Of the factors involved in running a restaurant there is one that outweighs all the others in importance: hygiene. Your establishment may offer superb cuisine, first-rate service, have a lively atmosphere and a hip reputation, but one visit from the Health Inspector that turns up an infestation of mice in the pantry or creeping mould behind the refrigerators will close you down faster than you can say Rentokil. Following a check-list of cleaning tasks will help you maintain the necessary standards of cleanliness to keep you in business.
The Food Standards Agency issues a comprehensive guide to hygiene. These are some of the points covered.

Cross Contamination

Personal hygiene must be maintained. Ensure that staff are trained to wash their hands before handling foodstuffs. Dirty hands are the major source of infection transfer. Clothing can carry bacteria, so clean work clothes must be changed into before shifts and never worn outside the premises. They should be long-sleeved, white or light-coloured to show up any dirt, and should preferably not have outside pockets. Aprons, either washable or disposable, are also advisable as they protect clothes from contamination. Long hair should be tied back or kept under hairnets. Jewellery and watches ought to be removed while working. Smoking, gum-chewing and eating while preparing food are forbidden.

Cloths should be disposable or hot-washed, disinfected and dried after use.

Different food types should be stored separately. Raw meat, poultry, eggs and fish should be kept below ready-to-eat foods if in the same refrigerator unit. Unwashed fruit and vegetables should be kept above them. Put defrosting items in an area away from other foods.

Keep all chemicals well away from food. Cover all foods when these are in use.

For pest control keep lids closed on bins. Inspect all deliveries for signs of pest damage.


Wash hands with hot water and soap; be sure to wash them all over and between the fingers.

Effective cleaning involves two stages: clean visible dirt away, then disinfect. Wash all equipment and surfaces between jobs and prioritise those areas and items most often used.

Staff should always clear and clean as they go.

Maintain a fixed cleaning schedule. Walk through the premises, checking off each item to be addressed.

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