Clean and simple: a series of blogs from Cleanline expert Rod Hale.
We asked our Cleanline expert ‘how can caterers keep their operation safe, efficient and appealing to customers during the busy Christmas period?’
And here’s what he told us…
Whether you work in a restaurant, cafe, school, or hotel, catering for everyone at Christmas is one of the most challenging, and yet rewarding times of the year. Catering establishments are often at capacity during the festive period, and due to the increased number of guests, everything suddenly becomes that little bit more pressurised and stressful. A lot of the stress is down to timing; you have to plan well ahead to ensure all dishes are cooked and presented to a high standard, that they stay warm and reach the customer in a reasonable time. Have you remembered all the little things that are normally insignificant – like extra-large tin foil, something big enough to cook your seasonal meats in, candles, napkins, crackers, tablecloths, seasonal sauces…? In catering and hospitality this is a key time of the year when people get together, and what you really want is for people to say nice things about your establishment to their friends. In particular if you’re a restaurant, hotel, café or pub looking to build, maintain, refresh or even restore your reputation; you want people to come back again.
I think everyone would agree that first impressions are crucial. In winter, the days are short, we’re in a permanent twilight and its cold and wet, it’s natural for us to be drawn to the security of a warm, cosy, comforting fire lit cave. And that’s the way we decorate our bars, lounges and dining rooms; dark, beguiling and close. First impressions are all about log fires, evergreens and candles; flickering, glinting, twinkling lights and decorations. It’s all about reflections. But there’s a problem with reflections – in a dirty surface you can’t get one!
Front of house and bar managers, take a new look. Get out your Cleanline Glass and Stainless Steel Cleaner, take some blue centrefeed paper and make sure that the mirrors behind the bar, the framed pictures and the windows are not just shiny, but dazzling! Grab a bottle of Cleanline Furniture Polish and burnish your lovely old natural wood tables and chairs to a soft, deep, glowing lustre. If you want to make sure that your beer and wine glasses are as sparkly as the baubles on the tree check that the glass washer has enough Cleanline Machine Glasswash Detergent and Rinse Aid to give them the finish you need.
Just as important is what goes on at the back of house. The kitchen will be working at full capacity and that means that a small mishap can have major consequences. For example, if someone carrying a pan of water bumps into somebody carrying a tray of hot fat and a slop of both falls onto the floor, even with safety shoes this lethal mix is one of the most slippery surfaces and has to be cleared up immediately, before there’s a serious accident. During busy times like this make sure you’ve got a bucket and mop close by, teamed with Cleanline Heavy Duty Degreaser, so that the powerful alkaline solution can get to work straight away and start dissolving the fats, oils and proteins that have turned the floor into an ice skating rink.
After all that prepping and meticulous cooking you’d think that no chef would dream of sending out an iconic Christmas dish on a dirty plate – but in the rush of serving it can often happen. If the dishwasher has been going flat out all day, what’s in its wash tank is more akin to vegetable soup than the solution that’s supposed to be doing the cleaning. So make sure that during quieter moments the dishwasher nozzles are cleared of food debris, and be sure to start the session with a clean tank of water. Make sure that the detergent and rinse aid are actually going into the machine – there should be using around three times as much detergent as rinse aid.
There are a lot of students working in kitchens at this time of year; they may be temporary, but they still need to be trained. If you’re a Cleanline customer put them through the online COSHH training on the Cleanline e-learning website. Once the training has been completed, you can print off their personalised certificate. Point out the Cleanline laminated hygiene wall chart so that they know how to dilute and apply the products, show them where the first aid kit is, where the hand wash basins are and where the safety data sheets are kept. Finally, before the big clean-down at the end of the shift, make sure they’re aware of the Food Standards Agency’s guidelines for a two stage clean – two separate jobs: Clean first and sanitise second.