7 Restaurant Cleaning Steps to Combat COVID-19

by | 24-Oct-2022

Not only is a clean restaurant crucial in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it also sets up your business for the optimal customer experience.

Cleanliness gives employees a sense of pride and accountability and lets customers know that you take food safety seriously. Right now people are extremely cautious about where they are getting their food from. Restaurants need to prove they are going above and beyond to protect their customers.

Many customers correlate your store’s cleanliness with the quality of the food you serve. It determines whether they come back, and whether they tell their friends.

Due to dine-in restrictions brought on by COVID-19, many restaurants are already seeing a decline in business. In short, lost trust in food cleanliness means fewer repeat and new customers when you need them the most.

How to Achieve a Clean Restaurant 

To achieve cleaner, safer stores, you’ll need complete team accountability. This means getting employees to work like you’re there, even when you’re away.

To get the daily duties of your store done right every time, you’ll need to introduce digital checklists for accountability. Instead of paper binders, you’ll have accessible checklists you can check from anywhere.

Even more, digital checklists provide photo-proof of a job well done. This is a significant improvement from trusting a checkmark when you’re out of the store. With COVID-19 travel restrictions, digital checklists allow you to check in on your stores from the comfort of your quarantine couch.

An example of a digital checklist with photo-proof in Jolt.

Clean Restaurant Using Jolt

With added concern for COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to deep clean your restaurant and improve your kitchen cleaning procedures. Here’s a clear path to a cleaner store in seven steps:

1. Trust Your Processes. They Will Work.

If you’re the franchisee or GM of a branded restaurant, you likely have a comprehensive set of procedures handed down from corporate. You may have also received additional instructions on the handling of COVID-19. They’re an amazing thing, and one of the reasons it’s beneficial to franchise with a corporate company or restaurant group.

If you’re an independent restaurateur, you’ve likely created your own set of procedures for daily restaurant success. They involve cleaning, prep, shift change, opening, close—all the major, repeatable aspects of running your restaurant.

Your tried and true processes work, but with the added risk of contracting COVID-19, your processes and cleanings should be repeated more often. The CDC has provided information on proper cleaning procedure.

2. Achieve Team Accountability In Your Restaurant

To do this, you’ll need to achieve team accountability. I say “team” because you’ll need to get everyone on board with making your restaurant cleaner, not just your star employees.

Achieving team accountability is not as difficult as you might think. The best way to accomplish this is by measuring your processes. This will give you a realistic measurement of what’s getting done each day, and what areas you can celebrate and improve.

3. Measure Accountability to Improve It

You may already have a measurement tool in place—in which case, it’s failing you.

These can include paper checklists, whiteboards, binders, and other manual methods meant to keep track of side work and shift duties.

These measurements only speak in binary. They tell you if a task is done, or not done. Or more accurately, they tell you if an employee says a task is done or not done.

While this is the right idea for getting your daily processes accomplished, you’re still staring down the barrel of a dirty restaurant.

Your clipboards and binders will continue to fail you until you can both trust and leverage the information you’re collecting inside them.

4. Make Real-Time Adjustments In Your Store

Consider food safety in your kitchen. How do you ensure that a burger is cooked to temperature?

You use a probe to measure it, and if it’s not up to standard, you put the patty back on the grill.

The same applies to the cleanliness of your restaurant. If you measure employee accountability in real time, you’ll be able to act on it immediately.

This goes for all the processes we mentioned: opening checklists, temperature logs, disinfecting procedures, shift swap, food prep, closing duties—you name it. When something fails to reach standard, like the temperature of a burger, we work as a team to get it there ASAP.

5. Change the Context Around Accountability

You have to think about cleanliness the same way you do food safety. It’s so critical that, when the standard isn’t met, we simply cannot move forward.

Realizing the power of real-time measurement with a tool like Jolt can change the context around getting your daily processes accomplished. By switching your processes to digital checklists, you can get notifications when a checklist is completed, how well duties were performed, and when a checklist is past due.

Having real-time information gives you the insight to make decisions in the moment, knowing precisely what needs attention, and when.

Even more, your team will understand there’s a new way of measuring accountability in your restaurant, which often changes behavior in a hurry.

6. Better Visibility: Go Beyond the Checkmark

You’ll be creating checklists with various items, scheduling them to appear at certain times, and setting due dates for each list.

For those of you with clear processes already outlined, Jolt allows bulk import of lists to make this process a bit faster, and some partner brands will have preexisting checklists built into Jolt.

Once your processes are digitized, the real advantages come to life. You’re now off the binary system of “done” and “not done.” You have a more nuanced way of measuring employee accountability, and getting everyone to act together as a team.

Jolt allows more than a dozen input types—photos, numerical ranking, multiple choice, and others—that give you a more complete story of the work being done.

One easy example is turning the chairs at night to sweep and mop. This checklist item can require a photo showing all the chairs flipped in the dining room, and the floor clear of debris.

Employees are unlikely to leave your restaurant a mess if they have to capture a photo of completed duties with their name attached. This is a serious improvement in employee accountability.

7. Use Jolt to Help You Stay Clean & Consistent

Jolt’s Team Accountability solution has two outcomes: clean and consistent.

If your restaurant is measurably cleaner, and executing processes more consistently, things are working like they should.

Jolt helps you change the context around accountability in your restaurant to get the outcomes you’re looking for.

Read more Jolt blogs below for best practices and insights for restaurant owners, managers, and other food industry professionals.

Learn more about Jolt Software and help your restaurant master the 7 Restaurant Cleaning Steps to Combat COVID-19 by requesting a free, personalized demo.