Restaurant Cleaning Checklist

Restaurant Cleaning Checklist

Table of contents

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Let’s be honest - you already know what this is. The name kinda says it all - but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still imperative to the daily operation of your business. Restaurants take the health of hundreds, if not thousands, of people into their hands every day, making a spotlessly clean restaurant incredibly important. 

So, whether you love cleaning or hate it, the truth of the matter is that it needs to happen in every restaurant, every day. Rather than just saying “Clean!” and leaving, though, we’re going to be the cool restaurant uncle and give you a simple, easy-to-adapt list that will cover every major bit of most restaurants.

Full-Staff Restaurant Cleaning Checklist

Seeing as restaurants consist of a pretty significant number of people on a daily basis, it would be absolute insanity just to say, “Okay, here are 300+ things to clean, good luck!” 

So, rather than making your life a nightmare, we felt it was fair to, you know - clean up the list. 

We’ll be breaking this down by staff (i.e., Front vs. Back of House), position (dish pit vs. bar, etc.), and the timeline (daily, weekly, monthly) for ease of reference. Take a peek at the table below to skip to a particular point, or peruse the entire thing - we’ll love it either way!

Cleaning Checklist:

1. Front of House

  • Lobby & Dining Area
  • Bar

2. Back of House

  • Line
  • Prep & Bakery (if applicable)
  • Dish Pit

3. Conclusion 

Front of House

For Front of House, cleaning is a pretty straightforward process. It consists of sweeping and mopping, just like BoH, but importantly also requires a bit of organization. Depending on how your FoH is laid out (bar-based vs. fast-casual vs. fine dining, etc.), your specific cleaning needs may change - though these are great places to start. 

Perhaps most importantly, though, is that your lobby and dining area are the first things your customers will see other than the storefront and patio. If it’s not spotless, that can communicate the wrong thing to customers - something which we certainly don’t want. While we all were told to “not judge a book by its cover,” when it comes to food safety, that’s (unfortunately) the only way to judge.

For a proper clean, your Front of House will need a few things:

- Multipurpose & glass cleaners
- Broom
- Mop
- Mop bucket
- Vacuum (if you have carpet or another hard-to-sweep flooring)
- Bleach or sanitary solution for disinfectant
- Clean rags/cloths
- Bathroom cleaning equipment (brush, gloves, etc)
- Restocking supplies:

  1. Paper towels
  2. Toilet paper
  3. Napkins 
  4. Salt and pepper refills
  5. To-go boxes, gear
  6. Trash bags

Let’s talk specifics about cleaning your lobby and dining area with that out of the way.

Lobby & Dining Area

Daily

This is the stuff that needs to happen at least once per day. We’re talking about super simple stuff - wiping down tables, sanitizing menus, and sweeping/mopping. Trust us - this plan will make your life far more straightforward. Have your FoH staff complete the following list each day:

- Each Shift:

  • Sanitize and wipe all high-traffic areas. Tables are obvious, but this should include chairs, benches, door handles, railings, and anything else that staff or customers touch regularly. Don’t forget to wipe down the POS and tablets, too.
  • Wipe down communal condiments and spice shakers between customers. If this is too much to handle with your staff, consider making spices and condiments available upon request (and keep them behind the counter).
  • Check out windows and any other glass items for fingerprints, smudges, and the like. Wipe them down as needed (i.e., spot cleaning).
  • Check bathrooms for cleanliness and stock at least once per shift. If you have three shifts each day (open, mid, and close), you should have the bathrooms inspected at the beginning and end of each shift.

- During Close:

  • Sanitize, wipe, and roll silverware for the next shift.
  • Spray & wipe all menus and tables
  • Clean and sanitize every inch of your bathroom(s)
  • Sweep and mop floors
  • Sweep your mats, roll them up, and bring them somewhere safe to store.
  • A vacuum helps here far more than you’d think.


Weekly

These are the tasks that are important but either take too long to do every day or that don’t get dirty enough to justify a daily clean. You can have staff accomplish these during slow times or add them to the open/close list.

  • Vacuum, sweep, and mop all hard-to-reach areas. 

(These are the areas that customers won’t often see, such as stock/storage areas. If a customer can easily see it, you should clean it daily)

  • Dust light fixtures, hoods/ventilation, and any decorations
  • Thoroughly clean all glass (this is not the daily spot-check, we’re talking a full deep clean)
  • Tend to plants (if you have them)

Monthly

The monthly cleaning list generally consists of things that can’t be done when customers are in the building. This can mean that it requires a ladder or more work, but the principle remains the same.

  • Inspect all furniture, upholstery/rugs, and mats for damage and replace those that need it.
  • Vacuum/dust cobwebs, ceiling fans, and other hard-to-reach bits. 
  • Deep clean tables (scrape gum off the bottom, refinish the top, etc.)

Bar

Luckily for your rogueish bartenders, their cleaning list is pretty slim in comparison. They still have the same daily, weekly, and monthly breakdowns, though.

Daily

- Each Shift:

  • Wipe down the bar often. Aim for at least one thorough wipe per half-hour, or when possible.
  • Wash all glassware and silverware
  • Refill disposables (napkins, silverware, straws, etc.)
  • Empty trash & recycling cans as needed
  • If possible: Clean menus and tables as needed if you have the time. Bartenders often have more free time than servers, so every bit helps.

- During Close:

  • Thoroughly wipe down every inch of the bar
  • Sweep and mop the bar
  • Sweep/vacuum the bar mats
  • Sanitize soda guns and beer taps
  • Empty & sanitize the ice chest
  • Clean and empty garnish trays, update fresh-squeezed juices and check expiration dates.

Weekly

  • Sanitize and wipe all coolers or storage areas exclusive to the bar.
  • Dust & sanitize all kegs, under-shelf areas, and decorations behind the bar.
  • Clean and flush keg lines, canning stations, etc.
  • Move any equipment that can be moved alone and clean under/behind it. This could include lowboys, shelves/racks, and kegs.
  • Check liquor & mixer expiration dates and rotate stock as needed.

Monthly

  • Inspect the bartop, rugs, curtains, chairs, etc., for damage and replace those that need it.
  • Dust and vacuum ceiling fixtures
  • Deep clean the floors (use the Back of House deck brush and squeegee)
  • Dust bar shelves and displays


Back of House

As for Back of House, their job is a bit more detailed. Kitchens generally have quite a bit going on, with plenty of nooks and crannies for grease, grime, and pests to hide - making their cleaning list a bit more expansive. While most kitchen veterans already know what they need to clean, it’s worth noting a few basics, such as:


- Disposable (food-safe) gloves
- Clean cloths/rags
- Sanitary solution and/or bleach
- Steel wool 
- Scouring pads (usually that weird green sheet)
- Degreaser
- Broom
- Mop
- Mop bucket
- Trash bags
- Deck brush and squeegee
- Stainless steel cleaner
- Restocking supplies:

  1. Paper towels
  2. Hand soap
  3. Gloves
  4. Detergent/soap for the 
  5. dishwasher
  6. Trash bags

Line

The line is what comes into contact with each customer’s food, no matter what. As such, it needs to be spotless - and seriously, don’t wait for the health inspector to ding you - this stuff needs to happen at least three to four times daily.

Daily

- During Shift:

  • Scrape and wipe all cooking surfaces (flattop, grill, fryer, etc.)
  • Clean major spills and splatters as they happen
  • Check temps for all food at least once per hour (if on a hot station)
  • Sanitize the surrounding area after prepping food that can easily lead to cross-contamination (specifically meat, shellfish, nuts, and gluten-based items)
  • Wipe down every surface that’s touched by BoH at least once per hour.
  • Replace sanitary buckets and rags every 2-4 hours (varies by state and country health code)

- During Close: 

  • Fully clean the grill and flat top - it should be shiny.
  • Drain, filter, and clean the fryer(s)
  • Empty and sanitize all food containers
  • Flip the line (top up all food, put it in new, clean containers)
  • Wipe down every surface
  • Sweep, deck scrub, and mop
  • Degrease and sanitize heavily greasy surfaces (such as the hood or fryer)
  • Remove and sweep/vacuum all mats
  • Store dirty linens & rags in the proper place
  • Empty and clean all trash cans
  • Restock:
  1. Trash bags
  2. Paper towels
  3. Hand soap (especially important)
  4. Linens and rags
  5. Disposable gloves, commonly-used spices or ingredients, etc.

Weekly

  • Deep clean your low boys and walk-in
  • Move anything with wheels and clean behind it
  • Dust and degrease the hood and ventilation system
  • Scrub floorboards and other hard-to-reach places
  • Clean the inside of all ovens, steamers, and fryers
  • Replace fryer oil 2-4 times per week, varying by business traffic

Prep & Bakery Area

Not all kitchens have this area - if you have a prep area, awesome! If not, skip this section.

Daily

- During Shift

  • Wipe down all used surfaces
  • Inspect the line to ensure it’s fully stocked, stocking it as needed
  • Wrap & date all prepped food, flipping and consolidating as needed
  • Regularly bring dishes to the dish pit

- During Close/Shift Change

  • Flip the line during shift change
  • Bring all dishes to the dish pit and ensure they’re clean - don’t leave a mess for the next shift; that’s just rude.
  • Restock any used ingredients, disposables, or cleaning solutions

Weekly

  • Check once per week for signs of pests, mold, and mildew.

(If you have them, check your traps and monitors)

  • Empty and clean shelves in your low boys and walk-in
  • Dispose of expired ingredients
  • De-lime coffee makers and similar devices

Monthly

  • Deep clean all areas that are difficult to reach, such as behind ovens and grills
  • Scrub and wash all walls
  • Clean and empty grease traps 
  • Dispose of the grease properly, do not put it down the drain.

Dish Pit

Daily

- During Shift

  • Wash all dishes and store them properly
  • Wipe down the dish pit when possible
  • Clean up spills or puddles as soon as possible
  • Restock cleaning solutions as needed
  • Restock items that the cooks/chefs can’t (but need to)

- During Close

  • Clean all dishes and store them properly
  • Sweep and mop, cleaning any spills
  • Restock cleaning solutions as needed
  • Rinse the mop bucket when everyone is finished with it.
  • Wipe and sanitize the dishwasher and sinks - they should look brand new. 
  • This includes emptying the food trap.

Weekly

  • Inspect all floor drains for buildup, cleaning if needed.
  • This includes the dish pit drains, mop/floor drains, and your grease trap.
  • Reorganize dishes, if needed.

Monthly

  • Deep clean the floor, walls, and sinks around the dish pit.
  • Clean drains and remove blocks if needed.

Conclusion

Ultimately, cleaning a restaurant isn’t a fun task - but it’s crucial to its livelihood nonetheless. By providing a simple, easy-to-use cleaning list broken down by team and time, you can ensure things stay clean. This also allows employees who aren’t as busy to say, “here, let me help you out,” and not need to get in the way. 

While this may seem like a massive list, the truth is that if each employee just takes a few minutes each day, most of these tasks will be shockingly quick. The joints where cleaning takes a day or more generally have that happen because they don’t have a strict schedule - which you now have!

If you’re still getting your feet wet in the restaurant industry, you just stumbled upon a treasure trove of information. Cuboh is the best solution to your restaurant’s POS and online ordering woes and offers countless solutions for marketing, growing, and improving your business

And if you’re thinking of starting a ghost or virtual kitchen, we’ve got a swathe of incredible resources to get you started.

Grow Orders, Save Time & Eliminate Tablet Chaos

Integrate your delivery apps and online orders with your POS and consolidate them into a single tablet. Helping you reduce order issues, grow your sales, and eliminate delivery headaches.


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