Earlier this year, four South Florida restaurants were ordered to close due to health inspection violations. The presence of roaches and rodent droppings, and poor sanitation conditions were the main reasons why the restaurants were asked to shut down to address their hygiene issues.
Restaurants could do much more to improve their cleanliness and sanitation, keep businesses open, offer safe food and beverages to diners, and improve public relations.
Prevent Vermin Infestation
Roaches tend to thrive in warmer and wetter climates, and the results of the American Housing Survey (AHS) seem to confirm this. Miami is one of the most roach-infested cities in America, preceded only by New Orleans and Houston. Roaches grow in restaurants because there is food, water and shelter. Eliminating access to these will reduce pest infestation.
Simple yet effective practices of correctly storing food can ward off roaches and rodents, as will wiping spills on surfaces that will attract unwanted creatures. Leftovers should also be stored or disposed of properly to cut off their food supplies. Patch up entry points such as holes in walls, and inspect tube casings in appliances where they can hide, such as the backs of refrigerators. Keep doors and lids of trash cans closed. Go deeper, and inspect cupboards and pantries to check for infestation. Clean these areas regularly, and watch out for unsealed food that critters can feed on.
Set Aside Cleaning Time
Dedicating a specific time for deep cleaning is essential as well to ensure that the restaurant gets a good scrub. Often, cleaning is done at the end of the day when everyone is tired and wants to go home.
Clean floors and walls to prevent the spread of germs, bacteria and other air-borne pollutants. To illustrate, floors are very important because of the high levels of foot traffic bringing in and spreading dirt and other contaminants. Mopping and removing dirt before sanitizing the restaurant enhances hygiene conditions.
Not to be missed are ceilings, where dust and grease can accumulate. With the average US home creating about 40 pounds of dust each year, restaurants can even produce more, with a greater number of people moving in and out. Because dust is a potential health hazard that may cause respiratory problems among restaurant workers and clients, undertaking periodic restaurant ceiling cleaning prevents dust and grease that can land on surfaces, food and people.
Enforce Hand Washing
Cleaning the restaurant’s premises to get rid of roaches or rodents and prevent dust accumulation are not the only things that dining places must pay attention to. Training staff to maintain personal hygiene is critical as well.
Proper and frequent hand washing by restaurant workers is one of the best ways to prevent food-borne diseases that may be caused by the transfer of bacteria, parasites and viruses.
A study suggests that hand washing should be done by restaurant workers up to 29 times an hour, and employees should be provided with guidelines on hand washing behavior when handling food.