Maintaining Your Commercial Kitchen During COVID-19 with APS-Hoods revised

    As you know, deep cleaning your restaurant and the commercial kitchen does not just give it a beautiful, sparkling appearance, it also keeps your customers and employees safe! During the COVID-19 pandemic, this level of safety is more important than ever.   The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in a new reality for the restaurant industry: social distancing, altered operating standards, and the need for intense cleaning. Keeping your kitchen sanitary will help keep your customers both safe and happy, as well as more likely to return to your establishment.   Having a professionally cleaned restaurant implies a high level of care to your customers. So here is all you need to know about maintaining your commercial kitchen during the COVID-19 pandemic, straight from the professionals themselves.

Cleaning During COVID-19

Why is it so important to keep your kitchen clean and sanitized during the COVID-19 pandemic? The viral outbreak caused by COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. With over 4.5 million cases worldwide, and over 350,000 reported deaths due to the virus, it has caused devastation on a global scale.   COVID-19 can cause severe respiratory problems including trouble breathing, fever, loss of smell and taste, and even blood clots. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has had a major impact on the restaurant industry, with restaurants either forced to close or operate at a lower capacity. It been connected to incidents at many restaurants, eateries, and coffee shops, including Starbucks, Panera, and Waffle House.   Gaining customer trust as restaurant limitations are raised depends on more than just handling food safely. Having your restaurant cleaned and sanitized by a professional company is a prime way to show your customers that you are taking this seriously. This entails cleaning your kitchen appliances, walls, floors, dumpsters, ceilings, vents, grease ducts, hoods, and fans.

Call APS-Hoods for a free estimate on your pressure washing, ventilation, sanitizing, or vent/duct/hood needs.

Proactive Cleaning During COVID-19

Both the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Food Industry Association have put out special guidelines on how to proactively clean your restaurant during this time. These include a front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house cleaning checklist.

Front of the House

The front of the house gives off the first impression that your customers will get of your restaurant. Taking the following steps will ensure that their first impression is a good one, and that you are taking the sanitization of your restaurant seriously.  
  • Sanitizing tables, countertops, registers, floors, walls, and bathrooms. This will mitigate the risk of transmitting or contracting COVID-19. The virus can live on surfaces for hours. Wiping down surfaces and continually participating in restaurant cleaning helps stop the spread of the virus.
 
  • Make sure you are using cleaning solutions that are proven to eliminate COVID-19. Not all cleaning solutions are effective in killing the COVID-19 virus. Make sure you using cleaning solutions that are certified to be effective in eliminating COVID-19.

Back of the House

The back of the house is where you are making the magic happen! Because there is so much going on, the back of the house also gets dirty. Food is being made; dishes are being taken out, and messy plates are being brought back in. Even now, while many restaurants are not fully open, the back of the house remains busy. Below are some steps that your restaurant can take for the back of the house cleanliness.  
  • Sanitizing countertops, prep areas, cooking equipment, refrigerators, walk-in coolers, food storage areas, sink areas, floors, walls, and ceilings. These are the areas and surfaces where food is handled and prepared. It is imperative that they cleaned and sanitized regularly, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Ensure there is soap, clean towels (or paper towels), and accessible sinks. Your staff is working hard to make sure that your restaurant stays open, safe, and profitable. Make sure that they also have the tools needed to stay safe in the kitchen!
 
  • Cleaning with EPA-approved disinfectants.
  At APS-Hoods, we can make this process easy and less time consuming for you by providing you with complete kitchen cleaning. This would include all kitchen items and surfaces mentioned above.

Your Kitchen Exhaust and Fire Protection Needs During COVID-19

Having your kitchen hood exhaust system professionally cleaned is something that is of the highest importance when it comes to maintaining your restaurant. Not only does it help keep your restaurant clean, but it also helps to prevent kitchen fires. Not having a properly cleaned hood system is one of the leading causes of commercial kitchen fires. At APS-Hoods we take this very seriously, and our goal is to make sure that your hood exhaust system is thoroughly cleaned if grease and other fire hazardous build. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the danger posed by the build-up of fire hazardous grease is still very much present.   Having your hood professionally cleaned is also a way to keep inline with fire protection codes and regulations. It is also required by insurance companies. Allow us to help you remain compliant with your local fire department, as well as your insurance company. We will clean your hood exhaust system from the atmosphere to the atmosphere. This includes the hood, filters, all areas of the grease duct (including opening any access panels), and the exhaust fan. We will make sure that the fire hazardous grease is cleaned out of your hood system.

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Restaurant Fan and Duct

APS-Hoods: Time-Tested Experts

We understand that deep cleaning your restaurant takes a lot of time and effort. With COVID-19 continuing to spread, taking on this endeavor can be even more nerve-wracking. So leave the complete commercial kitchen and restaurant deep cleaning to the professionals.   APS-Hoods are the experts when it comes to sanitizing, cleaning, and disinfecting your commercial kitchen during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have 20 years of experience providing restaurant kitchen cleaning, complete restaurant cleaning, and hood exhaust system cleaning. We are also National Fire Protection Agency affiliated, fully insured and bonded, and service Colorado and the surrounding states with our quality guarantee.   When you work with APS-Hoods, you work with a team that will go above and beyond to proactively address any of your commercial kitchen and hood exhaust system needs, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. You focus on your customers; we’ll focus on the rest. Whether you’re looking for pressure washing, kitchen cleaning, hood exhaust system cleaning, or anything in between, we are here for you.

Are you ready to build customer trust and keep the health inspectors, fire department, and insurance carriers happy? Contact APS-Hoods today for a free in-town quote for all your hood cleaning, grease duct, kitchen sanitization/cleaning, disinfecting, and restaurant cleaning needs.

  There is no obligation when you call APS-Hoods for a quote on your commercial restaurant kitchen and hood exhaust system cleaning needs. We are here to give you the resources and information you need to make the best decisions for your business. So contact us today for help maintaining your commercial kitchen through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lowering Kitchen Energy Costs, Colorado

Restaurant Cleaning Instructions and Checklists for a Happier Health Inspector

Restaurant cleaning is no easy feat. Even on a slow day, crumbs could find their way into the carpet, a little grease could get splashed onto the walls, and the bathrooms could end up looking like a war zone. That’s not even mentioning all the places there are to clean in your average restaurant. The floors, walls, ceilings, kitchen, bathrooms, and other areas will need to be scrubbed thoroughly. Because you know what happens if you don’t engage in the necessary cleaning. Your health inspector could become displeased. No restaurant owner wants an unhappy health inspector. You could face foul marks that could make their way to the news, and you could be levied with fines or even be forced to shut your establishment down. Let’s prevent any of that from happening, shall we? Here are some steps to take to ensure that the health inspector always gives you rave reviews for every future inspection. 

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Restaurant Cleaning 101

Most restaurants have their staff clean the floors, tables, and kitchen on a nightly basis. Doing so prevents rodents and insects from becoming guests of your establishment and makes the place nice and presentable for the next wave of customers.  However, sweeping and vacuuming the floors and wiping down the tables, even giving the kitchen a complete scrub down is inadequate at best for keeping your restaurant clean. For a more thorough job, you should consider hiring a restaurant janitorial company. 

Advantages of Restaurant Cleaning by Professional Janitors

You may think you are saving money by having your staff do all the cleaning, but restaurants who choose to hire janitors get to enjoy the following benefits.

Safe & Sanitary Environment

Your staff may not have the training or experience to get all the grease off the floors, which can lead to slips and falls. If your staff miss some crumbs in the corner or fail to get the hidden grease off the walls, you could be inviting roaches, rats, and dangerous microbes into your restaurant.  Learn more about: Restaurant Kitchen Deep Clean: How Long Will the Kitchen be Down and is It Worth It? Professional janitors make your restaurant safer for staff and customers and will sterilize your environment to make it unappealing to pests while simultaneously making your restaurant inviting to customers. 

Health Code Compliance

Most local health codes require you to get your restaurant professionally cleaned on a regular basis. This is necessary for safety and sanitation, which we have mentioned, but it’s also a good idea if you want to serve excellent food that won’t make your customers sick.

They Can Clean Hard to Reach Places

Professional janitors can clean the walls, floors, ceiling tiles, and every other area of your restaurant. They don’t cut corners like staff might when they’re trying to get off early. Janitors will clean in the corners and in every nook and cranny to ensure a complete restaurant cleaning job.

Complete Restaurant Cleaning Checklist

Keeping the Back of House Clean

When we talk about “back of house” we are referring to the kitchen and other areas that customers aren’t readily exposed to. 

Daily Restaurant Kitchen Cleaning

  • Clean the fryers until every remnant of food or grease are gone.
  • Sanitize all food preparation surfaces, including the cutting boards.
  • Brush and scour the grills until all the crusty gunk is removed.
  • Empty the trash cans and wipe them down with a damp rag and antimicrobial soap.
  • Take all the rags to the laundry to be professionally cleaned (unless you do this in-house).
  • Launder all the chef’s aprons and coats while you’re at it. 
  • Sanitize the meat and cheese slicers. 
  • Make sure all refrigerated food items are kept in air-tight containers and properly labeled.
  • Sweep and mop all floors, including the walk-in cooler and freezer.
  • Wipe down the outside of the ice machine.
  • Clean the grease traps. 
  • Clean the ventilation hood filters by running them through the dishwasher. 
  • Replace the tin foil liners on the grills and ranges.
  • Empty all the trash and recyclables. 
  • Wash the floor mats.
  • Empty and clean the steam tables. 
  • Sanitize the sinks, faucets, and soda dispensers.
  • Properly dispose of all grease and oil.

Weekly Kitchen Cleaning

  • Clean the ovens by adhering to the manufacturer’s instructions. 
  • Empty, clean, and sanitize the walk-in cooler. 
  • Clean the coffee machines. 
  • Wash the walls. 

Monthly Kitchen Cleaning

  • Wash behind the fryers, flat tops, stoves, and oven. 
  • Remove all built-up grease, which can become a fire hazard.
  • Empty and clean the walk-in freezer.
  • Empty the ice bin, then clean and sanitize the inside. 
  • Wash the ceiling tiles.
  • Check the equipment: Are the knives sharp? Is the thermometer calibrated?
  • Check the entire restaurant for signs of pests and rodents. If you notice droppings or other signs, call pest control immediately!

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kitchen exhaust hood pic

Keeping the Front of House Clean

The front of house includes all the areas staff may come into contact with, including your entrance, dining areas, bar, and others.

Daily Restaurant Cleaning

  • Wash every surface of the restaurant (walls, floors, ceilings, countertops, bar, tabletops, chairs, and booths) with clean and sanitized rags. 
  • Clean and sanitize the restrooms (you should also check them multiple times per shift and clean them as necessary).
  • Sweep and mop the floors.
  • Wipe down the condiment dispensers.
  • Check the menus for cleanliness and wipe them down as needed.

Weekly Restaurant Cleaning

  • Dust the blinds, ceiling fans, walls, picture frames, and anywhere else dust has gathered. 
  • Clean the table and chair legs.
  • Wipe down the baseboards.

Restaurant Ceiling Cleaning

Even though the ceiling tiles are way up high doesn’t mean they can’t become caked with grease and other contaminants. The fact is, the ceiling is positioned above everything, including your cooking appliances. That means that everyday food is being cooked and prepared, your ceiling tiles are absorbing everything, from fumes and oil to grease and odors.  Failing to clean your ceiling tiles can make your entire restaurant look old and dingy. In extreme bases, the ceiling tiles can begin to negatively affect the air quality of your restaurant, leading to a fire hazard and failed health inspections.  Whether you have your staff clean the tiles or you hire a professional janitorial service, make sure the following steps are performed. Missing even a single step can leave your restaurant susceptible to disaster, and you may end up turning off your customers. 

Cover Everything in the Kitchen

Cleaning the ceiling tiles means that all those contaminants are going to come raining down on your tables, floors, cooking appliances, and everything else. Therefore, make sure you cover everything down below with plastic tarps or drop cloths. You can also use old sheets or butcher paper. While you’re at it, cover your eyes with protective eyewear before the cleaning begins. 

Remove the Tiles

If your restaurant sports a drop ceiling or suspended ceiling tiles, you will first want to remove all the tiles from along the ceiling grid. Use a shop vac and clean all the areas that aren’t readily available, like the vents, corners, and light fixtures. If your shop vac has a dusting attachment, use it to get into the nooks and crannies. If the tiles are excessively filthy, alternate between vacuuming and dusting until the tiles look clean.  Whatever you do, don’t use disposable dusting cloths on ceiling tiles, as they will snag and tend to leave behind fibers. These fibers, in turn, will catch and attract additional dust and dirt. Use rags or towels instead. 

Clean the Commercial Ceiling Tiles

With the dusting complete, you will next want to wash the tiles using a mixture of ten parts water and one-part dishwashing liquid. Next, use a wet sweeper to swab the tile’s surface. Don’t over-wet the tiles, as you can warp them or cause water damage. Make sure you wring your sweeper out before applying it to the tiles to avoid any water mishaps. 

Instructions for Cleaning Permanent Ceiling Tiles

If you are tasked with cleaning restaurant tiles that are permanently set into the ceiling, use a static duster to first eradicate any loose dirt. From there, use the shop vac to get to all the hard to reach places, then use a wet sweeper dampened in the same dishwashing solution directly onto the ceiling tiles. Don’t get the sweeper too wet so that it doesn’t drip and cause a mess. Finally, use a lint-free cloth to get the ceiling tiles as dry as possible. 

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Restaurant Fire Cleaning

The above advice is for standard restaurant cleaning, but what happens when fire has reared its ugly head? Whether you suffered a small fire, or your restaurant has been gutted, there are strict protocols in place for how your restaurant should be cleaned.

Cleaning and Removing Smoke Odor

After a fire, your entire establishment could end up smelling like a gigantic ashtray. The first course of action is to give your restaurant a thorough scrubbing while eradicating the foul stench of acrid smoke.

Cleaning the Walls, Furniture and Floors

To remove soot and smoke from surfaces like walls and floors, and from your furniture, use a mild soap or detergent. You can also mix four to six tablespoons of tri-sodium phosphate and one cup household cleaner or chlorine bleach to every gallon of warm water. Always wear rubber gloves when cleaning up after a fire and be sure to rinse all the surfaces afterward with clear warm water before drying thoroughly. Wash the walls one small area at a time. The best technique is to work from the floor up while taking care to prevent streaking. Rinse with clear water immediately after washing.  You should always wash the ceilings last. If you are considering repainting, only do so after the walls and ceilings are completely clean and dry. You can further reduce the chances of mold growth and mildew by wiping down all the surfaces with a solution comprised of one cup of bleach to a gallon of water. Always test the solution on small areas first to prevent unnecessary discoloring.  If you have drywall or insulation that was soaked by water from sprinklers or fire hoses, you should consult with a professional for assistance. You cannot dry these areas out and reuse them, as mold and mildew can result. The areas will have to be replaced completely by a professional before your restaurant can reopen. 

Commercial Kitchen Fire Cleaning

Wash all the appliances and pots, pans, and utensils with soapy water. Then, rinse them down before polishing them. They can also be run through the dishwasher.  If any food or other items were damaged, they must be removed from the premises immediately, preferably before cleaning is conducted. If your business is closed for renovation or repairs, your establishment will need to be reviewed and inspected by local authorities before you can reopen for business. This is why it is critical that you hire a fire restoration and cleanup service so you’re not handling everything on your own. A service can make sure all steps are completed for a faster and more efficient reopening.  Learn more about: Restaurant Kitchen Deep Cleaning Checklist for Commercial Operations in Denver, CO

Construction Cleaning

There is one more aspect of cleaning a restaurant that we haven’t discussed, and that’s to clean up after new construction or a renovation project. Whether you recently built your establishment, or you remodeled, you likely have a big mess on your hands. 

Post-Construction Cleanup Checklist

  • Sweep and vacuum all the surfaces, including all the ceilings and walls.
  • Sweep, mop, and disinfect the floors.
  • Vacuum the upholstery. 
  • Wipe down the doors, knobs, baseboards, moldings, and hardware. 
  • Give a thorough wipe-down and sanitization of the bathrooms and kitchens, including the appliances, cabinets, and counters. 
  • Dust and wipe-down all the window interiors, including the sills and frames. 
  • Dust the air ducts, grates, vents, ceiling fans, blinds, and lighting fixtures.
  • Clean the hardware like hinges and handles and clean the outside of all shelves and cabinets.
  • Clean the inside of all the cabinets.
  • Clean the inside of the closets.
  • Remove all trash and debris (though your construction contractor should have removed this already as part of your contract).

Why Not Trust the Restaurant Cleaning to the Experts?

Instead of putting your staff to work on these really tough jobs, call Aps-Hoods in Denver, Colorado instead. We can perform restaurant cleaning, kitchen cleaning, fire cleaning, and construction cleaning. Not only will you have less stress, but you can keep the health inspector happy, preventing fines and potential shutdowns.  Call today for a free estimate and let Aps-Hoods make your restaurant the cleanest in town.
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