Restaurant Cleaning: Front Versus Back of House

Jul 15, 2023 | Restaurant Cleaning

Each Different, Both Important

As a restaurant owner or manager, the cleanliness of your establishment ranks just as high as the food you serve and the way you treat your customers. For patrons, a spotless and well maintained restaurant is non-negotiable. From both a safety and customer satisfaction perspective, cleanliness is of utmost importance.

That said, to operate a successful restaurant one must understand the details that go into the various aspects of commercial restaurant cleaning. The cleaning methods for how the front of house and back of house areas are cleaned and maintained will differ.

How so?

Understanding the front of the house

If you’ve never owned or managed a restaurant before, it’s likely that you’ve spent most of your time in the front of the house. The front of house in a restaurant refers to the areas that are visible, accessible, and frequented by customers or guests.  This includes spaces where drinks and food are served and customers interact with restaurant staff. 

The front of the house is the public-facing part of the restaurant where guests partake in the dining experience and receive service. 

These areas typically include:

  • Entryway/waiting area: This includes the exterior, foyer, and host/hostess station. Depending on the size of the restaurant, this may include a large designated waiting area for guests to sit before their table is ready
  • Dining Area: Generally the largest part of the front of the house, this main seating area is where guests sit and enjoy their meals. The dining space includes tables, chairs, booths, and decorative elements
  • Bar Area: If the restaurant is big enough to have a bar, this space is part of the front of the house. A bar typically includes the counter, stools/seating, and other equipment related to the bar service.
  • Restrooms: Extremely important to the front of the house are the restroom facilities.

Back of the house basics

Conversely, much of the magic that guests enjoy in the front of the house originates in the back of the house. While the front of house is responsible for creating an enjoyable dining experience for customers, the back of house is focused on the “behind-the-scenes” operations of the restaurant. This means the areas where food prep, cooking, and storage, as well as administrative tasks are carried out.

By design, the back of the house in a restaurant is typically NOT in view of customers. 

Common areas that fall under the back of the house areas include:  

  • Kitchen: The delicious food that customers enjoy in the front of the house is prepped, cooked, and plated in this central area of the restaurant. Kitchens can be expansive, and can include various cooking stations, food preparation areas, stoves, grills, fryers, and more.
  • Food Storage: An important back of the house space is dedicated to storing all the supplies needed for the restaurants. Ingredients, cooking supplies, and perishable goods are kept in refrigerators, freezers, dry storage areas, coolers, cabinets, pantries, etc.
  • Dishwashing Area: Cleaning and sanitizing food service items like dishes, utensils, glassware, and more typically encompass sinks, dishwashers, and drying racks. 
  • Employee Break Areas: Most restaurants have a designated area for staff members to take breaks and store personal items. These spaces may be an entire break room or for smaller establishments might simply be lockers, cubbies, or seating areas for staff.
  • Office/Administrative Area: The area where administrative/operational  tasks like managing reservations, scheduling, and paperwork, are handled.

Commercial cleaning needs for both areas of the house 

While the front and back of the house in a restaurant differ in scope and responsibility, they are both crucial in the success of a restaurant. Each requires high level care when it comes to cleaning, maintenance, and attention to detail.  

Key areas of focus in the front of the house:

  • Cleaning and maintaining entryway and waiting areas
  • Dusting furniture, light fixtures, and decor
  • Sweeping, vacuuming, and mopping floors 
  • Wiping down and disinfecting surfaces like countertops, tables, bar area, seats, high chairs, condiments, etc.
  • Cleaning and disinfection of restrooms
  • Bar area including drink nozzles, ice trays, wells, taps, mixer containers, etc.
  • Glass, mirror, and window cleaning
  • Trash removal and disposal

Key areas of focus in the back of the house: 

Because most of the food is prepped, stored, and cooked in the back of the house, restaurant owners and managers must be super vigilant about food safety and hygiene standards. Adherence to proper regulations and protocol will ensure high-quality food and an elevated dining experience for patrons.

Additionally, commercially-cleaned and sanitized kitchens can prevent foodborne illness from common disease-causing germs like Salmonella, Campylobacter, pathogenic E Coli, and Listeria.

Back of house areas of importance include:

  • Thorough cleaning of floors, equipment, surfaces, food storage spaces, dishwashing spaces/receptacles, etc.—so much of the heavy lifting that requires the help of a commercial cleaning service happens here!
  • Ventilation system, including ducts and hoods—kitchen fires are more likely to be avoided when these areas areas are cleaned
  • Proper grease removal techniques
  • Trash and recycling removal and disposal
  • Cutting board maintenance
  • Break rooms/employee staff areas

Maintain ALL areas of your restaurant with the help of ABS

Maintaining the cleanliness of your restaurant is a task that requires your full attention. It’s not a one and done situation, and must be constantly monitored, controlled, and completed. 

The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone!

Here are ABS, we partner with restaurants in New York, Connecticut, and throughout the Tri State area to uphold the highest standards of cleanliness, disinfection, and hygiene. Your reputation is our top priority! We’ll work together to create a regular cleaning schedule and checklist and can train your team so that daily tasks can be tended to. 

Restaurant cleanliness depends on the right cleaning supplies and equipment and a reliable, trustworthy commercial cleaning team to get the job done right. Our fully insured, licensed, and trained staff will ensure that your restaurant’s needs are not just met, but exceeded. 

Connect with us today and let’s talk about ensuring 5-star cleanliness to go along with a 5-star dining experience in your restaurant!