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Articles: Sanitation


By Joseph Durocher, jDj@christa.unh.edu

Sanitation continues to be a hot Temperature, abrasion and cleaning chemicals are topic at restaurant shows. At the NRA Show in Chicago this past Sell the right cleaning agent for the each job. May hundreds of vendors were displaying products aimed at improving sanitation and cleanliness in foodservice operations. In some cases they were showing cleaning agents designed to remove baked-on foods, and in others they showed specialized equipment that would remove build-up. But a clean operation does not always mean a sanitary operation.
So, before you make your next sales call, make sure you're ready to stress the difference between these two concepts, because they are quite different. For example, I can pick up a water-stained fork that is sanitary even though it looks dirty. Similarly, I can pick up a clean-looking cutting board that is actually covered with foodborne illness-causing salmonella. While visual cues are used to determine cleanliness, they only hint at sanitation.
Cleaning Agents: Temperature, abrasion and cleaning chemicals are the three legs on which a cleaning program rests. Take a close look at each of the areas where your customer's need cleaning supplies and make certain that they choose the right supplies for each job.
The dish machine is the first place to start. If the tableware is not getting clean, there are a number of potential problems. Check out the temperature readouts to ensure that they are operating at the proper levels. If the wash tank is too cool the cleaning agents will not work as effectively as they could. Then check that the rinse water temperature is 180-degrees F. This not only sanitizes dishes but heats them up so that any residual surface water evaporates before spots form.
Detergent and rinse agents used in a dish machine are obvious items to sell your customers but offer presoak agents as well. Recommend an automated detergent injector, or premeasured packets that ensure that employees don't overload the pot sink.
Abrasion is important to the cleaning process, so check out the pot brushes and scrubbing pads used. If they seem worn out or in short supply they should end up on your order sheet. Offer a piece of equipment that actually uses water pressure and a low-foaming detergent to loosen dirt from pots and pans with minimal labor costs.
Hand Tools for Cleaning: Protective gear is essential whenever caustic cleaning chemicals are in use. Employees should also wear protective eye-wear just in case the product splashes.
Mops and Buckets: When the "wringer" on a mop bucket functions properly, most of the water is removed from the mop. If too much water remains on the mop, the floors will stay wetter longer after being washed. That can lead to accidental falls. So, sell mop buckets based on life safety issues along with improved cleaning efficiency.
Front-of-the-House Sanitation: During the rainy season, recommend that your customers keep their newest mop bucket and mop close to the entry of their operations so that water can be periodically soaked up in an effort to prevent accidental falls. Make sure that customers have a safety cone that alerts guests to slippery floors. In the restrooms, ensure that employees have the protective gear and cleaning supplies that makes this odious cleaning task safer and less foreboding. Your customers should have a supply of sanitizer/deodorizer for urinals along with automated air fresheners.
Bar Cleaning: Check out the brushes used to clean glassware. Ensure that there is an ample supply of non-sudsing glassware cleaner and sanitizer. While most jurisdictions frown on polishing glassware with a cloth, bartenders continue this practice. Ensure that those bartenders have an ample supply of disposable bar towels to perform this task. If they use an old towel that has been used to clean up work surfaces, the off odors of the towel will invariably be transferred to the glassware.

For your customers who have carpeting in their dining rooms, carpet sweepers are a must. Sure, your customers probably have a carpet sweeper already, but the brushes wear out over time, and you should occasionally recommend that a new sweeper be purchased. Carpet sweepers pick up loose dirt, but your customers need a way to clean up spills before they set. One simple solution is a supply of spray-on spot remover. Quick-drying spot removers can extend the time needed between costly full-carpet cleaning. In between meal periods, carpets need to be vacuumed to keep them neat looking and to increase their usable life. If carpets are not vacuumed frequently, dirt and sand will settle into the base of the carpet and, as people walk over the carpet, the sand will actually cut the carpet fibers loose from the backing.
Upright vacuums are used in many restaurants because of their ease of use. Their beater headers loosen the dirt that sits in the carpet fibers and the vacuum draws the dirt away. Often, however, employees can't get an upright into tight places under tables. The solution is a backpack vacuum with a hose and changeable cleaning heads. The wide head is used for open spaces, a narrow head for in between chair and table legs, and a crevice attachment is used for cleaning banquettes and other surfaces with tight spaces.

When your customers deal with mobile equipment, sanitation can be a real problem. Often food gets spilled inside the carts, and then they sit for days before someone cleans them. The food has then dried and it will take a grill scraper to remove it. Recommend a pressure washer to keep carts clean and sanitary. In fact, pressure washing stations throughout an operation can contribute to improve sanitation. One manufacturer recently introduced a power washing system that makes it possible to install several plug-in remote stations around the kitchen and on the loading dock. The user dials up the appropriate cleaning cycle and can clean everything from food carts to all the surfaces of a steam kettle. The cleaning and sanitizing agents are stored in a central location. The cleaning wand and hose can be moved from station to station. It only takes 12 seconds to clear the lines when shifting from clean to rinse cycle.
Moist towelettes can contribute to sanitation when your customers serve in remote locations where there is no ready supply of water. The towelettes can be used to wipe up spills and to clean employees' hands when handling food. To help keep employees healthy, recommend a squeezeon antibacterial gel that helps to kill germs without soap and water.

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