The Ultimate Restaurant Kitchen Cleaning Checklist: COVID-19 Edition

Kitchen Cleaning Checklist: Whether it’s a customer’s first visit or their 20th, they trust a restaurant to provide them with food and beverage that is safe for consumption in a clean environment. 

With restaurants as a pillar of the hospitality industry, they faithfully fulfill their mission to provide quality sustenance and operate with care. Because of their consistent service, there’s pervasive consumer confidence in restaurants allowing patrons to eat without worry.

As a restaurant operator, you understand that preparing food in a clean and safe environment is fundamental for quality assurance. 

Bacteria has been the villain, but now Coronavirus takes center stage. This new emerging health concern causes service industry establishments everywhere to modify their cleaning practices. Let’s create a commercial kitchen cleaning checklist.

Best Practices to Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus

You may already be familiar with the WHO and CDC tips, but it’s helpful to keep these basics top-of-mind as you assist your staff and your customers in exercising caution.

Do The Five

To help humanity fight the spread, we must remember these five basic tips:

  1. Wash your hands: Handwashing is always encouraged in any food-related establishment, but with a virus going around it’s recommended to increase the frequency of handwashing and cleanse yourself of potential virus exposure.
  2. Cough into your elbow: Coronavirus is spread through droplets released into the air. Coughs expel these pathogens. So out of courtesy and caution, it’s best to cover your cough. Elbows make a better shield than your hands as we are likely to touch things afterward.
  3. Don’t touch your face: The more things you touch, the more likely you are to be picking up pathogens. When you touch your face you aid germs in getting into your system through mouth, nasal, and eye tissue.
  4. Keep your distance: Stay at least 3 feet away from others. Avoid forming clusters.
  5. Stay home: Encourage your customers and your staff to stay home if they feel sick.

Additional Safety Tips for Restaurants

  1. Handwashing schedule: Determine how many times each employee should wash their hands and facilitate this by allocating when this will happen. Make expectations clear of when they should stop and wash their hands.
  2. Disinfection: Implement a definitive cleaning routine to kill possible germs left on surfaces. Immediately clean up after employees and guests who err in following hygiene protocol.
  3. Cash handling: Encourage cashless transactions and have cashiers wear disposable gloves in case they touch currency. Gloves should be changed as needed.
  4. Ventilation: If possible, open doors and windows for better ventilation.
  5. Crowding mitigation: Most dining rooms are currently not seating patrons, but some may have lobbies open for order pickup. 
  • Have a definitive limit on how many people can be inside at a time. If your restaurant gets steady traffic, consider adding signs and markers on the floor to remind people about social distancing. 
  • Keep things organized by designating a counter area for your food runners like UberEats, GrubHub and Doordash.
  1. Transparent guards: Buffets have always had sneeze guards and now this barrier fixture is protecting essential workers. See-through panels allow workers at the counter to interact with customers but also be spared exposure to coughs, sneezes, etc.

Foodservice workers are already well versed in keeping things hygienic, but supplemental training helps keep everyone aware of our responsibility to be extra careful. This vigilance helps in planning a restaurant kitchen cleaning checklist schedule.

During and After Shifts

Keeping up with kitchen cleaning checklist during a business day keeps things orderly which is especially helpful during the busy times.

“High touch” areas like debit card pin pads, point of sale systems, door handles, countertops, railing, bathrooms, etc. are prone to collecting germs. Wipe them down routinely.

Also, encourage employees to wash their hands before and after their shifts. Laundering work clothes after each shift is also a good measure.


  • Regular wipe-downs of high-touch areas.
  • Encourage employees to keep themselves clean when showing up for work and also when going home for the day.

End of the Day

The shop is closed. Let’s get ready for tomorrow’s hungry customers.

  • Sweep, vacuum, and mop the floors of every used square foot including the service area, kitchen, pantry, walk-in refrigeration, restrooms, etc. Use disinfectant solutions for mopping. Don’t forget to sanitize the floor mats.
  • Wipe down the walls, windows, and doors.
  • Sanitize the washing stations and sinks.
  • Disinfect all countertops and prep area surfaces.
  • Conduct daily kitchen cleaning as normal, but use plenty of disinfectants.
  • Clean and disinfect all cooking surfaces and cooking appliances.
  • Launder any used cloth products like aprons using bleach or peroxide-based detergent. Use hot water or dry on high heat if possible.


Designate a day once per week for a deeper clean.

  • Deep clean service area, doors, and corners.
  • Deep clean the restrooms.
  • Deep clean cooking stations inside and out. (Don’t forget ovens, steamers, and a deep fryer boil out.)
  • Wash exteriors of other cooking equipment and refrigeration units.
  • Clean out floor and sink drains.
  • Apply lime-removing cleaner to faucets, sinks, spray heads, and coffee equipment.


Is it four weeks already? Let’s address the remaining peripheral tasks.

  • Deep clean the walls and ceilings.
  • Deep clean all refrigeration units according to maintenance directions.
  • Clean out exhaust hoods.
  • Powerwash floors and mats.
  • Anything else that hasn’t been cleaned lately.

Read More: How Restaurants Can Adjust for the Coronavirus Event

Come Together to Fight COVID-19

Your team has probably never before cleaned so much and so often but by using this kitchen cleaning checklist you are doing your part to keep everyone safe. Your efforts make a difference.

We at RCG ( want to recognize our frontline essential workers who make life better for their community by showing up daily to prepare and package meals. 

Because of you, people who can’t get what they need from the grocery store can still eat. Because of you, we can still eat our favorite comfort foods. Thank you for staying open!

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