When a bar is clean and easy to navigate, you’ll be more efficient and attentive when serving customers, which means better and faster service (and hopefully bigger tips!). Keeping your bar clean and organized can make for a less stressful work environment, but it is also the law. A dirty bar can be a health risk to the public and to your staff.
There are tons of helpful checklists and documents you can find online to help keep your cleaning schedule on track, but here are a few tips to help you get started!
Out of Sight, Out of Mind?
When getting started on cleaning your bar, pull out all your equipment and clean up the mess that has accumulated out of eyesight. While you might clean your floors often, it is hard to regularly get behind fridges, ovens, or the bar. Pull everything out and clean the walls and floor behind them. In the kitchen, grease can build up behind ovens quickly and lead to dangerous fires. Bugs like to find little bits of stuff that falls behind or under machinery. Be sure to wipe down all liquor bottles and clean any bar mirrors or other displays that may accumulate dust or dirt over time.
Get Creative with Deep Cleaning
Clean things that are often forgotten about:
- Light fixtures or ornaments
- Host station
- Employee bathroom and locker room
- All tabletop items like salt and pepper shakers or table tents
These are just the common items most often forgotten about, but the list could go on. When creating your deep cleaning list, look around your establishment and really think about what items could be trapping in dirt and germs, but might often be overlooked.
One task that is a given is cleaning all your fridges. It might seem like a laborious project but take the time to empty reach-in and walk-in coolers to thoroughly clean and sanitize them. Fully emptying the fridges is the only way to ensure they are fully clean. As you place the items back in the fridges, check the dates and dispose of expired items or rotate in things that need to go first.
Clean Draft Beer Lines
Cask and keg lines should be cleaned a minimum of every seven days. Regularly cleaning lines will help them last longer and will stop beer from becoming infected with outside bacteria and yeast. According to the Illinois Liquor Control Commission, each retailer dispensing draught beer or wine should have their equipment cleaned “at least once every week in some manner or means, either chemical or mechanical. The use of steam or hot water alone is not permissible.”
If you are unsure on best practices on cleaning your machines, reach out to your liquor distributor for advice. They should be able to point you in the right direction.
Create a Checklist: What Needs to Be Done When?
A daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning schedule for your bar ensures all areas are cleaned thoroughly on a regular basis. Some things need to be done several times every shift, such as: changing sanitizer water, wiping down bar tops, and taking out the trash. While some things need to be done every month, such as: removing all glassware and thoroughly cleaning the shelves or emptying and cleaning salt and pepper shakers.
Create or download a checklist to give your staff to guide them as they stock and clean the bar. Creating a plan allows your employees to know what needs to get done and when to help hold everyone accountable. A system in place gives everyone the opportunity to walk into an environment where it’s known what is expected of them. This efficient planning will also allow you to make an efficient strategy that won’t exhaust or overwhelm you or your staff.