Cleaning is a major part of any food service operation. Cleanliness has a huge impact on food safety and customers and inspectors alike are paying close attention. Concession stands are busy hubs of any event, and while food industry cleaning standards may feel daunting, we’ve got some tips and tricks that will help make it a routine part of the job. Keeping your concession equipment clean, such as popcorn machines, slushie machines, and hot dog rollers, is a great way of maintaining the equipment you’ve invested in and extending its lifespan. In this article, we’ll provide you with some concession equipment cleaning tips to help you maintain your equipment, and ensure happy customers, satisfied food safety inspectors, and healthy employees.
1. Stock the Right Cleaning Supplies
It’s important to refer to equipment manuals for proper cleaning methods and which cleaning solutions should be used. Your state health department will also provide you with a list of approved cleaning solutions that adhere to local and state food safety standards. We don’t leave any of our clients in the dark about how to maintain their concession equipment. All of the equipment we sell at Allen Associates comes with maintenance and cleaning guides. Refer to these as you build your concession stand cleaning arsenal.
Must-have Concession Cleaning Supplies:
Specific cleaning solutions for different equipment
Mop & Bucket
Proper Storage & Use of Cleaning Supplies
Pay special attention to the storage of the cleaning supplies in your kitchen. The storage receptacles themselves, along with the shelves and cabinets they are stored on need to be cleaned and maintained as well. Not only that, as per your local health department, these supplies should be kept separately from food. There may also be specific guidelines for how cleaning equipment is used, stored, and installed, and the order in which it should be used.
2. Follow Proper Cleaning Procedures For Different Equipment
Each piece of equipment will have its own set of cleaning procedures that all employees should be aware of. Post the procedures so everyone can see them and make sure each employee is properly trained. Here are some standard procedures to follow for most equipment:
- To prevent accidents or injury, turn off and unplug equipment before cleaning. Allow hot surfaces to cool completely.
- Disassemble and clean equipment as per manufacturer instructions.
- Clean all removable parts with soap and water and run through the dishwasher or sanitizer if permissible. Each part should be cleaned and dried thoroughly before reassembly.
- Clean the exterior of equipment with a damp cloth and mild detergent, or as per the manufacturer. Be mindful of electrical components.
- Clean the interior as per the manufacturer, or by using a food-safe cleaning solution and a brush, rag, or sponge. Be sure to scrub all the nooks and crannies, including any heating elements.
- Sanitize the equipment to kill any remaining bacteria using a food-safe, manufacturer-approved sanitizer. Again, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
- Reassemble the equipment once everything is clean and dry. Plug it back in and test it to make sure it’s working properly before using it again.
3. Tackling Grease
If your concession stand has a fryer, grease can be one tough cookie. But staying on top of under-sink grease traps, interceptors, exhaust fans, and the fryers themselves will keep your concession stand from being referred to as a “greasy spoon.” More importantly, keeping grease in check prevents kitchen fires.
For optimal performance, deep fryers require periodic “boil-out” cleanings. This involves draining out the old oil, adding water and a specialized cleaning solution, and boiling this inside the fryer. Perform a deep fryer boil-out about once a month.
Cleaning grease traps or interceptors should be done every one to three months. Start by scraping the interior to remove excess grease. To get rid of smaller bits of waste or debris stuck in hard-to-reach areas, use a shop vac. Use soap and water and a steel pot scrubber to scrub the grease trap thoroughly. Finally, flush out the screens and all parts with water to remove any remaining soap and waste.
Exhaust fans should be cleaned by a professional at least once per year.
If detergent and water aren’t enough to remove baked-on grease, use baking soda or a commercial cream cleanser.
4. Maintain A Regular Cleaning Schedule
Establishing a regular cleaning schedule is the key to efficiently maintaining your concession equipment. Develop a cleaning schedule and train all employees on how to stick to it.
Cleaning should be done throughout every shift every single day. Spills should be tackled immediately. Equipment should be wiped down regularly. “Front of house” should be wiped down and sanitized throughout each day. There should be closing checklists and end-of-shift cleaning checklists for employees to follow to ensure all scheduled cleaning tasks are being completed.
Perform a more thorough cleaning of your concession equipment every week. You may choose to do these tasks on less busy concession days. This may include disassembling equipment, washing and sanitizing reach-in coolers, and de-scaling sinks and faucets.
Perform a deep cleaning of your concession equipment once a month. This includes cleaning the hard-to-reach areas and using a food-safe degreaser to remove any buildup. Areas to focus on monthly include storage shelves, cabinets, walls, walk-in fridges and freezers, ice machines, and dry food storage areas.
Cleaning your concession equipment is an essential part of maintaining a successful concession business. By following these concession equipment cleaning tips, you can keep your equipment in good working condition, prevent the buildup of illness-causing bacteria, and ensure the health and safety of your customers and employees. If you have any questions regarding the cleaning of your concession stand equipment, we are more than happy to assist you. We back all this product knowledge up with great service and support, too. Our in-house service department is staffed with factory-trained service techs who work on everything from slush machines to replacing popcorn machine heating elements. Our Gold and Silver Preventive Maintenance Programs can also help you keep your equipment up, running, and profitable all year long.