Restaurant Cleaning Checklist: Tips for Food Business Hygiene

Following a cleaning checklist can improve the cleanliness of any food business and help maintain a consistent process and schedule.
January 7, 2021

Maintaining a high standard of cleanliness in restaurants is key to ensuring food safety and preventing food-borne illnesses. Food businesses in Canada are required to follow federal and provincial food safety laws, which include operating a safe and clean establishment. A clean restaurant will also satisfy customers and keep them coming back which means growing revenue and success.

Restaurant owners and managers can maintain a clean and hygienic 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). Use the following restaurant cleaning schedule to ensure a clean and compliant restaurant.

Restaurant Kitchen Cleaning Checklist

The kitchen of a restaurant is where the greatest food safety risks occur, so following a kitchen cleaning schedule is essential for food safety. Keeping the kitchen clean in a restaurant is not only necessary for preventing food contamination and food-borne illnesses, it’s the law. Food businesses can be inspected by local Health Inspectors at any time. Food businesses found not in compliance with food safety laws, such as not maintaining the cleaning and sanitizing of the 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
  • Sanitizing removes harmful pathogens from food contact surfaces. Sanitizing is performed after cleaning

Daily

Surfaces

  • clean and sanitize walls where food has splattered
  • clean and sanitize surfaces in food preparation areas
  • clean and sanitize food preparation sinks
  • sweep and mop the floors
  • sweep walk-in refrigerators
  • sweep storage areas
  • clean and sanitize inside and outside of garbage cans 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 sanitize 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 sanitize walk-in refrigerators and freezers
  • manually clean floor drains with drain cleaner
  • clean and sanitize inside and outside of garbage cans (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 cans 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 sanitize the coffee machine and expresso machine
  • empty, clean and sanitize the ice machine (every 6 months)
  • clean and sanitize the freezer
  • manually clean refrigerator coils
  • empty grease traps

Other items

  • Replace pest traps

Front-of-house Cleaning Checklist

It is important that the front-of-house is clean in order to provide 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. This is why using a cleaning checklist for a restaurant dining room (and other front-of-house areas) is so important.

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 sanitize door handles and railings
  • clean and sanitize access buttons / elevator buttons

Furniture

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

Restrooms

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

Other items

  • clean and sanitize condiments / salt and pepper shakers
  • wash cloth napkins, tablecloths, and aprons in washing machine
  • empty garbage cans
  • clean and sanitize garbage cans
  • clean and sanitize credit card machines
  • clean and sanitize 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 food business is a big endeavour, with many important tasks to do and regulations to follow. Having a clean and safe business is the top priority. Breaking down the cleaning tasks into daily, weekly and monthly lists makes them easy to implement and keep on top of. By using the restaurant cleaning checklist for both the kitchen and front-of-house, restaurant owners and managers can ensure they are running a hygienic and food safety compliant business.

Download and print off the CIFS Restaurant Cleaning Checklist for an even easier way to implement their restaurant cleaning schedule.