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The Complete Guide to Restaurant Sanitation: Everything to Know.

Did you know that S. aureus and E. coli traces can be found on menus? They're passed from hand to hand. Plastic menus are even germier than paper. 

As a restaurant owner, you know that one customer problem could ruin your reputation or get you to shut down. Restaurant sanitation should be your top priority. Read this complete guide on better sanitizing your restaurant today and maintaining cleanliness. 

Create Safe Restaurant Sanitation Policies

Having a restaurant cleaning schedule and being on top of guidelines is vital. You can use sanitation software to help you keep track of everything from food temperatures to sanitation policies. 

Always have proper cleanliness to encourage customer loyalty. This includes hand sanitizer, gloves, and hand washing stations. 

Hand washing stations will allow workers to wash their hands throughout the day without having to rely on bathroom breaks. Create a schedule with your employees that everyone can follow and remember. 

Think about what needs to be done weekly, daily, and repeatedly. Fryers, ovens, and stoves need to be cleaned weekly. They might need it more often. 

Consider cleaning decorations, corners, walls, light fixtures, etc. Every day your workers should sanitize countertops, glass on doors and windows. 

Clean seats and tables after each person. Sterilize and wash utensils, small appliances, and dishes.

Knobs, door handles, and railings should be sanitized as well. Have staff check the bathroom to restock and clean it as necessary. 

Use Colored Cutting Boards

Avoid cross-contamination by keeping cutting boards separate. Each color should be for a specific function or product.

Clean the cutting boards before and after each use to reduce the risk of pathogens. Once they have hard-to-clean grooves or become worn, you'll want to replace them. 

Educate on Cross-Contamination

Around 600 million people worldwide experience a foodborne illness each year. One of the primary reasons is due to cross-contamination. 

Educate your staff on avoiding cross-contamination. Seafood, poultry, and raw meat are common causes. 

Juices from these meats can contain harmful bacteria. It needs to be separate from cooked food and fresh produce. 

Sanitize all utensils, equipment, and work surfaces. Include a personal hygiene regimen. 

Use hair nets and let workers know how often they should wash their hands. If they're ill, they should stay home.

Prevent Foodborne Illness

Encourage workers to use the hand washing station for at least 20 seconds. Have staff store food items properly. 

Ensure that they clean their fingernails too when they wash their hands. Dispose of food that's had flies, cockroaches, or other pests. 

Avoid contamination of items and improperly cleaned utensils and equipment. If an employee is sneezing or coughing, send them home. 

Properly wash food before serving it. Use a clean produce brush and running water.

Don't wash meats since that could spread bacteria. Keep foods at the right temperature. 

Prevent Pests

Use restaurant cleaning equipment to avoid pests. Use airtight containers for food. 

Don't have greasy or dirty food contact surfaces. Bring trash bags to the dumpster, and don't let them sit around. Reach out to a pest professional if you notice bugs. 

Think About What Customers Would Want

Ensure that the menus and host stand are clean and without clutter. Ensure that the bathrooms have soap, towels, and toilet paper. Restrooms should be odor-free and clean. 

Have a welcoming and clean entryway for guests. The windows should be clean as well.

Have a test meal to rate the cleanliness and overall taste of the meals. Look at the window sills and salt and pepper shakers for any dirt. This will give you an idea of what to pay extra attention to in the future. 

Create Checklists

Have checklists that staff can follow. It should include daily, weekly, and monthly responsibilities. Ensure that each worker knows what's expected of them. 

They should be written up if they don't follow through with their role. Ensure they leave a clean space for the next team to come. 

It's the manager's job to ensure that they're following the rules. If a worker leaves without the manager checking, it's up to the manager to do the work. 

You could give management a point system to rate each area's cleanliness. You, as the owner, could report this monthly with a walk-through. 

Daily they should: 

  • Clean beverage dispensers
  • Take out recycling and trash
  • Disinfect waste disposal
  • Clean sinks
  • Change foil lining
  • Wipe down equipment such as meat slicers, microwaves, etc
  • Mop and sweep the floors
  • Wash uniforms, aprons, and towels
  • Sweep storage areas and walk-in fridges
  • Disinfect surfaces and prep areas


  • Scrub the toilets
  • Water plants
  • Wipe down mirrors and glass surfaces
  • Dust fixtures
  • Vacuum areas 


  • Sanitize and clean the freezer
  • Replace pest traps
  • Clean refrigerator coils
  • Wash hotlines 
  • Sanitize and clean the ice machine
  • Wash vent hoods 
  • Empty grease traps 
  • Wash the walls
  • Check the ceilings for cobwebs
  • Dust wall art and decorations 

Hire a Hygiene Maintenance Company

Consider hiring a professional facility hygiene company. They can provide sanitation for your bathroom and facility. They can help with odor control and more to help limit food borne-illnesses. 

Better Understanding Restaurant Sanitation

After exploring this guide, you should better understand how to incorporate restaurant sanitation. While it seems like a lot to keep track of, the good news is that there's software to help.

It helps you keep track of everything from prep logs to checklists! Sign up for a demo today and see how it ensures restaurant cleanliness. 

Everyone in the restaurant industry is dealing with high employee turnover rates.

Everyone in the restaurant industry is dealing with high employee turnover rates. Some may be facing this problem more than others
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