|Two of the most overlooked areas, yet ones that can leave a lasting impression on diners, are public restrooms and the front entrance. If an owner neglects either of these areas, it can ultimately have an effect on the company’s reputation as well as the fiscal bottom line.|
“Research indicates that customers assume that if there is a lack of cleanliness in the bathroom, then there must be a lack of cleanliness in the kitchen, too,” says Brown. “Whether or not this is true is irrelevant. The risk of not properly cleaning and maintaining the bathroom can damage the brand’s reputation.”
Coulter says that while restrooms typically account for less than five per cent of the restaurant space, they can be the cause of 20 per cent of the soil and complaints. Still, Coulter believes other parts of the restaurant deserve an equal amount of attention.
“Don’t forget about the front entrance, inside and out,” says Coulter. “The customer’s experience begins the moment they arrive in the parking lot. First impressions are important and affect dining decisions.”
It’s a team effort
Of course, keeping a restaurant looking spic and span requires a team effort – from diligent kitchen staff ensuring proper cleaning of utensils and equipment to front-of-house workers pitching in with dining room maintenance. However, keeping staff engaged and well trained can be a significant challenge: High employee turnover, on-going training and how to better work with cleaning suppliers are all big considerations.
“For many young individuals, the restaurant industry provides them with their first place of employment,” says Coulter. “Restaurateurs have a responsibility to educate young industry staff about the importance of a clean facility and how it relates directly to increased food and beverage revenues. This training needs to continue far beyond the first orientation meeting as employees come and go through their facility to ensure a consistent level of cleaning.”
Training is key
Brown adds that not only is it important for operators to adequately train employees and commit to regular inspections with staff members, but workers need to be given clear direction when it comes to keeping the premises and equipment in tip-top shape.
“Create checklists for staff that include daily, weekly and monthly cleaning tasks,” suggests Brown. “Assign tasks to individuals so that there is accountability and responsibility for what needs to be accomplished. Create an expectation that inspections will be held, so that staff members remain diligent about completing their assigned cleaning duties. Talk to staff about the importance of training when it comes to cleaning procedures and routines.”
Coulter says that in addition to staff training, owners should encourage an atmosphere of collaboration between suppliers and employees.
“Staff training is critical to maintaining a clean, hygienic and efficient operation,” says Coulter. “Reputable chemical suppliers work with their customers to provide a variety of training solutions that not only help manage cleaning costs, but contribute to protecting the brand. Over-dosing of chemicals is a common issue and proper training reinforces the fact that more is not necessarily better.”
Keeping a foodservice establishment clean and well-maintained not only goes a long way to ensuring customer health and safety, it can also help form the kind of positive impression that will keep your customers coming back and passing along their good word to others.
“A safe, simple and sustainable cleaning program has a direct impact on guest experience and increased revenues,” says Coulter. “When designing your cleaning program at your facility, work with a company that understands your operation and can provide solutions that contribute to the profitability of your business. The guy with the cheapest pail of soap is not usually the right provider.”