How did you picture that small cafe you’ve dreamed of running for years and now decided to take the plunge?
Was it a place where friends and co-workers could mix and mingle for business and pleasure? Did your cafe have a planned special theme or type of food and drink?
Whatever the answers, you will have researched thoroughly, perhaps done business start-up courses and drawn up a business plan.
Now you have the financing, found a great location and signed the lease you are no doubt stuck into the detail of setting up the place as you want it – both in the area where your customers will be and in the kitchen.
That means deciding on the best equipment you can afford, the layout and complying with all the Health and Safety (HSE) regulations some of which are listed here.
HSE advice is that you allow in layout of your kitchen for adequate maintenance, cleaning and/or disinfection to avoid or minimise air-borne contamination (i.e. contamination carried in the air) as well as providing enough working space to carry out all tasks hygienically
You also need to protect against the build-up of dirt, contact with toxic materials, shedding of particles into food and forming of condensation or mould on surfaces as well as contamination and, in particular, pest control.
Wash basins for cleaning hands should have hot and cold running water, materials for cleaning hands and for hygienic drying. Wash hand basins should preferably be fitted with lever, elbow, knee or automatic operation to avoid contamination.
Any windows opening directly into food preparation areas must be fitted with screens capable of resisting common flying insects.
Your kitchen may also have a ventilation system and over-cooker canopies for grease extraction through ducts and filters.
You may have included a daily cleaner in the budget but did you consider that all this equipment, ducting, screens and filtering would need to be regularly cleaned and maintained?
That’s not something that can be altogether kept under control by a daily cleaner.
Over time, even in the most well-managed of kitchens, dust and grease can build up in hard-to-reach corners and around the feet of work stations, cookers and refrigerators. Filters become clogged and duct systems accumulate a mixture of grease, dust, mould and become a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
Your overheads can also be affected by the build-up – adding to the energy costs if it isn’t working efficiently.
It makes sense, therefore to include a regular kitchen deep clean from a specialist service into your budget.
The best specialist companies will start from the top down, moving anything and everything to get into hard-to-manage corners and offer regular checking and cleaning out or replacing filters and keeping the air ducting clear as part of the service. Both are important not only for the system’s efficiency but also because they can become a fire hazard.
Most services will be flexible enough to work around the pattern of your cafe’s day to keep disruption to a minimum and if you include such a cleaning and maintenance system from the start you will have the peace of mind of both a clean, well-run establishment and the confidence that you have complied with all the public health, fire safety and other business regulations deep cleaning services