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 for 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 has 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.
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 help 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 use 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 clean 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 in line 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.
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, 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 departments, 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.
Image Source Like most restaurant owners, you probably have an equipment maintenance checklist that includes checking equipment for failure and ensuring appliances are working efficiently for maximum energy savings. However, if you don’t have a proper cleaning checklist, you should get one fast. Cleaning a commercial kitchen involves a ton of elbow grease and the knowledge to know which areas to clean for proper food and environmental safety. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cite commercial kitchens as the source for more than 50% of all foodborne outbreaks. This means that thoroughly cleaning your commercial kitchen can actually help to spread airborne illness. Proper cleaning of a commercial kitchen must involve the countertops and other hard surfaces, all the appliances and other equipment, your exhaust hoods and vents, as well as the floors, walls, and ceilings. Before you finish your list, there is a critical component to commercial kitchen cleaning that we failed to mention: Grease traps. If your kitchen’s grease traps aren’t cleaned on a regular basis, you could find yourself with a mess on your hands, not to mention a major fire hazard.
Call APS-Hoods for a free estimate on your Commercial Kitchen Hood Cleaning & Commercial Grease Trap Cleaning Services needs.
The Importance of Cleaning Your Commercial Grease Traps
A grease trap that is regularly cleaned is vital to the health of your restaurant business. Grease traps that aren’t cleaned thoroughly can produce foul odors, which can offend even the most laid back of restaurant patrons. Dirty grease traps can also cause you to commit expensive state and federal code violations. For those reasons, you will want to ensure that you put into place a regular grease cleaning schedule that will keep your patrons happy and your restaurant profitable.
What is a Grease Trap?
A grease trap is a plumbing device that is designed to intercept grease and other solids before they have a chance to enter the wastewater disposal system. While some wastewater does contain a small amount of oil, grease traps keep large amounts of oil, fat, and grease from clogging the septic tank and sewer lines. Commercial kitchens produce a ton of oil, fat, and grease, sometimes on a daily basis. When these particles enter the grease trap from the commercial kitchen’s outflow, the solid food particles sink to the bottom while the grease, oils, and fat float to the top. The grease-free water is fed into the septic system, leaving the grease trap accumulating more of the gunk all the time. Since these substances can solidify when cooled, the mixture of them can cause blocked drain pipes. A grease trap also manages to keep the septic and sewer lines cool while preventing a dangerous fire from occurring. However, grease traps can only work effectively when they are cleaned regularly. That’s because a buildup of grease is one of the most dangerous problems you can encounter in a commercial kitchen. When you combine the grease buildup with sparks and flames that regularly occur in a high-pressure kitchen, dangerous and deadly fire can result. The good news is that you will likely be reminded to regularly clean your commercial grease traps, as state and local codes, and even some insurance companies, along with the local fire department, will often have schedule requirements for proper grease exhaust cleaning. Learn more about: All You Need to Know About Restaurant Hood Maintenance to Protect Your Investment
How Frequently Does Your Grease Trap Need to be Cleaned?
The schedule you adhere to for proper grease trap cleaning varies, depending on your restaurant type, size, and other factors, such as your hours of operation. Generally speaking, you should plan to have your commercial grease trap cleaned every thirty-days if your establishment uses wood or charcoal grills, char-broilers, and if your doors are open 24/7. Many hamburger restaurants need a schedule like this due to the high rate of table turnover and cooking production. All those burgers produce a ton of grease, which needs to be cleaned out every month. Every sixty-days is the required commercial grease trap schedule for the average restaurant. This includes cafeterias, hotel kitchens, hospital kitchens, and your local family restaurant. Since the grease traps aren’t overflowing on a monthly basis, every two months might be an acceptable schedule for your needs. Check with the local code authorities to determine if this schedule is right for your restaurant or other commercial kitchen business. Many fast food locations have become very efficient with their grease trapping and cleaning, which means that these types of establishments can often get away with ninety-day grease cleaning schedules. A thorough scrubbing every three months should keep the grease traps clean and the cleaning process affordable for restaurant owners. For pizza restaurants, convalescent hospitals, snack bars, and oven hoods, every 120 days or once every four months should suffice for proper grease trap cleaning.
For best results, you should always hire a professional commercial kitchen cleaning service to thoroughly clean your grease traps. Only a reputable company will have the training, tools, and abilities to clean your grease traps so they are always up to code. If your grease traps aren’t cleaned as well as they could be, you could face a load of problems. For one, your insurance company might revoke your insurance. You also face serious liability and litigation from fires that were caused by you not ensuring that your grease traps were properly cleaned. Hefty fines or a personal injury court case could put you out of the commercial kitchen business entirely. The National Fire Protection Association or NFPA states that the majority of restaurant fires start when cooking appliances flare into the kitchen exhaust system. When you consider that grease fires burn as hot as 1400 degrees Fahrenheit, a grease fire can spread quickly through neglected exhaust systems that are laden with grease. The fire could then travel to the roof, where more business-killing damage can be done, not to mention the threat of injury and loss of life. Nearly 11,000 commercial kitchens are damaged by fire every year, resulting in over $160 million in damages. Make sure yours is not one of them with proper commercial grease trap cleaning and maintenance. Depending on the company you hire, your grease traps will be cleaned with a variety of high-pressure tools and precision techniques. Each team that is hired to clean your kitchen knows there are pipes and ventilation shafts that can become traps for grease, oil, and debris. These areas need to be cleaned just as thoroughly as your grease trap to prevent future problems. Unless your time schedule was specified by fire and other coding authorities, your grease traps should be professionally cleaned at least every four to six weeks. Failure to clean your grease trap can cause all those solids to enter the wastewater, causing blockages that could then flood your restaurant with foul-smelling sewer water. If that does happen, it will take at least two days to sanitize your commercial kitchen establishment, leading to an expensive and unnecessary shutdown. When the professionals show up to clean your commercial grease trap, the first thing they’ll do is assess the type of grease trap you operate. ( Learn More About Grease Trap Service in APS-HOODS ) There are four essential types of commercial grease trap.
Hydromechanical Grease Interceptor (HGI)
A hydromechanical grease interceptor is a small grease trap that is usually located in cabinet space underneath a sink. This type of grease trap provides passive oil trapping and is the least expensive to install. The drawback to the HGI grease trap is that it requires frequent cleaning, which might end up costing you more in cleaning and maintenance costs in the long run.
Automatic Grease Removal System
This type of grease trap features an automatic mechanism for removing grease from the tank, where it’s kept in a separate container. While these systems can be a good alternative for the HGI, they make it a little harder to prove that your commercial kitchen skims FOG (Fat, Oil, and Grease) regularly.
Gravity Grease Interceptors (GGI)
These grease traps separate water, solid waste, along with fat, oil, and grease using the force of gravity. The tanks are constructed of metal, concrete, or a strong plastic and are designed to collect wastewater while separating FOG. When the FOG is collected, it floats to the surface while the solids sink to the bottom. The wastewater flows into the sewer network or the water treatment plant, and the grease is kept in the trap. If your establishment has a GGI, the grease will need to be pumped out regularly, or at least at the point where solids and grease become 25% of the overall tank’s contents. These grease traps are more expensive to install but require less maintenance than HGIs or their automatic system counterparts.
Maximum Retention HGIs
For restaurants that don’t have space for larger, more conventional grease traps, maximum retention HGIs are becoming increasingly popular. These grease traps are on the smaller side, and yet tend to trap more FOG per volume. Some units manage to trap up to 85% of their liquid capacity. The best part is that these systems require far less maintenance than your standard grease trap systems. Depending on the type of grease trap your establishment uses, here are some common ways a commercial cleaning company will keep your restaurant spotless and safe with proper grease trap cleaning.
Proper Cleaning Protocols for Commercial Grease Traps
The company will begin by removing the grease trap lid, typically with a crowbar or a wrench, as some traps are sealed with bolts. The cleaning professionals will need to ensure that the grease trap is completely cool before working on it. Allowing the liquids inside to reach room temperature will also cause the fats, oils, and grease to float to the top, which makes it easier to scoop out. The cleaning crew will first inspect the baffles, which are the parts of the grease trap that separate the flow of wastewater in the grease trap tank. If yours is an outdoor trap, there will be a PVC pipe fitting known as an outlet T. Without this device, the grease trap wouldn’t be able to do its job properly. The outlet T will ensure that the water leaving the grease trap is coming from the middle of the grease trap and that none of the solids are entering the sewer system. Cleaning a grease trap begins with removing the solid FOG that has floated to the top. This usually consists of a two-inch layer of thick sludge. The cleaners will use a scoop for this job until all the fats, oils, and grease have been lifted out of the tank. Only water and leftover food solids will remain after this part of the job is completed. Now comes time to use the heavy-duty grease trap cleaning tools. A powerful shop vac will be used to remove the residual solids and leftover water. During this process, the cleaning crew will need to ensure that the automatic dishwasher is turned off and that the sinks are not in use. Doing so will prevent the grease trap from filling up while the cleaning process is ongoing. Next, the commercial grease trap cleaners will scrape off the baffles, sides of the grease trap, and the lid. All excess grease will need to be removed before the cleaning crew can call it a job well done. Your grease trap will then be flushed-out with soap and a degreasing solution, in most cases, then clean water. By the time the crew is finished, you will be left with a clean and sparkling commercial grease trap. One of the primary reasons that a professional crew is often selected for grease trap cleaning is because these services have the means to safely remove any FOG collected. These services will typically offer grease trap cleaning in addition to vent hood, fans, ductwork, and HVAC cleaning, making sure your restaurant is free of fire-starting grease and other debris.
Want a Free Quote for Professional Grease Trap Cleaning?
If you want your grease trap to remain clean at regular intervals throughout the year, keeping you code compliant and your restaurant safe, you’ll want to call on the commercial kitchen cleaning professionals. Aps-Hoods proudly serves clients throughout Denver, Aurora, Centennial, Lakewood, Colorado. For safe and reliable commercial kitchen cleaning that will save you time and money, contact our grease trap cleaning professionals for a free quote. (image source)