Matthew Gregson, Director of Operations at Fluid Hygiene discusses industry challenges and best practice in the sector.
Restaurants emphasise customer service and therefore require a significant amount of labour to operate efficiently. Meeting commercial cleaning demands for bars and restaurants requires service and expertise on many levels: As a result of Fluid Hygiene’s 20 years of meticulous service and attention to detail, its name has become synonymous with being a leading supplier of cleaning services to high street brands and some of the biggest names in the UK hospitality sector.
An Extract of the full article appears in Casual Dining Magazine
Q. How important is it to diners that a restaurant is visibly clean, and how can teams keep on top of this, especially during busy service when tables turn quickly?
A recent Food Standard Agency survey indicated that 65% of customers rated cleanliness and hygiene as deciding factor in choosing a restaurant, so we know that a restaurant looking clean consistently is very important. During busy service periods in-house staff need to ensure that the customer experience is as it should be. Being busy is no excuse for poor hygiene in the eyes of the customer. But by using a cleaning contractor like Fluid, restaurants know that they have a head start on being clean and staying clean on a daily basis. The use of a standard checklist of in-service cleaning for staff and training, is an easy way to encourage a healthy routine, as everyone knows what is expected is recommended.
Q. Should cleaning jobs be contracted in, or is it best for front and back-of-house teams to get involved?
Absolutely, leave the cleaning to the cleaning professionals. Contract cleaning services like Fluid provide a good start daily for the restaurant. Staff keep this up as much as they can, but they can’t rely on staff who were recruited to serve customers to have the same skills and attention to detail for cleaning as a those that do this as a trade. It’s not uncommon to hear about restaurants that have taken cleaning in-house after using external contractors which then results in an increase in staff turnover! So it is not just an issue of customer experience, but also about retaining staff. In our experience, restaurant staff never want to clean pre or post-shift, therefore corners are continuously cut.
Commercial cleaning requires professional awareness of hygiene including awareness of health and safety guidelines, Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) and correct use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). We encourage our supervisors to work closely with their frontline contract cleaning teams to keep lines of communication open at all times. Our experience is that clients find daily communication critical in our communication and processes (and rare to our industry) so we have developed several means of keeping in constant contact with front and back of house teams. The company’s national team of over 700 cleaners is unique to the market: Directly employed and trained internally, clients benefit from real time updates, using CleanLink a software system developed by Fluid Hygiene to fit clients’ needs. Data sent via mobile iPad technology provides clients with real time status and feedback from site. This comprehensive service is backed up with a dedicated 24 hour help desk. The payback for clients a consistent level of service from experienced cleaning operatives who know the building and business requirements. This process is constantly monitored, ensuring business continuity and legislative compliance, providing our clients with an added peace of mind.
Q. Is there a particular way that operators should approach training individuals in cleaning and hygiene and how best should a rota be drawn up?
Yes, training individuals should not be left to chance. Anyone hiring or training cleaning staff need to be armed with enough knowledge to undertake that task. This could mean having full knowledge of the statutory requirements, or understanding what the public health risks are and restaurant responsibilities. Expert cleaning does have cost and time resource benefits, but there are definitely things which companies can do in-house to make things easier for their staff such as drawing up daily, weekly and monthly cleaning rotas and getting the work audited or checked off. This makes life easier to meet statutory requirements and makes life easier for professionals who can see what has been done and when.
However, when cleaning is contracted out, Fluid will manage all the recruitment, training, standards (through audits), stock management etc. We pride ourselves on bespoke planning, development and execution of our services. Our accreditation as SAFE Contractor Membership of the British Institute of Cleaning Science, QMS and Quality Mgt certified to ISO 9001 ensures our service based around best practice. We know that by investing in our people, we can deliver the highest levels of service available whilst keeping our resourcing and recruitment costs down. All of our staff undergo a detailed training programme at our own training school so that they are familiar with particular industry challenges in addition to relevant health and safety legislation. Fluid Hygiene provides transparency and control via reactive daily on-line feedback and weekly manager feedback, as well as regular audits through a monthly summary and quarterly site visits.
Q. What would be your top tips for operators on when approaching cleaning and hygiene?
Company practices are increasingly being scrutinized by customers and legislation. In an age where sustainable business practices and emphasis on staff being paid a minimum wage or in some cases a living wage, is becoming a more of a business requirement, choosing an ethical cleaning service provider is increasingly important. This is more than paying lip service to the industry, we are one of the few cleaning companies that are protected by public liability insurance for £10m and retain staff that are valued provide consistent quality service in turn.
Our top tips would be:
· Never scrimp or simply just ask your supplier to unrealistically cut prices – you cut, your supplier will have to do likewise. The cheapest option is not always the best!
· See quality cleaning as an investment not as a cost. To expand their lifespan, look after and maintain your fixtures & fittings.
· Be clear with requirements and thorough with due diligence – it is vital in this age of legislation.
The cleaning contractor of choice
Fluid has been the cleaning contractor of choice for Italian restaurant chain, Carluccio’s, for more than a decade. The chain of over 80 restaurants in the UK, has an on-going demand for maintaining high standards of hygiene, both in front of house and in the kitchen.
The contract encompasses cleaning each front of house daily, deep kitchen cleans quarterly, plus specialist jet washes of outdoor parasols for the restaurants that cater for over 150,000 customers each week.
The restaurants’ daily cleaning routine is a priority for Carluccio’s and part of it’s service commitment to customers. Fluid Hygiene’s local management teams deal directly with any cleaning issues or concerns on a daily basis and with the use of innovative technology, which allows staff to give direct feedback from individual sites on the quality of the service.
We have developed a good working relationship with Fluid Hygiene, a business partner with whom we have grown with for over ten years. We value the team’s rapid response management of our chain that provide cost effective practical solutions, delivering daily results. This is a key factor in a providing a positive experience to our customers, Says Chris Poole, Regional Operations Director, Carluccio’s UK
Providing peace of mind
Fluid Hygiene has specialist kitchen cleaning teams that provide quick and effective cleans to a range of caterer’s needs, ensuring business continuity. Quarterly kitchen deep cleans of all restaurants in the chain involve specialist cleaning products and equipment, such as pressure washers and steam cleaners, to ensure a visually and hygienically clean result for kitchen fittings and fixtures. This regular service has provided a realistic ongoing monitoring and cleaning program that meets regulation and risk assessment, cost effectively.
We understand that in this competitive market, value for money is of paramount importance to our clients and we pride ourselves on delivering smarter cleaning solutions to our clients that provide optimal service and value.
Find out more about our Bar and Restaurant Cleaning services.