As the days start getting longer, your restaurant can take advantage of the warmer weather and extended light by doing some major spring maintenance. By completing these annual (or bi-annual) system checks, restoration, and cleaning regimens, you can avoid forgetting any one important aspect of your restaurant’s overall maintenance.
While your focus for this project depends greatly on your particular restaurant’s needs, below are some areas to consider when planning out your big to-do list.
1. Talk to your landlord.
If you’re leasing the restaurant space, sit down with your landlord before you do anything else. Your lease should have specific maintenance requirements for the building written out, including an agreement that clearly identifies what is your responsibility and what is theirs. This will help you get a better idea of what you need to accomplish and what you need to hold them accountable for.
Caulk can be found in various parts of your restaurant’s back of house, from your hoods to your sinks to the countertops. Caulk is used to protect tight spaces (walls, appliances, and corners) from absorbing moisture and cultivating mold. Having properly caulked spaces is also an extra protection for keeping out cockroaches and other pests.
Use FDA food-grade caulk to ensure your guests’ safety and heat-resistant caulk for your oven areas. Caulk comes in a wide variety of colors to fit in with the look of your kitchen. If it’s small caulking repairs, you can consider doing it yourself, but if it seems like a larger job, it might be appropriate to call in commercial caulking professionals.
3. Clean and restore grout lines.
If you have hard tile floors in either the front or back of the house, look carefully at the grout. Like caulk, grout can absorb dirt and moisture over time and get scuzzy.
In addition, your grout can get worn down, especially in high traffic areas of your space. Cleaning and restoring the grout line can get messy and it’s easy to get the line wrong. Unless you’re particularly handy, it will ultimately save you time and stress to hire a grouter to do the work for you so it can get done right the first time.
4. Check your windows.
One by one, inspect every pane and frame for imperfections. Are they keeping air out when closed? Making sure they’re air tight can help you save money on utility bills whether you’re using your heating or air conditioning.
Also be cognizant of whether leaks or gaps in your window frame are producing moisture or even low-pitched sound that could be disturbing your customers. Are they easy to open when need be? Do the frames look clean? Is there any chipping on the paint? Your windows should both look nice and be functional, especially now that the weather is getting warmer.
And beyond maintenance, be sure to give them a thorough clean, inside and out. You want to have this be part of your daily routine, of course, but there’s no harm in adding it to the list for spring cleaning. This is especially true if your establishment has second-story or hard-to-reach panes that don’t get touched on a daily basis.
5. Give your carpets a deep clean.
Aside from your daily vacuuming (and spot cleaning when necessary), get your carpets deep cleaned at least twice a year to ensure the dirt that comes with months of guests and servers walking in your dining room comes out of the carpet fibers. Like other aspects of your spring maintenance list, whether you do it yourself by renting a carpet cleaning machine or hire a professional depends on how much time you have and how much space you’re dealing with.
If you only have a small amount of carpeting in your restaurant, deep cleaning yourself is easily accomplished. If it’s a much larger area of carpet (or are dealing with badly soiled fibers), having a professional carpet cleaner do it for you could be a better option.
6. Sanitize all your corners and edges.
It’s not just your carpets that will need a good deep cleaning over time. While your staff should be cleaning your kitchen and dining room on a daily basis, it’s still important to take time during spring cleaning to really sanitize your corners and edges. Get into the hard to reach areas of your surfaces and make sure they are cleaned thoroughly.
And that’s not just floor corners and baseboard edges, but ceiling corners and counter edges as well. These can often be overlooked in daily cleaning regimens, so don’t be surprised if you find a bit of build-up waiting for you.
7. Check the ventilation system and your hoods.
It’s easy to forget about the ventilation system, but it’s a crucial part of your kitchen. Take this spring cleaning opportunity to maintain it, particularly cleaning the exhaust fan belt and makeup air belt. It will run more efficiently and last years longer if properly conditioned over time.
Of course, don’t forget to professionally clean your range hoods as well. They should be taken apart and cleaned at least twice a year, not just for general sanitary reasons, but to prevent grease fires from occurring and endangering your staff and customer’s health and safety.
8. Maintain your fire suppression system.
You should have your fire suppression system checked annually to ensure it will be ready to use in the case of an emergency. While many things on this list can be done by you or your staff, this particular maintenance project should be done by a professional. Be sure they double check all fire extinguishers as well to ensure they are ready to use at a moment’s notice.
9. Clean your equipment.
Giving your kitchen equipment a good scrub down is a great thing to do during your spring maintenance. However, you should always follow the specific instructions from the equipment’s manufacturer when it comes to cleaning. These instructions vary by brand and model and you want to make sure you’re not accidentally damaging the equipment. If you’re unsure about how to safely clean any one piece of equipment in your kitchen (or if you discover your equipment is partially broken), consider hiring a professional.
Want ideas about what’s next for your restaurant as summer approaches?