A REGULAR and comprehensive kitchen cleaning programme should be one new year’s resolution operators ensure they stick to.
That’s the message from commercial cleaning firms, which said restaurateurs and chefs who underestimate the importance of maintaining a high level of kitchen cleanliness could cause irreparable damage to their business.
A lack of cleanliness in the kitchen allows a range of bacteria and other micro-organisms, which can cause illness, to thrive.
In the most serious cases, an unhygienic kitchen could be closed down or face legal action.
“While food safety is the most important consideration when serving customers, failure to maintain the highest standards can have long term effects,” said a spokesman for Diversey, which supplies commercial cleaning products and systems and is part of global food safety and facility hygiene company Sealed Air.
“Reputations that are won over many years can be lost very quickly if customers become ill after their visit and tell their friends and family.
“Keeping kitchen areas clean and hygienic can be achieved with some basic products, such as sanitisers for hard surfaces and the appropriate products for washing cutlery, crockery and cooking utensils.
“Some of the latest products offer ‘four-in-one’ capability covering all of these basic tasks. These may be useful in smaller pubs and bars where space for storing multiple products may be limited.
“Look out too for products designed for ‘professional’ cleaning, such as the Business Solutions range from Diversey, because these will offer better performance and value than those bought in the supermarket and cash and carry.
“Products without perfumes are a good choice because they can be used in food preparation areas without tainting flavours.”
In addition to maintaining a general day-to-day kitchen cleaning rota, a deep clean should be undertaken at least every six months.
“One of the big risks is fire, which can be caused by a build up of grease in vents,” said the spokesman for Diversey.
“Another often overlooked risk is the state of the floor. Wet, dirty or greasy floors significantly increase the risk of slips and trips that can cause some of the most serious accidents in the kitchen.
“Use of the correct floor material and regular floor cleaning to remove soiling and keep the area dry is an essential health and safety precaution.
“A practical reason for cleaning is that it’s easier and less expensive to keep a clean area clean than it is to keep cleaning a very dirty area.
“In all cases it is vital to use the right products and processes.”
And it’s not just in the kitchen where a high standard of cleanliness is important.
Customers who visit a pub or restaurant and think it’s unclean are more likely to leave without ordering or spend less during their visit, according to research commissioned by Diversey.
“Surely it follows that cleaner pubs will entice customers to stay longer and spend more?” added the spokesman.
“The unit manager should aspire to standards that are above any legal requirement and create an appealing and safe workplace.
“Kitchen staff should have a clear schedule so everyone knows who should clean what, when and how.
“Many operators don’t take cleaning seriously or recognise the potential impact on their business of poor performance and failure. They use off-the-shelf supermarket products in the belief that they will do the job well enough when professional products offer superior performance and better value for money.”