The turning of the calendar is the perfect time to take a fresh look at your foodservice operation. Restaurants take a beating: weather, dirty shoes, grease and smoke in the air, all contribute to wear and tear. Dishes crack, menus stain and servers’ uniforms become tattered.
The old cliché that “you can’t see the forest for the trees” rings true for restaurant owners who are so close to their day-to-day business that obvious problems go unnoticed. The New Year is the perfect time to grab a clipboard and do a complete detailed walk around of your business. Pretend you are buying the business and look at every nook and cranny. Do not forget the exterior as signage, parking lots and wall paint all speak volumes to potential customers that drive or walk past.
Keep your place clean in order to build customers’ confidence. They will see that you care about the little things and know that you are taking care of the health and well-being of your restaurant. In these days of consumers’ food safety concerns, you cannot afford to have customers think that a lack of attention to your dining area or restrooms is a reflection of your kitchen’s cleanliness. They might conclude, if you are lax where they can see the results, how bad might it be where they can’t see?
In the dining room, check tables and chairs for gum, scratches and other debris. Check interior walls for scratches or rips in wall coverings and curtains. Shake every table and chair; it’s so annoying to sit on uneven chairs or at tables that rock.
Next are the bathrooms, the no. 1 reason customers don’t return is that the bathrooms are dirty. Go beyond cleaning, look at the towel dispensers, faucets, wall dividers between stalls. Are your mirror casings rusted? Do toilet paper dispensers need a shine? Daily cleaning generally does not address these areas. Repair, replace re-paint and bring back to opening day status.
In your storage areas, remove everything and clean the shelves. Look at light fixtures, fans and filters. Are your kickboards dirty from mopping? Look at the inside of refrigerators, are doors dented, seals cracked, is there dust in the fan units? Cleaning these will reduce energy use as well as freshen up.
Examine your glassware, dishes and cutlery. Are these worn? What about salt and pepper shakers? Sweetener caddies? Now is really the time to turn everything upside down and get military clean as if you have a pending inspection.
As a leading provider of compostable servingware, Bridge-Gate thinks about carry out. The cash register and host station are the main points of contacting. Are these areas clean, have you had the same mint dish for two years? Do you offer carry out utensils and napkins from dirty and worn receptacles?
Examine your carry out packaging. Are you still using foam or plastics? Consumers pay attention to the environment, are you doing the same? Do the colors of your carryout ensemble match?
The New Year is a good time to examine habits and policies. Stay in vogue with customers and work to win their business every day. Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2015.