Chipotle has been in the news a lot lately, and not for the reasons any restaurant would want! They’ve shut down and promised a “deep clean” of all locations and hope to recover from the PR beating they’ve had lately. What can you do to help prevent an outbreak of sick guests at your location? Start with a deep clean, clean often, establish a routine and train your employees.
The obvious place to start is with your equipment and prep areas. Clean those well, and keep them clean. Food code requires establishments to clean and sanitize food contact surfaces after each use. But we all know that! What about the other places that are often touched by customers and employees alike, and are often missed during daily cleaning?
- Door Handles: They are used by every person entering your restaurant. It’s important to clean the front door handles, but don’t forget the other ones too. Door handles like those to offices, storage areas, refrigerators, restrooms and the back door are equally as important to wipe down daily.
- Community Areas: Community tables, chairs and benches all need cleaning and sanitizing. They are all touched often and can harbor bacteria. Don’t forget the arm rests and bottoms too.
- Light Switches: Though the switches in the main dining area may only be used in the morning and evening, those that are in storage closets, restrooms and offices might be used much more frequently.
- Railings: You might have them next to steps and stairs, you might have a banister on your second floor that overlooks the lower level. They are used frequently and should be cleaned frequently.
- Tables for your customers: Establish a cleaning routine that is done between each customer. You can use a disinfecting spray in a marked bottle and disposable towels or pre-treated cleaning and sanitizing towels, whichever works best for your restaurant. Make sure it’s clear which roles in the staff are responsible for cleaning duties.
As important as the initial training is, it’s also important to revisit the steps and expectations often. Make sure your employees, both new and old, are familiar with their cleaning and sanitizing responsibilities.
As a manager, remember illnesses like Norovirus are highly contagious and can spread fast, especially in a restaurant setting. If one of your employees is having intestinal issues, play it safe and send them home. Then, make sure the surfaces on this list get a thorough going-over that day.
It just takes a few minutes to clean and sanitize around your restaurant and it can do wonders to prevent the spread of illness.