When it comes to improving employee accountability, there's few measures better than the cleanliness of your store.
As consumers, we often assess a restaurant's entire operation based on how clean the dining room and bathrooms are. When you walk into a visibly clean restaurant, you immediately feel better about eating there.
However, if the restaurant isn't concerned with cleaning the tables and floors, we assume things aren't much better behind the counter.
If you're looking to revamp your kitchen cleaning checklist, or just aiming to improve accountability around cleaning tasks, don't forget to include the daily checklist items below.
Here are the 7 items most often overlooked when it comes to clean stores and clean kitchens.
Front of House (FOH) Cleaning Duties
1. Make Sure the Parking Lot is Free of Debris
Many owners pay close attention to the entrance of their store, but forget it’s actually the parking lot that customers see first.
Ensuring your parking lot is free of debris will set the expectation of a clean, hygienic restaurant inside. This is true of both fast food, fast casual, and fine dining establishments.
Sweeping the parking lot should be on every restaurant owners’ daily cleaning list for the simple reason that it affects customers’ first impressions—and ultimately, whether they return.
2. Stock Your Condiment and Drink Station Early
Condiments, napkins, and straws seem like simple items to handle, but when they run out, they become the top priority.
Restocking during a rush is never ideal, and it pulls your team away from providing exceptional customer service.
Stocking your drink station and condiments during your opening checklist will ensure everything is good to go come lunchtime.
We recommend adding “stock the drinks station and condiments” to your front of house cleaning checklist to ensure efficiency during peak hours.
3. Wipe Down All Bottles, Shakers, and Dispensers
Everyone has had that uncomfortable moment of reaching for ketchup only to touch a sticky bottle. Even if the restaurant is clean, a dirty condiment caddy can negatively paint a customer’s experience.
Cleaning your condiment caddy, salt and pepper shakers, and napkin dispensers every day may seem like overkill, but it will curb one of the most common problems customers encounter at restaurants.
Take the initiative to ensure you’ve got clean condiment bottles, shakers, and dispensers on each table, and you’ll stand out above the competition—meaning more repeat customers and fewer negative reviews.
4. Check Both Restrooms at Regular Intervals
As a restaurant customer, you regularly judge stores by the cleanliness of their restrooms.
While cleaning bathrooms isn’t the most coveted job in the restaurant, it’s one of the most critical.
Restaurants with consistently clean restrooms are perceived as higher-end, and ensure more return guests. This helps increase revenue per store and sets your business up for long-term success.
If you’re looking to provide exceptional customer experiences, add “check and clean restrooms” to your front of house cleaning checklists throughout the day.
When customers see that your restrooms are clean, they relax and enjoy a comfortable meal, knowing that cleanliness extends to the kitchen.
Back of House (BOH) Cleaning Duties
5. Wipe Down The Line and Prep Areas Regularly
“The line”—or the surfaces on which food is prepared—is a critical area to keep clean in any restaurant.
This is especially true of restaurants that handle meat and chicken, as a small contamination can have far-reaching consequences.
Reminding your team at regular intervals to clean the line will ensure safer, more consistent back of house operations.
For that reason, “wipe down the prep area” should be on every restaurant’s kitchen cleaning checklist.
6. Sweep The Walk-In Freezer or Cooler
Walk-in freezers or coolers are found inside most restaurants, and often go ignored when it comes to back of house cleaning duties.
Reminding employees to sweep the walk-in freezer will not only bring attention to an easily-forgotten area of your store, but it will help ensure employees don’t fall while inside.
Because so much food is stored in walk-ins, it’s easy for something small to fall to the floor. This is not only unhygienic, but dangerous for your employees.
Adding “sweep the walk-in” to your daily BOH restaurant checklist is crucial to maintaining a clean kitchen.
7. Clean The Hood Filters In Your Kitchen
When it comes to providing an exceptional customer experience, perhaps the most forgotten back of house cleaning item is the vent hood filter.
Unclean hood filters can cause off-putting smells from your restaurant, especially if you serve fast food. In some situations, dirty hood filters can cause potential customers to smell your restaurant before they see it.
Cleaning your hood filters can be as simple as running them through your dishwasher, or soaking them in a potent solution.
It’s best practice to add “clean the hood filters” to your closing checklist each day to ensure a hygienic, customer-friendly restaurant.
Improve Team Accountability for a Cleaner Restaurant
Restaurants that have achieved team accountability are reliably cleaner, more consistent, and deliver faster service.
Achieving team accountability is easier said than done, but using digital checklists is the first step toward accomplishing that goal in your restaurant.
If you'd like to see how Jolt has helped improve store cleanliness for thousands of restaurant owners like you, request a free demo here.