One thing I’ve learned being a baker for 20 plus years is that it’s important to clean everything down as soon as you’re done with it. If that means it waits until the end of the night, that’s fine, but it must be done the same day to save yourself a huge amount of time. The bakery has hundreds of pieces of equipment from the ovens, stovetops, vents, air ducts, hoods, and all the utensils that get dirty because they’re being used constantly throughout the day. Even if one piece of equipment isn’t currently running, particles from other bits of food and pastries float over and land right on it.
Think about how crazy the kitchen is during the day. Employees are running back and forth making 25 different pastries, cakes, cookies, burgers, bacon and more. That means the oven and heating elements are running constantly. All those fumes and vapors float up in the air and stick to everything they touch. Grease and residues begin to coat the vent hood and exhaust ducts. The importance of proper kitchen exhaust sanitizing cannot be understated because if it’s not done correctly it’s a fire hazard and an accident waiting to happen. We certainly can’t cook any meals for our customers if we burn the diner to the ground. So, it’s highly recommended to wash and rinse all the kitchen equipment down at the end of the day so it’s sparkling, fresh, and ready to go in the morning.
One of my favorite cleaning solutions for washing and rinsing cooking equipment is Simple Green Industrial Cleaner and Degreaser. It comes in 24 oz bottles and is perfect for removing grease and other residue that’s been baked onto the vents and ducts in your kitchen. The 5 gallon buckets are also available for purchase on websites like Amazon for around $50. That’s a small price to pay for fire prevention and healthy maintenance.
If you notice that the equipment is difficult to clean or you don’t have enough staff to help with it, call a professional in. Most hood cleaning companies schedule quarterly maintenance calls where they stop in for a day and sanitize everything for a small fee. Not only will this ensure a safer working environment for your staff, but it will also increase the likelihood that you pass your inspection with flying colors. No one wants to have the inspector come in and find a messy diner; that’s a recipe for a poor grade, which negatively impacts the number of customers that stop in your door. People see the letter grade on the window and decide whether to come in and eat based on that most times.