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Drive-thrus and QSRs
Clean and hygienic QSRs and drive-thrus are something that customers now expect and local authorities likely require. Having a checklist in place will improve both customer experience and the quality of services. Also, a cleaning schedule can help ensure that cleaning is systematically scheduled and doesn’t interrupt the food preparation and servicing flow. The authorities of these establishments should also provide their staff members with ample cleaning agents and tools to ease their work.
After every shift, QSRs need to conduct a wiping process to effectively remove any dust, dirt, or allergens found on the surfaces. Wiping should be performed when there is very little activity in the kitchen regarding food preparation and servicing.
The wiping compliance forms part of the standard procedures undertaken by the Food and Service Industry, helping the owners and staff disinfect various surfaces like kitchen slabs, restaurant tables, storage shelves, etc.
The wiping process entails preparing hot water, filling 25% of the soaking pan with water, and dip a clean and dry cloth into it. Furthermore, use the fabric to disinfect/clean the surface or object you intend to wipe. Repeat the process. Change the water if it gets cold.
- a. To wipe cutlery and other glassware, prepare hot water and wipe the object holding the glass stem from the bottom (in case of glasses) or the bottom of the glassware, inserting one corner of the cloth in the glass start cleaning. Put all cleaned cutlery upside down on the tray.
- b. To clean glass doors and glass surfaces such as tables, slabs, etc., ensure that you dip a clean rag in soapy water and start wiping the door/surface. Wipe the solution away after a few minutes to loosen the dirt deposits on the surface. Use a clean cloth/paper towels to clean after a few minutes.
- a. Use a soft, lint-free cloth, preferably cotton.
- b. Begin the process with soap and water and use clean water at the end to get the best results.
- c. Use good quality cleaners and chemicals.
- a. Do not use a very slippery cloth to wipe.
- b. Do not use highly concentrated solutions.
QSRs see many customers each day because of which the floors are likely to become dirty. It can become a potential health hazard for both customers and employees alike. Therefore, mopping the floors regularly with a good mop and strong cleaning agents is essential.
Mopping helps the staff and the owners comply with the post-pandemic cleaning protocols and ensure that the standards are maintained and followed.
Since the kitchen is a space that sees both chefs and servers coming in and out and engaging in many activities, it is very susceptible to outside dirt and grime.
The first step of the general process will involve employing specific components such as a bucket, choosing the right mop based on your floor type, and selecting a suitable detergent. This step will be followed by sweeping or vacuuming and filling the bucket with water on the floor. Next, dip and wring the mop. Be mindful of the stubborn spots and repeat the process and rinse the mopped area.
- a. A good quality floor cleaner/degreaser is the first step toward safe kitchen flooring. Before you strip the soap and grease coating, apply a hard surface cleaner/degreaser with a stiff bristle deck brush to return the tile to its normal, like new, state.
- b. After diluting the cleanser as instructed, use a degreaser cleaner and sit for at least five to ten minutes to be effective. Clean the kitchen using hot water after the dirt is emulsified. Do not reuse the contaminated water and dispose of it immediately once you have finished cleaning. Make sure to pour the water down the drain.
- c. Identify mops and buckets for kitchen purposes and use them only. Use a caution plate to ensure minimum movement during the kitchen and, if possible, restrict the traffic on the floor.
- a. Once you have applied the degreaser and non-slip treatment to your kitchen flooring, use the degreaser daily to keep it free of grease and buildup.
- b. Make sure to use the degreaser at the recommended dilution ratio. More is not better.
- c. Let the degreaser sit on the floor for at least five to ten minutes or longer to emulsify the grease, then follow with a thorough hot-water rinse.
- d. Change the mop bucket and solution often to avoid “slop mopping,” spreading the dirt and grease around the kitchen flooring.
- e. Clean up grease or other spills promptly.
- f. Sweep up food items throughout the day. It doesn’t take much to cause a shoe to slip.
- a. Do not reuse the same water again and again.
- b. Do not be careless around the mop as it might result in injuries.
- c. Do not keep the fans and AC off as it restricts the drying process of the floor.
- Do not use the water on the floor to clean the kitchen.
Deep cleaning is an extensive cleaning process that helps in eliminating all the contaminants, soils, and foul odors. In addition, regular deep cleaning will improve the overall appearance and hygiene levels of a QSR. A deep cleaning procedure should be conducted several times a year in a QSR, given its high traffic and volume of customers.
Deep cleaning is the specialized cleaning or a thorough cleaning in a particular area. It helps in reducing contamination and controlling infections.
The process can be divided into three steps- planning, implementing, and reviewing. The planning stage involves getting to know the facility that needs to be deep cleaned. Keep in mind that not every area needs a deep cleaning. Hence, the first action is identifying those areas and then surfaces type and charting a plan to clean them. Following this, you will need to enact the planning and ensure that further steps in the process are followed. The last stage is reviewing and assessing whether or not the cleaning is carried out effectively.
- a. Ensure that you cover all food and store it properly before the process even begins. Divide your workforce into different teams and work on the surfaces as written on the labels and the training instructions. Do not mix peroxide solution with any other chemicals.
- b. Begin by cleaning with a dry cloth first, then disinfect and use a mop to clean the floors with the disinfectant. Allow the disinfectant to sit for the stipulated time mentioned on the disinfectant label.
- c. Use a clean bucket to thoroughly rinse the floor and the surfaces that have been cleaned using the disinfectant. If possible, use a separate mop too. Resanitize the areas that come in direct contact with food.
- a. Have a clean supply of dry towels, extra buckets, mops, and other cleaning essentials.
- b. Suppose you are unsure of the first few rounds, then it’s best to hire a cleaning company. This way, you would be able to learn better.
- c. Train your staff and ensure the training sessions undergo regular reviews to examine the effectiveness of the learning.
- d. Make checklists and schedules so that you can give regular cleaning sessions without missing any steps.
- a. Avoid leaving the cleaning agents on surfaces and floors for less or more time than the suggested/recommended time.
- b. Do not leave the staff unsupervised.
- Do not dispose of the chemical buckets improperly.
Without proper disinfection methods, a QSR can become a breeding ground for illness-causing germs. In addition, high touch points and areas that people touch the most such as tables, cash counters, etc., require consistent disinfection to prevent cross-contamination. Therefore, QSRs should ideally employ EPA-approved disinfectants or the disinfectant approved by their local governing bodies.
The pandemic has left us with endless questions and discussions on cleaning and disinfecting the objects/surfaces we encounter daily. The global pandemic has become a cause for concern for the Food and Servicing industry because they now have to take strict safety measures. However, it also opens up the way for food businesses to give their customers the best service and experience.
When sanitizing correctly, you can kill up to 99% of bacteria, fungi, and some microbes. Keep in mind to mix sanitizing solutions at a certain concentration level and leave them on surfaces for at least 60 seconds. The cleaning process begins by cleaning and then sanitizing, followed by disinfecting. While on the one hand, disinfectants eliminate bacteria and viruses. But on the other hand, the process of disinfection needs to be carried out efficiently and effectively. Therefore, it is recommended that disinfectants must stay in contact on a surface for 10 minutes.
- a. Disinfect with a solution registered with Environmental Protection Agency. Follow the label directions. Kindly proceed only after carefully reading the instructions. For food contact surfaces, take extra caution and rinse them thoroughly with water.
- Check the disinfectant’s effectiveness, preferably opting for one that kills 100% bacteria and viruses on hard and non-porous surfaces.
- Look for a “no-rinse” option. It means the disinfectants used are approved for commercial or residential kitchens to control bacteria, viruses, and mold without the need to wash or rinse the area with water after it is applied.
- a. Always remember to first clean, then sanitize and lastly, disinfect.
- b. Train your staff according to the instructions on different disinfectant labels to get the best and desired results.
- c. Disinfect the service station, bar, and lobby counters.
- d. Disinfect tables in the kitchen, remembering to move everything away from the area you are disinfecting to prevent chemical contamination.
- e. Use approved disinfectants with an EPA “emerging viral pathogen” claim and follow the specified procedures on high-touch guest points.
- a. Do not forget to supervise the entire process while your staff is disinfecting time and again.
- b. Do not clean or use chemicals near food.
- c. Do not mix chemicals.
- d. Do not put spilled chemicals into the original container.
Keeping tables clean for the customers to eat at will enhance customer experience and ensure that proper hygiene standards are being maintained. Inadequate disinfection may lead to the spread of germs and bacteria, resulting in cross-contamination of the food and causing severe health issues, which could reflect negatively on the image of the QSR.
Tables, chairs, and other furniture used by the customers must be cleaned and sanitized after every use. Disinfection of these mitigates the spread of diseases and makes it a safer space for all.
Using a mild disinfectant or a surface cleaner, wipe down all the surfaces. Pay attention to the table’s top surface; however, one must also frequently clean the table’s legs.
- a. Use a clean cloth to wipe down the surfaces thoroughly.
- b. Use a mild disinfectant or a multi-surface cleaner.
- a. Do not miss out on cleaning the legs of the table.
- b. Do not use bleach and strong surface cleaners that ruin the table’s material.