Sanitizing/Disinfecting in Restaurants and Other Food Service Environments

01 December 2021
Sanitizing/Disinfecting in Restaurants and Other Food Service Environments

Proper sanitizing and disinfecting are utterly vital in restaurants and other foodservice/preparation venues; an establishment’s reputation and operating license both depend on good sanitation. Despite those high stakes, though, sanitation is among the most misunderstood and mistake-prone chores in the hospitality industry. In most instances, this disconnect is attributable to either a lack of knowledge on the part of employees, a lack of proper equipment provided by management, or some combination of the two. Luckily, both problems are relatively easy to fix.

Using Sanitizing/Disinfecting Products Correctly

Disinfectant products almost always have directions for proper use printed clearly somewhere on their labels. Those instructions must be followed precisely for the products to reduce germs to an acceptable, safe level. Even slight deviations from the manufacturer’s directions can weaken the microorganism-killing power of a given solution, leaving behind more—and more harmful—microbes than are allowable.

For example, most disinfecting solutions need to stand on hard surfaces for a specific amount of time—often for either a 5-to-10-minute interval or until the product has completely dried—before they’re wiped away. Removing disinfectants before the prescribed amount of time has passed will leave too many harmful microorganisms alive, putting diners and employees alike in danger of contracting food-borne illnesses. That, in turn, could result in health code violations and expensive remediation efforts.

The important takeaway here is that you should always, always read and follow the directions that accompany janitorial products. Those instructions aren’t suggestions; commercial products/formulations can differ significantly in use from their household counterparts, and familiarity with one should not imply familiarity with the other. If a product needs to stand for a specific amount of time, let it. If the instructions call for water of a certain temperature, take that guidance seriously. Use products as they’re intended to be used if you want to achieve the optimum results.

Equipping Staff Adequately

It may be that restaurant staff know exactly what needs to be done to sanitize/disinfect their facility but don’t have adequate equipment. Restaurant owners and managers should not look at sanitation as an optional or otherwise needless expense. Instead, it should very much be viewed as a revenue generator—or, at the very least, a revenue preserver. That’s especially true with illness and cleanliness still fresh in the minds of numerous consumers who are just now beginning to return to restaurants.

Restaurant staff need to be equipped with tools and chemicals that are suited to the rigors of commercial kitchens and dining rooms. Heavy-duty mop trucks and loop-end mop heads are a given, of course. Detergents and degreasers need to be selected carefully because not all are safe for use around food or in food preparation environments. Items like scouring pads and appropriate sponges should be readily available and accessible to employees. None of these items are large expenses, but neglecting to purchase important cleaning and sanitizing equipment or replenish key consumables can have a massively outsized impact on a restaurant’s financial outlook.

Final Thoughts

Proper cleaning in restaurant and hospitality environments is just as important as the quality of service or food. Having the right equipment and making sure that employees know how to use it correctly should be a top priority for all restauranteurs. The experts and vast catalog at Benman Industries are here to help you however we can.