Front of House vs. Back of House Cleaning in Restaurants

front-of-house vs back-of-house cleaning differences at restaurants

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General Restaurant Cleaning

In the restaurant industry, keeping things clean isn’t just about making things look nice – it’s a necessity for keeping everyone safe and happy. Whether it’s where you eat your food or where the chefs cook it up, cleanliness matters a lot. So, in this blog post, we’ll talk about why cleaning in restaurants is such a big deal and why it’s key to making sure customers enjoy their meals.

In restaurants, there are two main areas that need cleaning: the front where customers hang out (we call it the front of house or FOH) and the back where all the cooking and prep happens (that’s the back of house or BOH). While both areas need a good scrubbing, they’re different in what needs to be cleaned and how it’s done. Let’s dive into the unique cleaning needs and processes for each area.

Front of House (FOH) Cleaning

restaurant front of house example
The front of house (FOH) area in a restaurant includes all the spaces where customers interact and hang out. This typically encompasses the dining areas where guests enjoy their meals, the bar where they order drinks, reception areas where they check in or make reservations, and any other customer-facing spaces like waiting areas or outdoor seating. Essentially, it’s where the magic happens from a customer’s perspective, and keeping it clean and inviting is crucial for creating a positive dining experience.

Importance of Cleanliness in the Restaurant’s FOH

Cleanliness in the front of house (FOH) area is absolutely essential for creating a positive impression on guests and enhancing the overall dining experience.

When customers walk into a restaurant, the first thing they notice is the cleanliness and appearance of the FOH. Cleanliness contributes to a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere, encouraging guests to relax and enjoy their meal. It sets the stage for a memorable dining experience, where customers can focus on savoring delicious food and engaging in enjoyable conversations without distractions.

A clean and well-maintained dining area, bar, and reception space instantly signal to guests that the restaurant cares about their experience and takes pride in its presentation. Guests are more likely to return and recommend the restaurant to others if they have a pleasant and hygienic dining experience. On the other hand, a dirty or unkempt FOH can leave a lasting negative impression, leading to lost business and a tarnished reputation.

Overall, maintaining cleanliness in the front of house is not just about aesthetics – it’s about creating a welcoming environment where guests feel valued and appreciated, ultimately contributing to the success and longevity of the restaurant.

Suggested Cleaning Tasks for the Front-of-House

  1. Wiping and Sanitizing Surfaces:
    – Regularly wipe and sanitize tables, chairs, and other surfaces using disinfectant cleaners.
    – Pay special attention to high-touch areas such as tabletops, chair backs, and armrests to ensure thorough sanitation.

  2. Sweeping, Vacuuming, and Mopping Floors:
    – Sweep and vacuum floors to remove dirt, debris, and food crumbs.
    – Mop floors with a suitable cleaner to ensure they are clean and free of spills or stains.
    – Pay attention to corners and hard-to-reach areas to maintain overall cleanliness.

  3. Cleaning Windows, Mirrors, and Glass Surfaces:
    – Clean windows, mirrors, and glass surfaces using a streak-free glass cleaner and lint-free cloth.
    – Ensure all glass surfaces are free of fingerprints, smudges, and water spots to maintain a polished appearance.

  4. Restocking Supplies:
    – Regularly check and restock supplies such as napkins, condiments, and utensils to ensure they are readily available for guests.
    – Monitor inventory levels and replenish supplies as needed throughout the day to prevent shortages during peak hours.

Recommended 7 FOH Places To Always Clean (VIDEO)

Back of House (BOH) Cleaning

restaurants back of house example

The back of house (BOH) area in a restaurant encompasses all the spaces that are not directly visible to customers. This includes the kitchen where food is prepared, cooking equipment is located, and culinary staff work. Additionally, the BOH includes prep areas where ingredients are stored and prepared for cooking, dishwashing stations where dishes and utensils are cleaned and sanitized, storage areas for food, supplies, and equipment, as well as employee facilities such as break rooms, lockers, and restrooms. Essentially, the back of house is where the behind-the-scenes magic happens to ensure the smooth operation of the restaurant.

Importance of Cleanliness in the Restaurant’s BOH

Maintaining cleanliness in the back of house (BOH) area of a restaurant is crucial for several reasons, with food safety being of utmost importance.

A clean BOH environment is essential for preventing foodborne illnesses and ensuring the safety of both customers and staff. By adhering to rigorous cleaning protocols, restaurants can minimize the risk of contamination and uphold high standards of hygiene in food preparation and storage areas.

Furthermore, cleanliness in the BOH is crucial for preventing cross-contamination, where harmful bacteria or allergens from one food item are transferred to another. Proper sanitation practices, including thorough cleaning of surfaces, equipment, and utensils, help mitigate the risk of cross-contamination and safeguard the integrity of the food being prepared.

Maintaining a clean BOH is essential for complying with health regulations and industry standards. Health authorities impose strict guidelines on cleanliness and sanitation in commercial kitchens to protect public health. By adhering to these regulations and implementing effective cleaning procedures, restaurants demonstrate their commitment to food safety and uphold their reputation as trustworthy establishments.

In summary, cleanliness in the back of house plays a critical role in ensuring food safety, preventing cross-contamination, and maintaining compliance with health regulations. By prioritizing cleanliness and hygiene in the BOH area, restaurants can create a safe and sanitary environment for food preparation, ultimately fostering trust and confidence among customers.

Suggested Cleaning Tasks for the Back-of-House

  1. Cleaning and Sanitizing Kitchen Equipment, Countertops, and Prep Surfaces:
    – Regularly clean and sanitize kitchen equipment such as stoves, ovens, grills, and fryers to remove food residue and bacteria.
    – Thoroughly wipe down countertops, cutting boards, and prep surfaces with a food-safe disinfectant to prevent cross-contamination.
    – Pay special attention to areas where food particles can accumulate, such as crevices and edges of equipment, to ensure thorough sanitation.

  2. Washing Dishes, Pots, Pans, and Utensils:
    – Wash dishes, pots, pans, and utensils in hot, soapy water to remove grease, food particles, and bacteria.
    – Rinse items thoroughly to remove soap residue, then sanitize them using a commercial sanitizer or a bleach solution to kill harmful bacteria.
    – Air dry or use a clean towel to dry dishes, ensuring they are completely dry before storage to prevent bacterial growth.

  3. Emptying and Sanitizing Trash Bins and Compost Containers:
    – Regularly empty trash bins and compost containers to prevent odors and bacterial growth.
    – Clean and sanitize trash bins and compost containers using a disinfectant cleaner to eliminate bacteria and reduce the risk of contamination.
    – Replace liners as needed and ensure proper disposal of waste according to local regulations and guidelines.

  4. Sweeping, Mopping, and Degreasing Floors:
    – Sweep floors to remove debris, food crumbs, and spills, paying attention to corners and hard-to-reach areas.
    – Mop floors with a degreaser or cleaner to remove grease buildup and food stains, focusing on high-traffic areas and kitchen entrances.
    – Degrease floors using a suitable degreasing agent to remove stubborn grease and grime, especially in cooking and prep areas.

Key Differences

Differences in Cleaning FOH and BOH

Level of Customer Interaction and Visibility

(1) FOH: In the front of house (FOH), cleaning is conducted in areas highly visible to customers. Cleaning must be done discreetly and efficiently to avoid disrupting the dining experience.
(2) BOH: In the back of house (BOH), cleaning takes place in areas not visible to customers, allowing for more flexibility and thoroughness in cleaning processes.

Types of Surfaces and Materials Encountered

(1) FOH: Surfaces in the FOH, such as tables, chairs, and bar counters, are typically made of materials like wood, metal, or laminate, requiring gentle cleaning methods to avoid damage.
(2) BOH: Surfaces in the BOH, such as stainless steel counters, cooking equipment, and tile floors, are often more durable and resistant to harsh cleaning chemicals.

Frequency and Intensity of Cleaning Required

(1) FOH: Cleaning in the FOH is typically performed throughout operating hours to maintain a presentable appearance for customers. It involves frequent spot cleaning and touch-ups to address spills and messes promptly.
(2) BOH: Cleaning in the BOH may involve less frequent but more intensive cleaning sessions, including deep cleaning of equipment and thorough sanitization of surfaces to ensure food safety and compliance with health regulations.

Best Practices and Tips

Establishing a Cleaning Schedule and Checklist

  • Create a cleaning schedule that outlines daily, weekly, and monthly tasks for both FOH and BOH areas.
  • Develop a comprehensive checklist for each area to ensure that all cleaning tasks are completed consistently and thoroughly.
  • Assign specific cleaning responsibilities to staff members and hold them accountable for maintaining cleanliness standards.

Using Appropriate Cleaning Products and Tools

  • Use cleaning products that are suitable for the surfaces and materials encountered in each area, such as wood, stainless steel, or tile.
  • Provide staff with the necessary cleaning tools, including microfiber cloths, mops, scrub brushes, and sanitizing solutions.
  • Train employees on the proper use and application of cleaning products to ensure effective results and prevent damage to surfaces.

Training Staff on Proper Cleaning Techniques and Hygiene Practices

  • Conduct regular training sessions to educate staff on proper cleaning techniques, including how to safely handle cleaning chemicals and equipment.
  • Emphasize the importance of personal hygiene practices, such as handwashing and wearing gloves, to prevent cross-contamination and ensure food safety.
  • Encourage open communication and feedback from staff regarding cleaning procedures and any areas that may require additional attention.

Investing in Professional Cleaning Services

  • Consider hiring professional restaurant cleaning services for deep cleaning and specialized tasks, such as carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning, and kitchen exhaust hood cleaning.
  • Partner with reputable cleaning companies that have experience in the restaurant industry and adhere to strict cleanliness standards and regulations.
  • Schedule regular inspections and audits to ensure that cleaning services meet quality standards and address any areas of concern effectively.
By implementing these best practices and tips, restaurants can maintain a clean, safe, and hygienic environment in both the front of house (FOH) and back of house (BOH) areas, enhancing the overall dining experience for customers and promoting a positive reputation for the establishment.
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