Making Sanitation a Priority in Your Restaurant

Sanitation is the most important part of the operation of a restaurant. Without it, you risk infecting your customers and destroying their experience at your restaurant. But it can be difficult to know where the disease may arise and how best to prevent it.

Thankfully, there are a few common sources of infection and relatively easy ways to fight them with proper cleaning, hand washing, and prevention of cross-contamination.

Major Sources of Disease and Unsanitary Conditions

There are unfortunately a lot of different sources of infection in restaurants. Any successful restaurant owner must invest in a system of sanitation that depends on getting the best products, like those provided by Richmond Advantage. The source of the disease that customers (and restaurant owners) worry about the most, however, is food-borne illnesses.

Food-borne illnesses often stem from food that has not been properly prepared. When fruits and vegetables have not been thoroughly washed or shellfish has not been thoroughly cooked before being served, there is a risk of norovirus. When foods like chicken, turkey, pork, or even vegetables are not thoroughly cooked, cleaned, or have been left out of a freeze too long, there is a risk of salmonella forming.

However, cooking and cleaning food properly will not eliminate all risks for restaurants. If employees do not wash their hands thoroughly, E. Coli could contaminate food, leading to the infection of customers.

Another consideration is general cleanliness. Overflowing trash, lots of food debris, and an unclean working space will attract vermin. While not necessarily a health, no customer wants to see vermin in your restaurant, and they could potentially be carrying disease.

Cockroaches can spread salmonella, staphylococcus infections, E. Coli, and even typhoid fever. Rodents can carry salmonellosis, Lassa fever, tularemia, and many other diseases. Keeping every space of your restaurant clean is key to prevent disease.

Disposable Products

One simple way to promote cleanliness is to use single-use products. An outbreak of food-borne illness is much less likely to occur if there is less cross-contamination, and single-use products help prevent cross-contamination.

Some key single-use products to use in your restaurant include placements, napkins, and cups. Certain bacteria, like staphylococcus, can even survive high temperatures and washing, so you can’t be certain that it will be eliminated from cloth napkins.

Cleaning Supplies

However, not everything can be single-use in a restaurant, and multi-use items, like cloth napkins and silverware, may fit the feeling of your restaurant better. Whether you are using multi-use products or single-use products, it’s important to invest in the right cleaning supplies.

A clean restaurant starts with clean hands. Antibacterial hand soap, hot water, and paper towels are the first line of defense against foodborne illnesses. Make sure that these products are always fully stocked, and employees are using them thoroughly.

The next line of defense protects against both food-borne illnesses and vermin. You will want to stock up on chemical cleaners for every space in your restaurant, from the grill to the floor to toilet bowls to drains. These areas can be breeding grounds for bacteria and attract vermin.

Another important way to prevent vermin from being attracted to your restaurant is by using can liners. High density can liners are probably your best bet to prevent any leaks or spills from the trash that could attract rodents, roaches, and other creatures.

The Spread of COVID-19 in Restaurants

In the past year, another consideration for restaurant owners has developed: COVID-19. While solid information on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, especially in an environment like a restaurant, was confusing at first, there is now a clear protocol for keeping customers and employees safe.

The best ways to prevent infection in restaurants include many of the regular ways that infection is prevented in restaurants, just to a higher degree. Cleaning shared items, washing hands thoroughly, and disinfecting surfaces are still a key part of preventing disease.

Some added considerations include ventilation and distance. You may need to limit the number of patrons to your restaurant to ensure that there is proper distance between everyone. You may also need to open windows or change your restaurant layout to better promote the flow of air and prevent infected air from recirculating.

An additional consideration is masks. From the customers to the chefs in the kitchen to the serving staff, masks are one of the simplest ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in your restaurant.

COVID-19 Precautions and PPE

Although PPE and cleaning supplies were scarce at the beginning of the pandemic, it is now fairly simple to get the proper supplies. One of the best investments that a restaurant can make at this time is plenty of hand sanitizer and a hand sanitizer dispenser. Placing this dispenser in a central location will remind customers and employees to sanitize their hands whenever they walk past.

You may also want to invest in more disinfectant, as you may be cleaning the restaurant more thoroughly and more often. Make sure to look for a germicidal disinfectant and use it liberally in high traffic areas, like bathrooms, bars, and waiting areas. Disinfectant is most useful on hard, nonporous surfaces.

Disposable face masks are another great idea. You’ll want to regularly have these on hand in case a customer or employee forgets their mask. Look for disposable masks that are at least 3-ply for better protection.

Restaurant sanitation is essential for any restaurant to succeed. It should be a number one priority, even before the quality of food or customer service. The simple fact is, if customers get sick at your restaurant, they will not return and are likely to tell others to not return. A clean, hygienic restaurant gives the impression that the staff and owner care about the well-being of customers. An unhygienic restaurant gives the impression that there is little to no regard for the customer or their health. By investing in proper cleaning protocols and systems, you are elevating the status of your restaurant immensely.

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