathogens.
9. Let your customers know. Use social media and signage in your front window to tell diners what steps you're taking to keep your operation clean. Use this as an opportunity to keep in touch and keep customers informed and loyal. They'll thank you for the care you're taking.


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Cook washing hands in an industrial kitchen

Foodservice establishments are typically judged by three things:

  • Food
  • Quality of service
  • Cleanliness

Cleanliness, in particular, should be top of mind for all foodservice operators, managers and employees due to the risks associated with improper food handling. By upholding certain standards, restaurant operators can lower these risks, including the spread of harmful germs and bacteria that can surface when raw food, changing of hands and an influx of people are involved. 


Cascades has provided several tips to help restaurants navigate the cleaning and maintenance of their back of house (and ace health inspections):


Stay ahead of the game

Foodservice establishments should always be health inspection ready.


It’s up to managers to conduct regular in-house inspections to ensure that everything is up to par and that employees are completing tasks appropriately. These inspections, whether daily, weekly or monthly, can help identify what protocols or procedures need to be adjusted or improved before the health inspector sets foot in the restaurant.


Establish a cleaning plan

There are a lot of different surfaces, tools and cooking devices used in a restaurant kitchen and sometimes cleaning it all can seem a bit daunting.


By establishing a schedule, employees will have a structured and organized plan to guide their shifts’ duties. A cleaning schedule will also put all employees on the same page and spell out exactly what is expected of them and when.


In most foodservice operations, there will be standard operating procedures for the frequency of certain cleanings, such as what tasks to do after each cooking shift, daily, weekly, monthly and annually.


Provide easy access to hand cleaning supplies

Many health departments check to see if employees have easy access to soap and a sink to clean their hands. To keep germs at bay in restrooms and beyond, foodservice establishments should ensure that soap and hand towel dispensers are properly maintained and well stocked at all times. Placing no-touch dispensers for soap and hand towels in restrooms can help control the spread of harmful bacteria and viruses and make it easier to stay germ-free for both employees and customers alike.


Don’t forget the little things

Part of the cleaning schedule and plan should be a list explaining the different surfaces in the kitchen and prep areas that also deserve attention. Employees should be made aware of items or areas of the kitchen that can be easily overlooked, including backsplashes, shelving and movable prep surfaces.


Use quality products

As a restaurant works its way through cleaning protocols, it’s important that employees use high-quality products to complement their efforts.


Beware of cross-contamination

The spread of food-borne illness is a top concern for department of health inspectors across North America and cross-contamination is a key culprit.


Using colour-coded foodservice wipers can help make it easier to avoid cross-contamination in the kitchen. By introducing a colour-coded system for cleaning, foodservice operators can help employees quickly recognize which wiper to use to clean spills in the dining area and which wiper to use to disinfect prep stations, for example.


Avoid paper waste

For those food establishments that use napkin dispensers, one napkin-at-a-time™ dispensers, like the Cascades PRO Tandem™ countertop interfold napkin dispenser, can help reduce napkin waste by up to 25% and reduce the risk of cross contamination, compared to traditional napkins.


For more foodservice education visit For information on Cascades products, contact your Flanagan sales representative or call 1-855-FLANAGAN.


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Blog Contributor Portrait
Jackie Oakes
March 8, 2021
Blog Contributor Portrait
Flanagan Foodservice
December 5, 2019

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