Tips for Cleaning and Setting a Table
It’s a crazy concept, but there are a lot of restaurants that don’t have a clue as to how to clean and set a table. It’s not just something that needs to be done at the beginning of every shift. It has to be done in between guests, too. One dirty table can prevent guests from ever coming back – or even staying for the meal they came in to have.
Below are some things to think about.
Clean the Table
The table is something that has to be clean. If you use linen, be ready to change the tablecloth between guests if needed. Not everyone is nice and tidy when they eat, and if gravy or something spills, your next guests shouldn’t be exposed. If you use butcher paper, change it after every set of guests. Otherwise, wipe the table down with a sanitizing solution, not just a wet rag.
Wipe Down Condiments
Whether it is just the salt and pepper shakers or there is ketchup, BBQ sauce, and other items, the bottles need to be wiped down. Many people will get the bottles all sticky and bussers don’t always think about wiping them down before they turn a table over.
Provide Clean Menus
There’s nothing worse than being given a menu that has dried food attached to it. Wipe down the menus as part of resetting the table. If they are kept at the host stand, then be sure it is being done there.
Clean Up Underneath
Tables and booths alike are susceptible to people dropping food, napkins, silverware, broken crayons from a kid’s menu and all sorts of other things. Train your bussers and servers to clean up under the table before making it ready for new guests. You may also want to have simple dust vacuums to help with the cleanup.
If you have a silverware rolling station, be sure that the silverware is being checked over before it is being placed on a napkin and rolled up. This will ensure you are able to discard any forks that are bent, any knives that may be loose within the tang, and clean up any that may still have bits of food still attached.
Create a Checklist
Particularly helpful when training new employees, you may want to create a checklist of what needs to be looked at prior to saying a table is “ready to go.” This way, everyone is on the same page as to what needs to be done. This should include cleaning the table, restocking any condiments, wiping down the chairs or booth, as well as resetting with any silverware, plates, and other items. No guest should have to flag their server down just to get a fork so they can eat their meal.
Put yourself in the shoes of a guest. It’s great if the tables look ready and are clean at the beginning of a shift, but you may turn tables over two, three, even five times through a single meal period. You want to make sure all guests are being exposed to the same level of clean.