Especially during COVID-19, these places should be included in any restaurant's cleaning plan.

COVID-19 is not going anywhere, which means restaurant owners must continue to focus on properly cleaning their dining areas and kitchens to ensure the safety of their employees and patrons. Here are a few overlooked places that should be included in any restaurant’s COVID cleaning plan.

Ice Machines

Most kitchens have an ice machine of some sort and that machine will be touched frequently by wait staff to fulfill cold drink orders. The outside of an ice machine should be wiped down with industrial-grade cleaner daily with the handles on the machine being washed more frequently. These cool surfaces are an excellent place for the virus to fester. Run the ice scooper in the dishwasher daily. I would also recommend cleaning the inside of the ice machine once a week to ensure every part of the machine is being cleaned.

Storage areas and Racks 

Restaurants already regular clean obvious storage areas such as walk-in fridges and freezers, but small storage areas can be overlooked. Shelves and hook racks for colanders and cutleries are frequently used and touched by cooks but are not frequently cleaned like the cooking tools they store. Wipe down any storage drawers, hooks and shelves with disinfectant. I would recommend doing this daily.

Light fixtures, seating, and walls 

When you are cleaning your dining room of COVID it is important to think about the areas that patrons could sometimes touch or sneeze on. Patrons can cough or sneeze when they are waiting for food and the droplets could fall on walls, low-hanging light fixtures and their seats without thinking about it. Think about the overlooked areas within someone’s reach and clean them. Clean low-hanging light fixtures in-between seating new guests. Clean walls and wall art that might be near the seating area and clean the legs and under-areas of bar stools. The virus can survive on most touched surfaces so it is important to clean anything people may touch.

Point-of-sale systems and registers

It is important you clean any POS system or cash register with disinfectant anytime a different person is using the system. If you have one person working the counter have them clean the surface of the touch screen or register before they clock out or switch stations with someone else. If multiple waiters use these surfaces to place orders then have each waiter quickly wipe it down after they use it.   

Cleaning all these surfaces is going to require some extra work on every restaurant owners’ part, but taking the time to adequately clean the overlooked surfaces of your dining room and the kitchen is worth it to ensure the safety of every diner, cook and waiter.

Brad Pierce is the owner of OSA Specialized Cleaning in Phoenix, Arizona. OSA is an expert in commercial ceiling tile cleaning and commercial high dusting for restaurants across Arizona.

Expert Takes, Feature, Food Safety