If your building has a cafeteria, you know how important it is to keep food-handling areas clean. The Center for Disease Control estimates that 48 million people get sick from food-borne pathogens every year, which makes eating areas critical for controlling diseases. This spread of infection can happen even if most of the food preparation is actually done off-site as people will still be handling food a lot in that room. Since sick people don’t perform their best at their jobs, the owners of your building rely on your ability to keep the cafeteria clean in order to keep their workforce at its peak. If you feel a little overwhelmed with that revelation, it is okay. You can break down the process and tackle it with ease if you remember the following things.
How Often Does it Need Cleaning
Cafeterias and other food handling areas have different components that need cleaning according to different schedules. Some things require daily attendance, while other things can be dealt with less frequently. Let’s break it down:
- Clean food prep surfaces and equipment such as cutting boards and beverage dispensers.
- Clean and sanitize table and countertops along with condiment containers.
- Clean cloths such as towels, rags, aprons, uniforms, and cloth napkins.
- Clean sinks.
- Empty and clean trash receptacles.
- Wash utensils (the cafeteria staff may be in charge of this part.)
- Mop and sweep the floor. Vacuum carpets.
- Clean the buffet line, including the sneeze guard.
- Clean and change the lining of the grill if you have one.
- Clean anti-fatigue mats.
- Clean heating elements such as ovens.
- Clean food storage areas such as walk-in refrigerators.
- Dust decorations and check for cobwebs in the eating area.
- Run vinegar through the coffee maker.
- Empty grease traps and clean vent hoods if you have either.
- Clean the freezer and ice machine.
- Check for pests.
- Wipe down walls and splash guards.
Keeping the Cleaning Products Safe
It is important to use the correct cleaning products as they were intended to be used, especially when it comes to food preparation areas. The last thing you want is for the sanitizer to cease working or for the cleaning product to get in the food. Definitely read the directions before using anything. Restaurant.org recommends reviewing your cleaners to make sure the ones you use are stable, non-corrosive, and safe. Remember that sanitizers can lose their power if they are used incorrectly and that if you are using heat to sanitize things, the water must be at least 171 degrees Fahrenheit.
It may be best to outsource the care of your cafeteria to cleaning professionals. For one thing, the company that you choose will keep the cleaning supplies with them so that there is no danger of cafeteria workers accidentally dumping cleaner in the food. They will also be well-versed in how to use the products to their maximum advantage. Arranging for them to come in daily may be ideal, but a good company will work with whatever schedule that you feel comfortable with.
As a building superintendent, you may find it best to delegate some of the cleaning operations to the cafeteria staff. You will have to communicate with them to find out what you need to do and when it is most convenient for everyone to do it. That way, everything is ready for employees and guests all the time.
All this may feel labor-intensive and intimidating. Fortunately, you have help in keeping your cafeteria clean with Eagle Janitorial. We would love to share our expertise with all building superintendents, so please feel free to contact us to find out more about keeping your building spic and span.