It’s hard to keep things clean if you aren’t aware of them. But paying attention doesn’t have to be a full-time job. The important thing is to know when and where to look for cleanliness problems.
Your customers care about at least three things: the appearance of your staff, the appearance of the restaurant grounds, including the parking lot and entryway, and the appearance of the entire dining room, including service stations, cashier areas or bars. You’ll need to turn on your grime radar whenever you monitor each of these areas.
First, teach servers to pay attention to themselves by turning on their personal radar. For example, encourage them to take a peek in the mirror as they’re getting dressed before their shift, when they visit the restroom or after a break. Your restaurant has spent a considerable amount of time, energy and money to present the best possible image to your customers. That can all go to waste if servers are not clean and presentable.
The next opportunity to switch on your radar is whenever you’re working the floor. You should constantly be searching for any cleanliness problems throughout the various stations and work areas.
Finally, take a look around whenever you enter or leave the restaurant. Your customers will notice the condition of your parking lot, your entryway, your signs, your windows, etc. So turn on your radar as soon as your restaurant comes into view — and keep it on until your restaurant drops from sight as you leave.