Across the restaurant industry, it’s no secret that expectations for service, sustainability, and satisfaction are higher than ever. Restaurants are confronted with providing the best experiences possible, all while maintaining optimal revenue and efficiency.
Making your restaurant more organized can take a variety of forms, but one place to start is your hygiene workflow. Hygiene impacts both staff and guests and providing better hygiene has been proven to improve their experiences. Breaking up your workflow across front of house, back of house, and restrooms can help your staff confidently deliver a great meal and a memorable guest experience.
Front of House
The front of the house is the first part of your establishment that guests see. Hygiene can be the difference between turning a one-time visitor into a restaurant regular by creating an approachable, clean, and comfortable space. I recommend the following solutions to ensure your front of house is running efficiently:
1. Controlled dispensing systems reduce runouts and save time on refilling: For restaurants, necessities like soap and sanitizer dispensers can be unexpected time thieves. Taking just a few minutes every hour to refill dispensers occupies valuable time that employees could spend ensuring quality service in other parts of the restaurant. One-at-a-time and controlled dispensers can reduce waste and serve more guests between refills.
2. Provide hand sanitizer in convenient and visible locations: Having hand sanitizer available in convenient and visible locations demonstrates your commitment to guest and employee hygiene. Consider using a combination of refillable, sensor-controlled dispensers and free-standing pump bottles to maximize the efficiency of sanitizing products in your restaurant.
3. Use responsibly sourced products to demonstrate your environmental commitments: It is clear that customers are increasingly conscious of restaurants’ environmental impact—a recent study even found that 43 percent of customers are willing to pay more for takeout from restaurants that have visible sustainability practices. Implementing sustainable hygiene practices—like using wipers made from recycled materials or controlled dispensers that reduce waste—reinforces your dedication to helping the planet.
Back of House
What goes into an unforgettable meal? The best restaurants know that it comes from more than just good ingredients. Having efficient workflow systems in place can help keep you serving—more, faster, and better. Here are my tips for back of house:
1. Use versatile and convenient products that have multiple cleaning functions to save time: Cleaning often takes up a significant amount of the day for restaurant employees, which can hinder performance elsewhere. Using simplified and versatile cleaning products – like an absorbent cloth that also has scrubbing capabilities – can save employees time and streamline hygiene solutions for maximum efficiency and cleanliness.
2. Replace rags or textile cloths with disposable cleaning cloths to improve hygiene and reduce laundry: Relying on rags not only creates more laundry for restaurant operators, but it also increases the risk of contamination in and out of the kitchen. Differences in sizing, material, and quality make rags an unreliable hygiene tool, whereas disposable cleaning cloths are consistent in these factors and in performance.
3. Divide your restaurant into color coded zones according to cross-contamination risks: To mitigate the risk of germs and illness, operators should assign a color to each zone of the kitchen and commit to using only the color coded equipment in that station. It’s important to never move tools between zones and always wash hands – drying with a paper hand towel to minimize germ transfer – when changing workstations.
One factor that influences restaurant guest satisfaction is the cleanliness of the restrooms. An unkept bathroom could potentially hinder guest experience and lead to negative reviews of your establishment. Keep these restroom-specific hygiene efficiency tips in mind to improve guest experience throughout the whole restaurant:
1. Avoid service interruptions with dispensers that are quick and easy to fill: Just like in the front of house, empty dispensers in your restrooms can lead to unhappy guests. Making sure your dispensers are quick and easy to refill can minimize the encounters guests have with empty toilet paper, hand towel, or sanitizer dispensers, which will help your staff move and work more efficiently – especially during busy times.
2. Make the switch from air dryers to hand towels: Much of the germ transfer in a restaurant occurs in the restroom, where germs can spread despite basic hygiene practices. Research shows that jet air dryers can spread 10x more airborne bacteria than hand towels, a fact that has caused 68 percent of survey respondents to agree that facilities should offer paper hand towels as an alternative to air dryers. Hand towels also provide a multi-purpose hygiene solution, as 73 percent of respondents use paper hand towels to avoid touching different surfaces in public restrooms.
3. Adopt a cohesive and coordinated look: Beyond the functional benefits, a uniform restroom design lets guests know that you care as much about their restroom experience as you do about their front of house experience. As the saying goes, guests infer what happens in the kitchen from what they experience in the restroom. A clean, thoughtfully designed, and fully stocked restroom reinforces the great experience you’re providing in the front and back of house. Just as guests carefully coordinate their own home’s bathroom amenities, they expect to see these things away from home as well.
As the pressure to provide great experiences for guests continues to mount, restaurant operators are faced with maximizing guest experience without sacrificing restaurant efficiency. Emphasizing hygiene throughout your restaurant – with the understanding that each space has its own requirements and strategies – will ensure that guest satisfaction remains a priority in your establishment, all while serving great meals.