4 Rules for a Cleaner Mobile Kitchen

A clean kitchen is a safe kitchen, for both customers and employees. It's also a legal kitchen

By STAFF | Nestle Professional

A clean mobile kitchen is a safe kitchen, for both customers and employees. It's also a legal mobile kitchen

Rule #1: Create a System

It helps to have a system, including checklists for the supplies you need and the tasks that need to be completed. Here’s how to start.

  1. Make a list of every area in the kitchen that needs to be cleaned, including room/station descriptions (the bar, walk-in, pantry, etc.) and major equipment (such as prep tables, stoves and refrigerators).
  2. Record each cleaning task for every area you listed, such as clearing the surface, scrubbing, disinfecting, mopping, emptying garbage and rotating stock.
  3. Assign a daily, weekly or monthly status to each cleaning task (see Rule #2). For example, sweeping and mopping should happen at least daily, while rotating stock is usually a weekly activity.
  4. Create a daily checklist for each station; employees should use these lists at closing and as side work during lulls in business.
  5. Schedule weekly tasks according to when they need to be done, such as rotating stock when new stock comes in. Schedule other tasks for slower times, for instance between the lunch and dinner shift behind the service bar. Arrange the daily schedule and staffing for those days so that there are time and personnel to get it done.
  6. Schedule monthly tasks at the most appropriate time (the 20th of the month, for example, or the third Thursday of every month). Schedule extra hours as necessary, before or after a shift, for time-consuming tasks, or bring in personnel specifically for the job.
  7. Train all employees and new hires on the cleaning system. Make it the responsibility of shift supervisors and managers to check that all parts of your cleaning list are accomplished before they release staff at end of shift.

Rule #2: Use Checklists

A checklist detailing the how, what, where and who will accomplish each task is very helpful and prevents cleaning jobs from being “forgotten” during the heat of battle. Post these lists where the appropriate staff can see them. Leave nothing to chance.

Rule #3: Clean First, Then Sanitize

What’s the difference? Cleaning is the process of removing food and other types of soil from a surface, such as a dish, glass, or cutting board. Cleaning is accomplished using a cleaning agent that removes food, soil, rust stains, minerals, or other deposits.

Sanitizing, on the other hand, refers to the process of reducing the number of microorganisms that are on a properly cleaned surface to a safe level (defined as a 99.999% reduction of the number of disease microorganisms that are of public health importance). Sanitizing is accomplished by using either heat, radiation (used more in food processing and packaging, rather than foodservice), or chemicals.

Unless the item to be sanitized is effectively cleaned first, it is impossible to obtain close contact between the sanitizer and the surface to the sanitized. Also, some chemical sanitizers, such as chlorine and iodine, react with organic matter and so will be less effective when the surface is not properly cleaned.

Rule #4: Sweat the Small Stuff

The average mobile food vehicle is made up of dozens if not hundreds of moving parts—most of which need to be cleaned. Some of these parts are big and obvious: the floors, the grill, the freezer. But there are also lots of smaller items, from knife racks and cutting boards to cash registers, P.O.S., and dispensers which must be kept clean.

Thus the necessity for creating procedures, checklists and areas of responsibility for everything that needs to be cleaned.

GET STARTED: For more information on cleaning schedules, plus sample checklist templates from restaurant-training-manuals.com, click here.