Restaurant Cleaning Checklist

What is a Restaurant Cleaning Checklist?

A restaurant cleaning checklist, as the name suggests, is a checklist that lists down all the equipment and objects that must be cleaned by the staff every day, weekly or monthly, for maintaining proper hygiene standards. It is a checklist that helps the staff to ensure that the whole restaurant is cleaned, disinfected, and sanitized, without skipping anything, to maintain food safety. All the food safety hazards are identified and then measures are taken to combat these issues, ensuring that the food is free from any food hazards. Furthermore, due to the recent global pandemic of COVID-19, restaurants have started taking extra precautions, and have been following all the Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) set for COVID-19. This requires all surfaces to be disinfected more than the usual times.

Why is Maintaining Restaurant Cleanliness so Important?

The various local and international food regulatory authorities have set up certain protocols and rules, which must be followed to ensure that the food made at the restaurant is free from any microorganisms, and was prepared in a safe and clean environment. This ensures that the food is safe for human consumption, with negligible chances of any food-related diseases from spreading. These checklists help to ensure that cross-contamination is prevented. If the regulatory food authorities, during an inspection, find any violations of these rules, you would have to face the consequences of violating the laws. They could impose a heavy fine or even seal your restaurant. Restaurant cleanliness is not just important for the customers; it is equally important for the staff too. Unhygienic working conditions can cause the spread of diseases amongst the staff too.

Restaurant cleanliness is not just limited to the scrubbing and sanitizing of the tables and chairs of your restaurant. It also includes sanitizing measures taken by your staff, such as frequent hand washing and sanitizing, wearing gloves, masks, and hair caps. Your staff must be trained well to practice all these protocols and they should be able to prioritize food safety. Moreover, due to COVID-19, the frequently touched surfaces, such as door handles, should be disinfected more frequently than usual.

Furthermore, from the business point of view, restaurant owners must maintain good cleanliness of the restaurant to prevent any customer from leaving negative reviews regarding the restaurant’s cleanliness. One negative review can have a huge impact on the restaurant’s business. Another thing to keep in mind is that word of mouth also spreads like bush fire. If one customer falls sick after having food from your restaurant, it leaves a bad taste in the customer’s mouth, making it a horrid experience for them. Customers tend to discuss these horrid experiences with other customers, forcing them to contemplate visiting your restaurant.

Crucial Cleaning Areas in a Restaurant 

Generally, to maintain a safe and clean environment, the restaurant is split into two: the back of the house and the front of the house. It is practically impossible to clean every surface of the restaurant every day. Therefore, the cleaning practices are split into daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly checklists. Certain areas, such as bathrooms, and cooking appliances, must be cleaned every day. Apart from these, all tables and chairs must be cleaned every day. Some areas have to be cleaned during and after shifts, and some end of the day. Furthermore, the front of the house must be clean at all times, since the first impression is the last. 

To sum it up, the following areas are very crucial to be cleaned in a restaurant:

1. Kitchen

The most important area of a restaurant where the food is handled, prepared, and processed. It must be kept clean and sanitized at all times to prevent any food hazards from occurring.

2. Storage

The place where all raw materials are stored must be clean and well-organized. A well maintained and organized storage does not have any spoilt ingredients and overstocked raw materials.

3. Dining

The dining area is where the customers will spend most of their time. It is extremely essential to keep the tables, chairs, and bar clean and sanitized before and after each customer sits.

4. Bathrooms

This is the next most visited space by customers. The restrooms must be kept clean, dry, and odorless at all times. They must also be sanitized frequently to decrease any chances of cross-contamination.  

Top Restaurant Cleaning Checklist

The restaurant cleaning checklist can be split into four for the ease of the staff. These four checklists are:

  1. Everyday Cleaning Checklist
  2. Weekly Cleaning Checklist
  3. Monthly Cleaning Checklist
  4. Yearly Cleaning Checklist

These checklists contain areas and surfaces to be cleaned in the back-of-house and the front-of-house.

Certain terms are used in the checklists which one must be aware of. These terms include the following:

  • Wipe down: it means using water to clean.
  • Clean: it means using soap to clean.
  • Sanitize: using a sanitizing solution.
  • Last completed: this is important for the person who is going through the checklist. It gives them an idea about when this task was last completed. 

Front-of-House Cleaning Checklist

Front of the house cleaning is extremely important since the customer who walks in for the first time notices the front of the restaurant, forming the first impression of this place. Hence, the front-of-house cleaning checklist is formulated in such a way so that it takes care of this issue.

The front-of-house cleaning checklist contains the following protocols:

  • Cleaning of window blinds, windowsills, and shutters.
  • Cleaning of railings, artwork, woodwork, and other decoration items.
  • Wipe down the entrance doors, frames, handles.
  • Wipe down the logo imprint on the entrance doors.
  • Clean all furniture.
  • Vacuum the upholstery of the furniture remove any debris from it.
  • Dust and then wipe down the exposed floor surface, especially the corners of the floor.
  • Clean the ceiling air vents and ceiling tiles. 
  • Vacuum the rugs, mats, and exposed carpeting.
  • Remove sticky substances, such as chewing gum, from underneath the surface of the tables.
  • Clean all ashtrays and spot clean all mirrors.
  • Sanitize public phones, replace note pads and pencils used by the public.  
  • Cleaning of the bathrooms

Due to the current global pandemic situation, all surfaces that are touched and used the most must be sanitized frequently.

Cleaning supplies needed for the front-of-house cleaning:

  • Surface and glass spray cleaners
  • Bleach or any commercial sanitizing solution
  • Clean cloths
  • Vacuum
  • Bathroom cleaner and toilet brush
  • Broom
  • Mop and bucket
  • Other supplies, such as toilet paper, napkins, etc.

Back-of-House Cleaning Checklist

The back of the house can be compared to a factory where all the raw materials are processed to make the final product. Since the processing of the raw materials takes place here, it tends to be a lot messier and dirtier than the front of the house. For the safety of the staff and customers, this area should be kept clean and sanitized at all times. This is only possible if the back of the house is cleaned multiple times during the day. It should be cleaned during the shift and when closing out. Cleaning while closing out helps to ensure that the back of the house is ready and fully charged up for the next day. It also ensures that there is no room for the growth of microorganisms, and insects, such as cockroaches and ants in the kitchen. Battling with these microorganisms and insects is not an easy task; they create havoc in the restaurant. Thus, as a preventative measure, the back of the house must be cleaned at the closing out time.

Cleaning supplies needed for the back-of-house cleaning:

  • Bleach or commercial sanitizing agent
  • Trash bags
  • Stiff bristle brush
  • Paper towels
  • Mop and bucket
  • Hot soapy water
  • Hand soap
  • Degreaser
  • Power washer
  • Surface cleaners
  • Glass sprays
  • Clean cloths
  • Stainless steel cleaner
  • Dishwashing detergent
  • Gloves used in food preparation

Daily Restaurant Cleaning Checklist

Running a restaurant requires you to clean certain areas and objects of the restaurant daily. Countless number of people come and go; they dine in, use the restrooms, touch the door handles, and maybe even spill food on the table or floor. These insignificant things can create a big impact on the overall cleanliness of your restaurant. Certain areas must be cleaned daily, such as the dining area, waiting area, restrooms, and kitchen.

To simplify the daily restaurant cleaning checklist, it has been split into two:

1. Front of House Daily Cleaning Checklist

During the Shift:

  • Clean and disinfect tables and chairs after each customer leaves.
  • Look out for any crumbs, food, or dirt on the floor and clean it right away.
  • Spot clean windows and doors to make sure they are free of any streaks and spots.
  • After every customer, ensure that the tables are fully stocked.
  • During the pandemic, do not keep the usual condiments, such as bottles of ketchup, to prevent the spread of the disease. Only give it to those customers who ask for it. After use, wipe them down.
  • Ensure that the restrooms are cleaned and disinfected periodically throughout the day; preferably after every use.
  • Clean and disinfect the door handles, railings as frequently as you can, especially during peak hours.

Closing Out:

  • Disinfect menus
  • Disinfect and clean all tables and chairs
  • Thoroughly clean and disinfect the restrooms
  • Vacuum any visible crumbs and dirt
  • Sweep and mop the floors
  • Prepare cutlery and napkins for the next shift

2. Back of House Daily Cleaning Checklist

The back of the house daily cleaning checklist is a bit more thorough than the front of the house cleaning checklist. It can get dirtier a lot more quickly than the front of the house, and it must be cleaned regularly.

The back of house cleaning is split into the following categories as it is a big area that has to be cleaned:

(i). Prep Station

During the Shift:

  • Wipe down and sanitize various surfaces between food preparation
  • Check if the work station has been cleaned and disinfected before starting to work 
  • Keep work stations clear by moving used utensils to the dish pit as needed
  • Wrap and date everything after placing it into a new container

Closing Out:

  • Sweep and mop the floor
  • Empty all trash bins
  • Discard used towels linens appropriately
  • Refill soap and paper towel dispensers
  • Throw cardboard boxes in the recycling bin
  • Remove floor mats for cleaning
  • Wipeout and disinfect the food prep stations
  • Polish all stainless steel surfaces, including ice makers and refrigerators
  • Clean all utensils and tools, including cutting boards, containers, etc.      

(ii). The Line

During the Shift

  • Clean any spills and splatters
  • Check temperatures of the hot and cold food holding units
  • Sanitize at regular intervals
  • Scrape down the griddles and grills in between uses

Closing Out:

  • Degrease and sanitize all surfaces
  • Sweep and mop the floor
  • Filter the oil in the fryer
  • Remove floor mats for cleaning
  • Place all dirty towels and linens in the appropriate bins
  • Empty the trash bins
  • Clean all equipment and tools
  • Take all the used utensils to the dish pit
  • Clean all the grills and griddles and empty drip trays

(iii). The Dish Pit

During the Shift:

  • Mop the floor frequently to keep the area dry
  • Return clean and washed food preparation equipment, dishes and glassware during gaps
  • Empty the dishwasher from the last shift

Closing Out:

  • Sweep and mop the floor
  • Dispose of dirty towels and used linens in the appropriate bins
  • Dispose of the trash and recycling materials
  • Clean and sanitize the sinks and washing stations
  • Hand wash the equipment, tools, etc. that cannot be placed in the dishwasher
  • Run the dishwasher overnight with the remaining kitchen tools and equipment 

Weekly Restaurant Cleaning Schedule Template

There are certain things in a restaurant that you can get away with cleaning weekly. These may include various types of equipment, such as ovens, freezers, dishwashers. This restaurant cleaning checklist template will give you an idea regarding what this checklist should look like.

Just like the other cleaning checklists, the weekly restaurant cleaning is split into the following:

1. Front of House Cleaning

Sanitize tables

  • Wipe down salt and pepper shakers and the condiments
  • Wipe down all counters, including the cash counter and reception desk
  • Wipe down walls
  • Clean and disinfect all the chairs and benches
  • Wash all cloth napkins, aprons, tablecloths in the washing machine
  • Vacuum carpets, foot mats, and sofas
  • Sweep and mop all floors
  • Clean all the trash bins and recycling bins thoroughly
  • Clean and sanitize the restrooms

2. Back of House Cleaning

  • Clean the floors with a drain cleaner
  • Wash and sanitize the refrigerators and freezers
  • Descale the sinks and faucets
  • Boil out the deep fryer
  • Clean the ovens thoroughly
  • Disinfect the waste disposal area
  • Wash all cloths, linens, and uniforms in the washing machine
  • Clean the sinks
  • Wipe down walls
  • Clean the grill, griddle, fryer, flattop, range thoroughly
  • Change the foil lining on top of the girls, ranges, etc.
  • Disinfect the food prep stations
  • Clean and disinfect the heads of the soda fountains
  • Clean equipment, such as coffee makers, toasters, etc.

In case of a health scare, these protocols may have to be practiced more frequently than just weekly.

Monthly Restaurant Kitchen Cleaning Schedule Template

The monthly cleaning schedule for the restaurant kitchen looks something like this:

  • Cleaning of freezers
  • Empty and sanitize the ice machine
  • Change pest traps, if any, in the kitchen
  • Wipe down all the storage areas in the kitchen
  • Wipe down all the walls and ceiling for any grease and food stains
  • Clean the ovens, cooking ranges, and fryers thoroughly to remove the grease build-up   

Yearly Cleaning List

The yearly restaurant cleaning list, is again, split into the following:

1. Front of House

(i). Deep clean

  • Carpets
  • Upholstery

(ii). Checking

  • Fire alarms
  • Smoke alarms
  • Security systems
  • Cooling and heating systems

2. Back of House

(i). Deep clean

  • Ice machine (at least twice a year)
  • Vent hoods (twice a year)
  • Dishwashers
  • Pilot Lights on gas equipment

(ii). Checking

  • Fire extinguishers
  • Fire suppression system

5S Restaurant Cleaning Checklist

This checklist guides the staff better regarding the cleanliness of the restaurant. The 5S principles help to maintain better cleanliness and orderliness of your restaurant. This checklist is mainly for the restaurant inspectors.

The 5S Principles include the following:

  • Sort
  • Set in order
  • Shine
  • Standardize
  • Sustain

This checklist is a very comprehensive checklist used by restaurant inspectors that ensure that all these 5S principles are being implemented to ensure the best restaurant cleanliness protocols are being followed.

Bar Cleaning Checklist

The bar is another area of the restaurant that cannot be neglected. To ensure proper cleanliness, the bar is also cleaned similarly to the other areas.

The bar cleaning checklist is as follows:

During the Shift:

  • Wipe down the bar and sanitize very frequently
  • Glassware should be washed in the dishwasher
  • Empty the trash cans and recycling bins
  • Refill the supplies of napkins, straws, and stirrers
  • Disinfect the bar stools

Closing Out:

  • Wipe down all the bottles
  • Sweep and mop the floor
  • Clean the soda guns
  • Clean and empty the garnish trays
  • Wipe down the speedwells

Once a Week

  • Clean and flush the keg lines
  • Any movable equipment should be cleaned thoroughly from behind
  • Dust and wipe down all the bottles, shelves, decorations
  • Wipe down the surfaces inside the coolers

Cleaning supplies needed for the cleaning of the bar:

  • Bleach or commercial sanitizing solution
  • Trash bags
  • Broom
  • Surface cleaners
  • Clean bar rags

Cafeteria Cleaning Checklist

A cafeteria tends to be smaller than a restaurant, but under no circumstances can its cleanliness be compromised. Just like the restaurant cleaning, the cafeteria cleaning checklist also has similar protocols that must be followed.

The cafeteria cleaning checklist includes the following:

  • Clean and disinfect all the floor drains
  • Clean and disinfect all the tables and counters
  • Clean the ice machines, ice dispensers, tables, chairs, microwaves, coolers, sinks
  • Clean and degrease the ovens, cooking ranges, grills
  • Clean the vent hoods
  • Broom and mop the floor
  • Clean the floor mats
  • Vacuum all the rugs and carpets, and the upholstery
  • Clean all the decorations and wall hangings 
  • Clean the walls and ceilings
  • Clean the glass doors and windows
  • Disinfect all the handrails and door handles

Pastry Kitchen Cleaning Checklist

The pastry kitchen is a bit different from a regular kitchen in terms of operation.

Generally, a pastry kitchen cleaning checklist looks more or less like this:

  • Clean all walls, doors, and ceiling
  • Polish all copper plumbing
  • Celan vent hoods
  • Empty all grease traps and pans
  • Sweep and mop the floor
  • Clean all ranges, stoves, steam tables, mixers, ovens, and salamanders
  • Clean all equipment, including broilers, griddles, skillets, rotary ovens, flat tops, and fryers
  • Disinfect all floor drains
  • Disinfect all surfaces frequently  

Effective Restaurant Cleaning Schedule with EcoDocs

Cleaning a restaurant is not as simple as running a restaurant. The restaurant requires a thorough cleaning; some things have to be cleaned daily, some weekly, and some monthly. Keeping a track of all the things that have been cleaned and those that have not been cleaned can be very frustrating. Furthermore, it can even affect your business if you fail to meet the cleanliness and hygiene standards, as expected by your customers. One negative review from one customer can do a lot of damage to your reputation, and it would cause you to lose some potential customers.

Moreover, keeping a track of all the areas, objects, and machineries that have to be cleaned can be quite difficult if you do not follow a systemic approach. Also, managing so many papers and files that have the restaurant cleaning checklist can be very cumbersome. In this digital era, nobody likes to struggle with maintaining records on paper as they take up a lot of space, and are not environmentally friendly. This record maintaining is extremely necessary for giving proof to the food regulatory authorities, such as FDA, to show that your restaurant is following all the protocols deemed necessary for food safety. If you do not follow these protocols, you would be penalized severely for it, including fines and sealing your restaurant.

EcoDocs, powered by Folio3, provides its users with a comprehensive software for maintaining the cleanliness and hygiene standards of your restaurant. This software helps to ensure that the staff is conducting restaurant sanitizing and cleaning religiously, without forgetting to clean anything. Through this software, you can easily access old restaurant cleaning checklists at any given time. it is a good software to keep all your staff in the loop and to make sure everybody is well updated with the cleaning routine of your restaurant. It is a good investment that one can make for better restaurant cleanliness.  

Final Thoughts

Running a restaurant is useless if you do not pay heed to the cleanliness of your restaurant. Apart from using customers, you would also be getting into trouble during restaurant inspections. You would be heavily fined and maybe even banned from operating your restaurant. The restaurant cleaning checklists provide you with a better and systematic cleaning approach towards your cleanliness regimen.

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