Cook cleaning the restaurant kitchen.

Imagine for a moment that your restaurant or the restaurant you manage got some bad online reviews that mentioned cleanliness — or a lack thereof. Around 85% of consumers said they would not eat at your restaurant if they saw negative reviews about cleanliness, according to a poll of more than 2,000 American consumers.

That’s not the kind of problem most restaurant owners and managers can afford, and it’s a big reason why it’s absolutely essential that you have some kind of restaurant cleaning checklist. In the post below, we walk you through an employee restaurant cleaning checklist. Don’t miss out on our free downloadable restaurant cleaning checklist template!

Ready to dive into the down and dirty of restaurant cleaning? Read on to learn everything you need to know.

Daily Restaurant Cleaning Checklist

Some tasks are so essential to clean and sanitary conditions in food service environments that they must be done once a day or even a few times each day. These are the tasks that both the back and front of the house should have ingrained in them to complete at the end of each shift so that they never go undone. 

Below, we have separated daily employee restaurant cleaning checklist tasks by back of house and front of house.

Back of House

Front of House

Weekly Restaurant Cleaning Tasks

For some restaurant cleaning tasks, daily would be a little much — sort of like brushing your teeth every hour. Indeed, these tasks are more comfortable on a weekly schedule that you can plan for months in advance.

Back of House

Front of House

Bartender cleaning the bar with a cloth.

Monthly Cleaning Checklist for Restaurants

Monthly cleaning tasks for restaurants are funny — you only do them 12 times per year, so they somehow feel less important than the daily and weekly tasks you do more often. But the day you miss one of your monthly cleaning tasks, you realize just how critical these tasks are to maintaining a clean and sanitary restaurant.

Back of House

Front of House

How To Keep a Restaurant Clean

Keeping your restaurant clean is essential to your ability to run a successful food service business over the long term. That’s because even small complaints or issues with cleanliness can not only tarnish your reputation but get you into hot water with the health department. And that can get you temporarily or even permanently shut down.

Many of the concerns you might have will dissipate if you follow the daily, weekly, and monthly restaurant cleaning checklists we have provided above. However, it’s difficult to overstate just how important it is to truly follow the checklists to a T. Cutting corners in one area leads to problems in another, and before you know it, the whole restaurant cleaning thing is getting on top of you.

Food Safety vs. Health & Safety

Many of the cleaning and sanitization tasks that restaurants must do are geared toward food safety, but it’s important to keep in mind that restaurants like yours are closed environments in which workers and customers are in tight quarters. That means illnesses other than those that are foodborne may also spread if you are not firm with employees about cleaning and sanitization practices.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provides a wealth of information on both food safety practices and preventing the spread of illnesses like COVID-19 in restaurants. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) routinely updates its online information for restaurant owners as new illnesses emerge.

Cleaning vs. Sanitizing

As you and your staff complete each item in the free downloadable restaurant cleaning checklist template, it’s going to be critical that you understand the difference between cleaning and sanitizing. They are both important functions in any food service environment, but they are not the same thing.

Cleaning is all about removing food or other visible debris from a plate, countertop, or other surface. However, you can clean a used plate until your arms get sore, but that won’t mean you have sanitized it. Sanitization is the process of killing bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens so that they don’t infect others.

So, if you’re cutting raw chicken, you can clean the surface you used by wiping it down and removing debris. But you will have to use a chemical to sanitize the surface, killing pathogens like salmonella that can come from raw chicken. Both cleaning and sanitization are key in restaurants, but they are not the same thing. And mistaking them as the same thing could actually make conditions in your facility dangerous to human health.

Get the Restaurant Cleaning Checklist Template

You’ve read the cleaning guide; now, it’s time to download the restaurant cleaning checklist template and make cleanliness a priority at your restaurant. The template is free, and the costs of subpar restaurant cleaning are steep.

With your cleaning needs under control, it’s time to take a look at restaurant staffing. Qwick has an answer for that, too. We facilitate staffing as a service so you never have to worry about filling shifts again. You simply create a profile, post open shifts and sit back waiting for Professionals to pick them up. Interested? Get started as a Business Partner with Qwick today.

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