Do you openly swab the deck?

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In the March issue, editor Michael Sanson discussed how menus, condiment dispensers and even lemons are among the most contaminated objects one touches each day. He asked readers if they openly clean these items in front of customers, or if it’s even an issue with them. The following are excerpts from some who responded.     

I’ve been a restaurant manager for many years and have always had my team clean menus, table tents and the like in front of guests so they know we actually clean those items.

Chuck Spencer
Manager
House of Hunan by Suen
Medina, OH

We have made our staff aware of the issues you wrote about, and several times each day, they clean all items that are frequently touched with Clorox wipes. This includes menus (almost after every use, at least when there is a hostess on duty), guest check presenters, telephones, door handles (front door, restroom doors), restroom faucets and toilet handles. Thanks for letting us know about (the contamination of) lemon wedges. I guess frequent hand washing is the answer here.

Rick Enos
Owner
Compadres Rio Grille
Napa, CA

I’ve been working at a family-owned restaurant located in the theater district for 12 years and I can vouch that our hostess team not only wipes down our menus once, but they do it multiple times throughout the day. In addition, salt and pepper shakers are only provided upon request. After the customer has finished using the shakers, we promptly refill them and wipe them down accordingly. These sanitary practices are what have kept our restaurant in business for 50 years.

Armando Cantalapiedra
Dining Room Captain
Victor’s Café
New York City

Our staff is trained to clean and sanitize menus, kids’ toys, the back of chairs, doorknobs, anything that the customer comes in contact with. We do this anytime before, during or after their shift. We have a tub of sanitizing wipes in each of the four dining areas. We have hand sanitizer on the counters and by our terminals for the staff and customers to use at their leisure. We also have numerous wall-mounted hand sanitizers throughout our restaurant, kitchen and outdoor dining area. We also provide our customers with restroom sanitizing wipes in each of our restrooms as well. Not that we expect our customers to clean our restrooms, but if it makes them feel more comfortable and gives them a sense of control over using a public restroom, that is a bonus to their whole dining experience. I not only own and operate a multi- million dollar restaurant with my husband, I am a mother first and foremost and set very high standards for the cleanliness of any restaurant that I would allow my son to dine in, whether it is ours or anyone else’s.

LouAnne Pelkey
Owner & FOH Operations Manager
Mr. Pizza
Gorham, NH

Our way is easy: Lemons stored in ice hit the counter in the wait area bar at 5 p.m. They are used or discarded at the end of shift. On most nights lemons would be lucky to be out for longer than two hours. Our rule is to use tongs, wash your hands always and do not use leftovers. 

Jason E. Clark
Executive Chef / Owner
BIN112 on Trade Street
The Strip Club 104, a steak house
Greer, SC