A matter of routine

Related tags Publicans Kitchen

Spring cleaning originated back in the days of Chaucer when farmers didn't have the luxury of central heating. During the winter months they used to...

Spring cleaning originated back in the days of Chaucer when farmers didn't have the luxury of central heating. During the winter months they used to insulate their homes with layers of hay.

When the weather turned warmer at the end of March the hay was hauled outside, leaving behind a terrible mess and prompting the annual clean.

Thankfully, most publicans today appreciate that a strict cleaning rota needs to be adhered to on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, but there are still a number of cleaning and hygiene problems that are often overlooked by the daily routine and can build up.

While you might resort to an annual deep clean where there is heavy equipment to be shifted, such as in the kitchen, for the most part you should be trying to incorporate as much as possible into more frequent routines.

Through its daily contact with more than 12,000 customers, King UK, the country's leading wholesaler of cleaning and hygiene items to the licensed trade, has been able to identify some of the trickier problems publicans can face.

The kitchen

As far as the kitchen is concerned, it helps to think ahead. King's marketing manager, Malcolm Hoskin (pictured)​, says you can make major cleaning easier if you have cleaning in mind when you refurbish.

"You will need to move out fridges, cookers and other heavy items on a regular basis, so make sure this is easy to do," he said. "Ensure that you keep the floorspace free from clutter and heavy boxes and so on."

The toilets

"It is imperative that toilets and washroom areas shine," said Malcolm. "This can have an effect on staff morale as well as customer satisfaction.

"The majority of publicans recognise the importance of keeping washrooms sparkling but there are still many that are neglected.

"Untidy or indeed dirty washrooms will undoubtedly have a knock-on effect on drinks sales and even more so on food."

Chewing gum

About 3.5 billion pieces of chewing gum are consumed in the UK every year and you can be sure that quite a lot will end up under your tables, chairs and stools. "We would advise that you check daily or at least weekly for new additions and use a chemical remover," said Malcolm. "Otherwise be prepared to pay the dry cleaning bills!"

Graffiti

Any traces of graffiti should be cleaned away at the earliest opportunity. "Graffiti on tables and in washrooms can be offensive to customers and will give the impression that the proprietor does not hold the establishment's appearance in high regard," said Malcolm. "Graffiti remover should be used within 24 hours to deter further attacks."

Safety

One factor that is often ignored is the need for publicans to protect their cleaning staff and provide them with suitable training and protective clothing. Publicans should make available suitable gloves and strong clothing. A well-stocked first aid kit is a legal requirement along with adequate washing facilities.Publicans should also make sure that suitable bags and bins are available to contain dangerous waste such as broken glass and empty chemical containers.

Licensees reveal their biggest cleaning challenges

Pub kitchens are too small, the equipment is old and licensees face an on-going battle against grease.

That is the overwhelming cry of help from publicans who have entered the Flash Pubforce competition that has run on thepublican.com website over the past few months.

For the chance to win a free makeover for their kitchen, licensees were asked to name their biggest cleaning challenge. The results reveal a big struggle to keep things up to scratch and avoid the attentions of environmental health officers, especially at smaller tenanted and leased businesses.

Typical responses are:

"Old tiles... poor extraction causes lots of surface grease and needs wiping regularly."

"Ageing equipment looks bad, even though it is clean."

"Old equipment needs constant deep cleaning."

"Cleaning is an uphill battle. I'd love to have a spotless kitchen that looks like new."

Stainless steel surfaces also present a challenge, as does increasing demand from customers and growing food sales which put a particular hygiene pressure on small kitchens with few staff.

"The survey has identified some key issues that are a real concern for tenants and lessees," said Michael Impong, assistant brand manager at Proctor & Gamble Professional (P&G) which organises the competition in conjunction with the British Institute of Innkeeping.

"Publicans face a cocktail of difficulties that combines the small size of their kitchen with ageing equipment and grease all over the place.

"They are clearly saying to us they need help. From our point of view that doesn't mean being patronising, but being an understanding helper which can give them advice and the products that will do the job."

P&G food safety consultant Adrian Simpson says that publicans should "tackle the highest-risk areas first".

"Cross-contamination is one of the biggest risks. For example, e-coli and compylobacter, two of the biggest causes of food poisoning, are brought into food areas either on the food itself or on dirt.

"Effective hand-washing and the separation of utensils and surfaces will help, but using a combined cleaning and disinfecting agent - called a sanitiser - is the key preventing cross-contamination."

According to Michael Impong: "Licensees should be selective about what products they use. They mustn't be tempted to go for the latest gimmick."

He recommends that pubs stock just two or three products - a powerful and reliable degreaser, an anti-bacterial spray and something for general overall cleaning. The last two might be combined in the same product.

One of the prizes in the Flash Pubforce monthly competition is a year's free supply of a degreaser and a two-in-one anti-bacterial spray. The others are a training video, wallcharts and the kitchen makeover which, so far, four pubs have benefited from.

The winner for March is Laurel lessee Angela Facey of the White Horse at Husborne Crawley, Bedfordshire.

"I thought I'd be the only one who would be excited about the makeover but my regulars have all been trooping in to inspect the gleaming surfaces - and they've given it the thumbs up," she said.

The makeovers are carried out overnight to avoid interrupting the pub's food business and involve shifting equipment to reach the worst of the dirt.

In some pubs, cookers and fridges may have been in the same spot for years and P&G suggests that licensees make the effort to carry out their spring cleans once a year or at worst every other year.

There is still a chance to win a free makeover, however. The competition continues until June. Visit www.thepublican.com.

Great looks - and brains too

A sexy glass washer! You've got to be kidding. But that's exactly what supplier Winterhalter believes it has found in its new GS200 glass washers. Not only that, but apparently they think for themselves, too.

Created to sit happily alongside designer drinks chillers under the counter in a modern bar, the washers are front-opening and have built-in filters and water softeners yet are compact and can perform up to 48 washes an hour.

Among the design firsts, Winterhalter boasts a filter alarm which warns staff about a blockage with a blue flashing light, helping to a avoid a breakdown in a busy bar.

The "thinking" electronic controller in the machine also tells staff when it's finished, when it needs something, like detergent, and lets them know when something is wrong.

A dish washer version, the GS300 is also available.

Back-bars show their metal

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