Germiest Surfaces in Your Restaurant

publication date: Jun 24, 2024


germiest surfaces

Ensuring cleanliness in restaurants is crucial for preventing the spread of food-borne illnesses. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that approximately 1 in 6 Americans falls ill from food-related diseases annually, with over 80% of norovirus outbreaks traced back to restaurants, cafeterias, and banquet facilities.

Among the germiest surface areas in restaurants are menus, with the average menu harboring around 185,000 bacteria. Establishments can invest in easy-to-clean or dishwasher-safe menus, while patrons are encouraged to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer after handling menus. Tables also pose a risk, as studies show that the same cloth is often used to wipe down each tabletop, facilitating the spread of germs.

Chairs in restaurants are another concern, with investigative studies finding that 70% of restaurant chairs are contaminated with up to 17 strains of bacteria, including E. coli. Improving training methods and using more effective cleaning solutions can help eliminate germs on tabletops and dining surfaces.

Bathroom floors are often infested with approximately 2 million bacteria per square inch, making enhanced cleaning practices essential to contain the spread of germs throughout the establishment. Ice machines are also a culprit, with 70% of them containing more bacteria on average than toilet water. Proper maintenance and regular cleaning of ice machines and dispensing equipment are crucial for ensuring cleanliness.

Condiments, from salt and pepper shakers to ketchup and mustard bottles, are frequently handled and can harbor bacteria like fecal coliform. Using probiotic wipes or sprays between customers can help reduce fecal bacteria. Finally, shared utensils at buffets and salad bars gather and spread germs quickly, with some salad tongs reportedly being as dirty as a toilet flush handle. Restaurants should use a restaurant soak tank to thoroughly clean all utensils, serving ware, and cookware routinely, reducing the risk of contamination.