Did you know that a clean restaurant can actually make or break your sales? According to QSR Magazine, guests will spend twice as much with clean restaurants. More than ever in this post-lockdown world, guests are making dining decisions depending on whether you’re maintaining a clean restaurant, which may in turn impact your sales numbers. So how exactly can you ensure you’re operating a business that meets the standards of not only the regulations and compliance measures set by the health department, but also by guests stepping foot into your restaurant? The answer, well obvious yet crucial, is: restaurant cleaning.

In this guide to restaurant cleaning, we’ll dust off some great cleaning tips, such as:

The importance of restaurant cleaning
Benefits of cleaning your restaurant
How to do a deep clean of your restaurant
How to maintain the clean

The Importance of Restaurant Cleaning
Proper cleaning can truly make or break your restaurant. According to a Technomic survey, “77% said that a food service establishment’s cleaning policies will impact their visit, and 61% said they want to see more cleaning and sanitation activities in a post COVID-19 world.” The fact is guests care about restaurant cleanliness more than ever, which can impact your bottom line and customer satisfaction.

Ultimately, showing your guests that you’re making proactive efforts to create a clean dining environment and apply best hygiene practices can encourage diners to dine with you, which can boost your sales.

Benefits of Cleaning Restaurant Spaces
Now let’s look at the benefits of carrying out extensive restaurant cleaning on a regular basis, including complying with health and safety regulations, preventative maintenance, uplifting guest satisfaction, and creating safer working conditions for your staff.

Compliance with Health and Safety Regulations
One of the biggest benefits of maintaining a clean commercial kitchen is that you can ensure your restaurant complies with the health and safety regulations set out by the city and state or province you operate your business out of. According to the National Restaurant Association, health inspectors will typically examine your restaurant for proper food storage, time and temperature of food, cross-contamination of food, cleaning and sanitization, as well as using the right sanitizers – all of which can be impacted by your cleaning routine (or lack thereof).

Additional food service codes and regulations to pay attention to can also be found in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s website. By keeping these measures and food safety as your top priority, you’ll not only keep your guests safe, but you’ll also avoid any fines or fallout that may result from non-compliance.

Preventive Maintenance
Cleaning and maintaining your commercial kitchen is essential. The reason for this is to avoid any costly repairs caused by a lack of regular cleaning. For example, a dirty stove filled with debris, grease, and excess food can pose a fire risk, which can be a costly consequence of not cleaning your appliances regularly.

Take the time to perform regular cleaning of your kitchen equipment, specifically your stoves, refrigerators, fryers, and other appliances that can have leftover food or grease stains. Don’t disregard maintenance, as it can cost your restaurant a significant amount of money and your staff their time.

Uplift Guest Satisfaction
The pandemic has certainly affected the way diners view cleanliness when dining at restaurants. In fact, according to our 2024 Diner Trends Report, 68% of American diners said they would be deterred from visiting a restaurant if it was given a health inspection warning.

On top of this, diners not only expect restaurants to be health and safety compliant, but now they also expect to actually see actual staff cleaning it. According to a Technomic Survey, “89% of diners said having employees visibly cleaning/sanitizing always makes them feel safer.”

In short, putting a conscious and visible effort into maintaining a clean restaurant can improve guest satisfaction by showing that your restaurant cares about guests’ well-being and you are actively working to create a welcoming and clean environment for them to dine at.

Safer Working Conditions For Your Staff
A clean restaurant can be beneficial to contribute to a positive and safer environment for guests, but it can also help do the same for employees. When employees come to work in a clean kitchen space, they are also more inclined to feel their health and safety is being prioritized and won’t be compromised while on the job. This is important because restaurant workers are more vulnerable to cuts, burns, slips, and other injuries than the average worker. Keeping your commercial kitchen clean at all times can contribute to safer working conditions for your staff and ultimately reduce the risk of injury.

How to Do a Deep Clean at Your Restaurant
Restaurant owners and managers are likely well aware of the ServSafe guidelines that state you must wash, rinse, and sanitize all surfaces food comes in contact with, every time you use them. This kind of regular cleaning plays a huge role in getting rid of food and other visible germs left behind on surfaces, utensils, kitchen appliances, the floors, and other areas.

However, a deep clean goes beyond the regular precautions you usually take to keep your restaurant staff and guests safe, and also helps your business to avoid health code violations like cross-contamination.

Now, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and make your restaurant truly sparkle. Here are two options to conduct a deep cleaning of your restaurant.

1. Take the DIY Approach
Times have been tough in the restaurant industry recently, so it’s understandable if you don’t have the extra cash to hire a company to perform a deep clean. And if you want the job done right, you may opt to do it yourself. The good news is that with the right restaurant cleaning supplies, you can take matters into your own rubber-gloved hands, instead of looking to restaurant cleaning services to do the job for you.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) website has a list of more than 600 cleaning products that you can use to conduct a restaurant deep cleaning, which is still critical even in a post-lockdown world. The ingredients are listed beside each product name, as well as a note about how long the solution needs to sit on a surface to disinfect it. Here are a few examples:

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes – 30 seconds
Oxivir™ Wipes – one minute
Ironman Wipes – two minutes
Arm & Hammer Essentials™ Disinfecting Wipes – five minutes
Scrubbing Bubbles® Disinfectant Bathroom Grime Fighter – five minutes
For restaurateurs north of the border, the Government of Canada’s website has its own approved list of restaurant cleaning supplies. The list contains more than 800 hard-surface disinfectants you can use to keep your restaurant clean at all times. It’s similar to the EPA’s list, except it doesn’t mention how long each product needs to sit on a surface to be effective. A good rule of thumb is at least one minute.

Products include:
Lemon Gard
Spray Nine
Multi San

If you’re looking for more restaurant deep cleaning resources, the National Restaurant Association’s website has a section of hygiene resources and downloads with information on proper hand washing and what you should do if one of your staff or guests shows flu-like symptoms. The Restaurants Canada website also includes health and food safety information about hand washing, cleaning, and disinfecting your venue.

2. Hire a Cleaning Company
If you prefer not getting your hands dirty, and would rather bring an extra set of hands into your restaurant to tackle a deep clean, you’re in luck. There are countless professional restaurant cleaning services you can hire to get the job done.

However, you shouldn’t simply call a cleaner and wash your hands off the task. It’s important to do your homework before you choose from one of the endless number of restaurant cleaning services out there. Here are some tips to find the right people for the job.

Turn to Referrals and Reviews
Ask family, friends, or your social media network for recommendations. You’ll gain more insight from them than from the marketing messages on a cleaning company’s website. Find out how well the cleaner(s) followed directions, what their attention to detail was like, and whether they got the job done in the estimated time.

Look for Experienced, Licensed, and Insured Professionals
Hiring a licensed and insured commercial cleaning company means they’re legally authorized to do the work you need done, and that you won’t be on the hook if something goes wrong in the process that causes damage to your restaurant. Does the commercial cleaning company have experience with deep cleaning a restaurant? Relevant work experience is important, because you don’t want your kitchen to be their first job, since it’s not the cheapest service to get done.

Ask for a Quote with All the Details
Find out whether the products used by the company are approved for use, and can allow you to meet all the set health and safety compliance regulations set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. You should also ask for an estimate of how long they think it’ll take to complete the deep clean, and how much it will cost. You don’t want any surprises, especially if you’re already dishing out money to get a very important job done.

Do a Meet and Greet
Ask someone from the company to stop by your restaurant to help you get a better sense of their approach. This will give them a chance to see the space in person, which can result in a more accurate quote for you. It can also be used as an opportunity to discuss any potential issues or concerns prior to your restaurant’s deep clean.

How to Maintain the Clean
We’ve all wished a freshly scrubbed countertop would stay that way forever. Unfortunately, nothing remains spotless permanently – especially in a commercial kitchen. However, with a regular routine and some effort, you can continue to make the most of your restaurant’s deep clean.

1. Staff Training
Staff training is essential, so all members of your team are trained to maintain the cleanliness of your restaurant. Having a restaurant training manual that outlines all your health and safety procedures can ensure all new and current team members are well-informed. For example, it can contain information regarding when to stay home if staff are unwell, best practices for restaurant cleaning and hygiene, and an overview of government safety standards.

The National Restaurant Association runs the ServSafe Food Handler program, specifically for food handling training. This is a program recognized in most states, but some locations require extra credentials. This program is available online or in-person to teach important food handling measures.

Remember, training your staff should be an ongoing effort, and by providing them with the resources necessary to keep up with their health and safety knowledge, you can make a world of difference in the cleanliness of your establishment.

2. Schedules and Checklists
While proper training is essential to keeping your restaurant clean, implementing structure and organization in your staff’s routine can help put their knowledge and training into practice. Make restaurant cleaning a regular part of your operations by creating a daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning schedule for each section of your restaurant.

Here are tasks that you should include in your restaurant cleaning checklist.


Disinfecting and cleaning restaurant tables and chairs between seatings
Disinfecting and cleaning restaurant menus, condiments, and credit card readers after every use (remember, don’t leave anything on tables!)
Wiping down the bar multiple times a day
Wiping high-touch areas like door handles several times a day, as often as possible
Checking restrooms every few hours to ensure they’re clean; if they’re not, clean them immediately, and if they are, scrub them thoroughly once a day at minimum
Cleaning garnish trays and soda stations at closing time
Vacuuming or sweeping/mopping the floor and taking out the trash at closing time


Refilling restaurant sanitizer stations near high-traffic areas
Flushing keg lines and cleaning coffee machines
Wiping down walls and furniture legs
Dusting picture frames, window sills, and baseboards

While it’s important to keep your restaurant clean and organized with your restaurant cleaning checklist. Your kitchen cleaning checklist should be even more comprehensive.


Cleaning and sanitizing all food prep areas multiple times a day
Cleaning the stovetop and changing the foil lining
Cleaning the fryer
Washing all tableware
Restocking the hand washing station with soap and paper towel
Cleaning the sinks
Putting kitchen towels and aprons in the laundry, or using a restaurant laundry service
Restocking kitchen towels with fresh ones
Sweeping fridges and storage rooms
Sweeping/mopping the floor and taking out the trash at closing time
Disinfecting the food disposal area and trash cans
Wiping down kitchen equipment like toasters and microwaves
Wiping down walls


Cleaning and sanitizing fridges and freezers, including throwing away old ingredients
Cleaning ovens and changing fryer oil
Cleaning floor drains by flushing them out
Washing walls


Cleaning grease traps
Dusting fridge coils
Cleaning and sanitizing the ice machine and freezer

With the help of a restaurant cleaning checklist and a kitchen cleaning checklist, you and your staff will be better prepared to tackle routine cleaning tasks and maintain the cleanliness of your establishment. Additionally, a restaurant opening and closing checklist can also play a key role to ensure your staff participate in making a conscious effort to maintain a clean restaurant dining space and kitchen.

Now you’re well equipped to keep your restaurant sparkling clean, meet customer’s cleanliness expectations, always comply with health and safety regulations, and more. Happy cleaning!

Source Dana Krook


Leave a Reply