As the world gradually returns to pre-pandemic activities, more restaurants are opening their doors. Service ranges from delivery and take-out only to full indoor seating options, especially in the colder months. With more people sharing spaces in restaurants, it’s more important than ever to maintain safe food spaces. Having a restaurant sanitation checklist will help ensure that your team is doing all it can to keep employees and patrons safe.
What to Include on Your Restaurant Sanitation Checklist
Every space is different, so your restaurant sanitation checklist should be customized for your needs. However, there are some common requirements and recommendations to consider.
Maintain separate checklists for front-of-house and back-of-house employees. Front of house employees interact more with customers and are responsible for keeping entries, waiting areas, tables, and menus sanitized. Back of house employees work more with food and may or may not be visible to customers depending on the layout of the restaurant. They are responsible for all of the usual food-handling sanitation requirements plus additional COVID precautions.
Your checklist should include sections for activities that must be completed:
- At shift changes
- Between customers
This helps employees keep track of what activities they need to complete at various points during the day. When creating your checklists, think beyond the spaces you can see. HVAC systems, drains, and other difficult-to-reach areas should also be sanitized. If PPE is required, make sure it’s included on the checklist and that ample supplies are available.
Tips for Using Your Checklist
When possible, implement a digital system that allows all employees to have real-time information about what has been completed and what needs to be done. This will also help you track what steps were completed, when, and by whom. If you can’t use a digital system, make sure you have an abundant supply of paper checklists that include spaces for names and dates. Laminated options also work well but don’t allow you to maintain a historical record.
Share your checklist publicly with patrons so they can see what you’re doing to protect them. Show them that your restaurant is clean by doing activities in the front of house like sanitizing menus, door handles, and other commonly used items. At minimum, have signage on tables and in waiting areas to indicate when the last sanitation was done.
How to Choose the Right Products
Make sure any products you use are effective against COVID-19. You can find out by checking the EPA’s List N: Disinfectants for Coronavirus (COVID-19). Look for the EPA registration number on the label and enter it into the tool to see if it is included in the list. When comparing multiple products, evaluate the log kills to determine which are the most effective. A higher log kill number is more effective than a lower one.
Products should also be easy to mix and apply so all employees can do it. In addition to ensuring they understand the label directions, post clear signage with simple instructions that are easy to follow. An important component of the instructions for use is the minimum recommended contact time. This is the most critical factor in ensuring that the product is effective.
Safety is also important when choosing disinfectant products. Make sure products are safe for customers and employees and any surfaces they will touch. Because food may also come into contact with disinfected surfaces, choose products that are safe to be used in food-handling environments.
Training is Key
Just having good checklists isn’t enough. Employees must also have access to all the products and equipment they need and know how to use them. Explain the importance of minimum contact times and how they relate to efficacy. Demonstrate how to properly mix and apply the products you are using and give employees hands-on training so they are doing more than just watching.
People don’t always retain information they learned just once, so do more than just one training session when a new employee starts. Schedule periodic training sessions so all employees can be reminded of all the required protocols. Schedule check-ins or audits so managers can verify and grade the cleaning and make adjustments as necessary.
Choose Decon7 Products
Decon7 products are on the EPA’s List N so they are approved for use against COVID-19. With at least a 6-log kill or higher, they have proven efficacy. Whether used as a spray, foam, or fog, the products are easy to mix and apply on surfaces*. They are also approved to use near food and have low corrosivity and toxicity properties.
Restaurant managers have a lot to juggle with reopening, training employees, and keeping customers safe. Download our free Restaurant and Hospitality Disinfecting Checklist as a starting point.
*see label for specific use instructions