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Hiring a Cleaning Service for Your Restaurant

Hiring a Cleaning Service for Your Restaurant

Last updated on 3/20/2020

Restaurant cleaning services can be a helpful addition to those who may be short on time or looking to ease the workload of their staff. A clean restaurant creates an inviting atmosphere, safer working conditions, and can help reduce the risk of cross-contamination.

Commercial cleaning services that cater to the restaurant industry can be well-equipped to thoroughly sanitize and degrease high-volume kitchens and keep other areas in your restaurant looking good. Below are some helpful hints and tips for hiring the right professional cleaning service to fit your budget and needs.

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Importance of Keeping Your Restaurant Clean

cleaning toilets

As you consider whether or not an outside service is right for you, keep in mind why it’s so important to keep your restaurant clean:

  • Prevent the spread of infectious disease: Maintaining a regular cleaning and sanitizing schedule can help keep infectious diseases like coronavirus, norovirus, and influenza from spreading to your staff and customers.
  • First impressions: If the front-of-house areas in your restaurant appear to be dirty, customers are likely to assume the rest of your restaurant is dirty or unsanitary as well. A bad first impression of an unclean area can make customers leave your restaurant without even trying your food.
  • Health inspections: Unsanitary preparation and service areas can quickly lead to hazardous bacteria growth, which is something no health inspector wants to see. Keeping your restaurant cleaned and sanitized can prevent your business from losing points on your next health inspection.
  • Respect from employees: If you don’t offer your employees a clean, comfortable working environment, it can quickly breed complacency, hostility, and a lack of respect for you and your business.
  • Cross-contamination: If your hoods aren’t degreased or surfaces swept for food particles, contaminants can easily get into the food you’re preparing and serving to customers.

Limitations and Benefits of Hiring a Cleaning Service

Before you dive into hiring a cleaning service for your restaurant, there are a few advantages and limitations to consider.

Typically work off-hours
Will clean as much (or as little) and as often as desired
Availability of services
Will take the burden of cleaning off of your staff
Potential staff complacency

Cleaning services that are accustomed to working with restaurants can often accommodate your business’s schedule and individual cleaning needs. Flexible options can include limited services such as surface cleaning a few rooms in your restaurant or doing a full, deep clean of the entire premise every month. While surface cleaning could take your staff hours to complete, hiring a cleaning surface can significantly reduce that burden.

Alternatively, cleaning services can be costly depending on your restaurant’s size, how many rooms you want cleaned, and how often you want a cleaning service to come. Depending on where you are, you may be limited to how many commercial services are available to you. Additionally, not holding staff members accountable for cleaning their space has the potential to cause laziness and complacency amongst employees.

Considerations Before Hiring a Cleaning Service

Below are a few additional considerations to think about before you choose to hire a cleaning service for your restaurant.

Does Your Budget Allow for a Cleaning Service?

You need to be sure your business can take on the financial considerations of hiring a cleaning service. Consulting your restaurant’s profit and loss reports will give you significant insight into the financial health of your restaurant. This should be the starting point when considering bringing on a new service.

How much you need to devote to spending on a cleaning service will vary greatly. To reduce costs, you can opt for less frequent cleanings, equip the cleaning staff with your own tools and cleaners, and request a smaller square footage area be cleaned.

How Much Does a Restaurant Cleaning Service Cost?

Cleaning services typically charge by the square foot or hour. For light cleaning, or surface cleaning, you can expect to spend around $50 an hour for a commercial cleaning service. For more specialized cleaning, especially in kitchen areas where surfaces need to be degreased and sanitized, expect a pricetag closer to $100 an hour.

Exact prices will depend greatly on a few factors including:

  • Your location
  • Number of people needed to clean
  • Specialty cleaning such as kitchen equipment, carpets, or windows
  • Restaurant size

How Often and What Types of Services Do You Need?

mopping the floors

Customize the frequency of your cleaning services to best fit your businesses needs and budget. Do you need daily light cleaning, such as vacuuming, dusting, and cleaning of windows and doors? Or are you looking for a heavier, deep cleaning of your kitchen, stripping and waxing of your floors, or shampooing of your carpet?

Understanding the types of services you’re looking for and how often you’d like to receive them is an important step to take before you begin reaching out to professionals. Know what exactly you expect of them, and look for those options within the companies you find.

What Areas in Your Restaurant Do You Want to Be Cleaned?

You don’t have to use a professional cleaning service to keep your entire restaurant clean. If you’d prefer to have trained members of your staff take care of the kitchen, that’s totally fine. Map out your entire space and decide based on your budget and the types of services you need done what areas you’re interested in having professionally cleaned.

Potential restaurant cleaning service companies are going to want to know from the start what areas of your restaurant they’re expected to clean. Areas to consider include:

  • Kitchen
  • Bathroom
  • Lobby
  • Dining room
  • Behind the bar
  • Manager’s office
  • Break room

Types of Cleaning Services for Your Restaurant

Here are a few common services commercial cleaning companies can provide that you may want to consider.

Dining room and lobby:

  • Window cleaning
  • Wash down walls
  • Vacuum, sweep, and/or mop the floors
  • Dust corners, hard surfaces, and light fixtures
  • Sanitize tabletops
  • Clean out crevices in chairs and booths

Kitchen area:

  • Sweeping and mopping floors, including those in dry storage areas or walk-ins
  • Sanitize all countertops and metal surfaces
  • Wash down and remove food particles from tops and sides of equipment
  • Wash the walls
  • Taking out the trash
  • Degrease exhaust hoods and fans
  • Deep clean equipment including ovens, stoves, broilers, and fryers
  • Clean out any filters on equipment


  • Sweeping and mopping floors
  • Removing trash from bins
  • Restocking paper products and soap
  • Sanitizing and deep cleaning surfaces including toilets, countertops, and sinks

It’s important to come up with a specific list such as those above when working with an outside company. Outlining individual tasks and expectations will help you understand and nail down the specifics of what you’re paying for when hiring a cleaning service.

Choosing a Restaurant Cleaning Service

Once you determine that restaurant cleaning services may be for you, you'll want to start looking for potential service companies in your area. Aside from doing a few Google searches on cleaning services, consider checking out local business directories or ask around to other business owners for recommendations.

Interviewing Cleaning Services

Interviewing several services may seem like a daunting process, but you must remember how important this service is to your restaurant. The cleanliness of your business provides an immediate impact on your customers’ impression of your brand.

Remember that while those cleaning your restaurant work for a separate entity, the employees that the restaurant cleaning service sends into your establishment will be representing your company while in your restaurant. Therefore, making sure that they are up to your standards is going to be key during the interview process. If employees of this outside company do a poor job at your restaurant, it’s your customers who will notice.

Sample Interview Questions to Ask

Here are a few sample questions to ask when interviewing a potential cleaning service:

  • How long have you been in operation?
  • Do you have any other clients we may contact for testimonies?
  • Who will be doing the cleaning? Will it be the same person(s) every time?
  • What experience does your staff have in cleaning restaurants? Back-of-the-house, front-of-the-house, restrooms, etc.?
  • Is your business certified by any agencies?

Liability and Legal Issues When Hiring a Cleaning Service

To protect your restaurant from liability and legal issues, make sure the companies you are considering have all the necessary certifications and insurances needed to work inside your establishment. During the interview process, you can research or ask your potential company about their Better Business Bureau rating. Additionally, you should look for companies with certifications by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration.

You may want to make sure that the staff from the restaurant cleaning service is reputable. If possible, you will want to request that the same staff cleans your restaurant each time so that you get a consistent, reliable cleaning from people you can trust.

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Hiring a cleaning service for your restaurant can provide an immense amount of relief for you and your staff. Having professionals keep your business clean can free up your own time to focus on food preparation, marketing, and building a loyal customer base. With a little research and the right questions, you can feel adequately prepared to find the right restaurant cleaning service for you and your business.

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