Restaurant Cleaning Checklist: Useful Tips for Food Businesses

Cleaning a food business can be overwhelming. A cleaning checklist can help businesses maintain a consistent schedule and process.
January 7, 2021

Food businesses must ensure that they maintain a high standard of cleanliness at all times. This is key for food safety and the prevention of food-borne illness outbreaks. Restaurant owners and managers can maintain a clean restaurant by following a detailed restaurant cleaning checklist. A restaurant deep cleaning checklist should include a kitchen cleaning checklist (back-of-house cleaning) as well as a dining room cleaning checklist (front-of-house cleaning).

It is a legal requirement that all Australian food businesses follow and comply with federal and state legislation, which includes maintaining a clean and safe establishment. Also, clean restaurants have higher amounts of returning customers which means more revenue and success.

Use the following restaurant cleaning checklist for ensuring a clean and compliant restaurant.

Restaurant Kitchen Cleaning Checklist

Following a kitchen cleaning schedule is essential for food safety and preventing food safety hazards. Keeping the kitchen clean in a restaurant is not only necessary for preventing food contamination and food-borne illnesses, it’s the law. Australian food businesses can be inspected by Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) at any time. Food businesses found not in compliance with food safety laws, such as not maintaining a cleaned and sanitised kitchen, can face fines or even closure.

Use the following checklist as a guide for what should be cleaned daily, weekly and monthly in the kitchen. As a general rule, anything that has direct contact with food must be cleaned and sanitized regularly. Items that have not had direct contact must be cleaned but not necessarily sanitized. Remember the following terms when using the checklist:

  • Cleaning removes physical dirt, soil, chemical residues and allergens from equipment, utensils and work surfaces
  • Manual cleaning is cleaning that involves using a sink or bucket with detergent and water
  • Sanitising removes harmful pathogens from food contact surfaces. Sanitising is performed after cleaning

Daily

Surfaces

  • clean and sanitise walls where food has splattered
  • clean and sanitise surfaces in food preparation areas
  • clean and sanitise food preparation sinks
  • sweep and mop the floors
  • sweep walk-in refrigerators
  • sweep storage areas
  • clean and sanitise inside and outside of garbage bins if they are used heavily or used for high-risk foods

Equipment

  • manually clean cooking surfaces such as grills, ranges and fryers (be sure to clean underneath)
  • change the foil lining on top of grills and ranges
  • manually clean equipment (beverage machines, coffee makers, espresso machines, microwaves, toasters, etc.)
  • manually clean beverage dispenser heads and tips of soda dispenser guns
  • clean and sanitise utensils, flatware and glassware

Other items

  • wash rags, towels, aprons and uniforms in washing machine
  • refill soap dispensers
  • replace empty paper towel rolls
  • dispose of recycling
  • dispose of indoor garbage

Weekly

Surfaces

  • manually clean lime from the sinks and faucets
  • clean and sanitise walk-in refrigerators and freezers
  • manually clean floor drains with drain cleaner
  • clean and sanitise inside and outside of garbage bins (if not done daily)

Equipment

  • manually clean ovens (be sure to clean the walls, door and racks)
  • manually clean the deep fryer (boil it out)

Other items

  • manually clean floor mats
  • empty outdoor garbage bins at least twice per week

Monthly

Surfaces

  • manually clean walls and the ceiling
  • manually clean behind the hot line
  • manually clean vent hoods (this can be done every couple of months)

Equipment

  • clean and sanitise the coffee machine and expresso machine
  • empty, clean and sanitise the ice machine (every 6 months)
  • clean and sanitise the freezer
  • manually clean refrigerator coils
  • empty grease traps

Other items

  • Replace pest traps

Front-of-house Cleaning Checklist

Keeping the front-of-house clean provides a safe and healthy dining experience for customers. When customers come to a restaurant to eat, they expect to dine in an environment that is tidy, clean and inviting. The experience of dining in a food business that is unclean is enough to turn away customers and hurt a business’s bottom line. Using a cleaning checklist for a restaurant dining room (and other front-of-house areas) ensures that cleanliness standards are maintained.

Use the following checklist as a guide for what should be cleaned daily, weekly and monthly in the front-of-house.

Daily

Surfaces

  • manually clean walls as necessary
  • manually clean counters
  • vacuum carpets
  • sweep and mop floors
  • clean and sanitise door handles and railings
  • clean and sanitise access buttons / elevator buttons

Furniture

  • clean and sanitise dining tables
  • manually clean seats and benches

Restrooms

  • clean and sanitise restroom surfaces
  • disinfect toilets
  • manually clean restroom sinks
  • empty out feminine hygiene containers / bins
  • dispose of bathroom garbage
  • sweep and mop restroom floors
  • clean and sanitise door handles and railings

Other items

  • clean and sanitise condiments / salt and pepper shakers
  • clean cloth napkins, tablecloths, and aprons in washing machine
  • empty garbage bins
  • clean and sanitise garbage bins
  • clean and sanitise credit card machines
  • clean and sanitise menus

Weekly

Surfaces

  • manually clean the light fixtures
  • manually clean glass windows and doors

Monthly

Surfaces

  • dust items on walls (e.g. art or decorations)
  • manually clean all the walls

Running a successful and compliant food business involves adhering to food safety regulations and standards. This means having a clean and safe business is a top priority. By breaking down the cleaning tasks into daily, weekly and monthly categories, food businesses can ensure they are getting all their cleaning tasks done as needed. Using the restaurant cleaning checklist for both the kitchen and front-of-house is the best way for restaurant owners and managers to achieve a hygienic and food safety compliant business.

Food businesses can download and print off the AIFS Restaurant Cleaning Checklist for an even easier way to implement their cleaning schedule.