As the world continues to re-emerge from COVID-19 restrictions, operators must be sure to prepare for the increase in foot traffic and restaurant cleaning expectations while also addressing hiring challenges.
In particular, the increased hygiene and safety demands of consumers in the pandemic age mean more focus than ever before must be placed on maintaining a sanitary environment.
To help restaurants prepare for lifted restrictions and labour shortages, Cintas, which offers a variety of facility services to address cleaning and hygiene for both front- and back-of-house, is offering six essential tips.
“From closures to limited capacity to other restrictions, the restaurant industry remarkably adapted to keep their businesses running during the pandemic,” said expert John Engel. “As restaurants prepare for a return to ‘normal’ this summer, they are faced with new challenges, such as labour shortages, increased demand and maintaining higher levels of cleanliness.”
Some top tips to prepare and continue to cater for an increase in patrons this summer include:
Laundering items and cleaning tools
Laundering items such as microfibre towels, bar towels, mop heads, and uniforms is often a time-consuming process taken on by restaurant owners or managers. Operators can save time and yield better results by outsourcing garments and bulk items that are cleaned through a professional and industrial laundry process.
Restaurant employees need access to cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE). Operators are advised to consider installing chemical dispensers that connect directly to the water line and dispense properly diluted chemicals at the touch of a button.
Similarly, restaurant managers and owners may wish to consider investing in disposable sanitizing and disinfecting wipes to help maintain their stock of quick and readily available hand hygiene and hard-surface solutions. Having PPE like disposable gloves onsite is also critical for foodservice workers that interact with food and many people each day.
Deep cleaning restrooms
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, negative online reviews about restrooms would deter 89 per cent of Americans from a restaurant, according to a Harris Poll survey.
It’s important that restaurants perform regularly scheduled deep cleaning that includes sanitizing surfaces and removing build-up, soil and bacteria. For example, high-pressure cleaning extracts soil and dirty water to prevent cross-contamination and odour-causing bacteria.
Many restaurants removed mats and replaced them with floor stickers to serve as reminders for social distancing. As restaurants return to full capacity, they will experience pre-pandemic levels of foot traffic and wear and tear on floors. Mats can help extend the life of floors by keeping dirt and debris from having an abrasive effect.
Consider an outsourced mat services provider to remove and replace dirty mats with freshly laundered mats. Laundering your own mats is time-consuming and places a strain on your equipment.
Maintaining kitchen drain lines
Fats, oils, grease, and other kitchen food waste accumulate in drain lines over time and often cause foul odours and clogs that require time-consuming pump-outs. Maintaining kitchen drain lines can help keep liquids flowing freely.
Installing touchless soap, sanitizer, and paper towel dispensers
Consider installing touchless dispensers to help avoid spreading germs on high-touch surfaces throughout restaurants. Dispensers without touchless features may harbour more bacteria and viruses. Installing paper towel dispensers to replace air dryers can help avoid spreading germs throughout restrooms.
“Restaurants may wish to uphold their pandemic cleaning protocols to meet increased cleanliness expectations,” added Engel. “Exploring an outsourced model can help restaurant owners save time and allow them to focus on high-priority needs while promoting a positive image.”