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Coffee Shop Cleaning Checklist Template: How to Clean a Coffee Shop

Grace JidounAuthor

Coffee Shop Cleaning Checklist

For any coffee shop or restaurant, cleanliness is next to… well, success. Most people would agree that coffee spills, dirty bathrooms, and overflowing trash are disgusting. But the reality is that it may not be so apparent that a coffee shop is poorly maintained. There are obvious ways to clean your coffee shop and some not-so-obvious. Consider this article your ultimate coffee shop cleaning checklist. It’s a comprehensive guide to keeping your establishment spic-and-span, from top to bottom.

Cleanliness has captured the public’s attention in the wake of the pandemic, and high standards can quickly translate into more business. Toast data shows that a whopping 45% of diners go out to eat multiple times a week. According to a 2021 survey by Technomic, more than 75% of those polled said that a food service establishment’s cleaning policies would impact their intent to visit. 

While many people love the cozy ambiance that coffee shops provide – with comfy couches and laptop-filled tables — once it veers into “public health hazard” territory, all bets are off. A simple mistake of cleaning up coffee spills with a used towel without proper disinfectant can lead to cross-contamination or, worse, the spread of bacteria and viruses. While cleaning may seem like a no-brainer, it’s surprisingly easy to mess up. And your local health inspector will surely notice any bugs or sticky-floor situations. 

Even if you hire a professional cleaning service for deep cleaning, you still need to be well-versed in all aspects of the day-to-day work. From the front of your coffee shop to the back (and all the places in-between), we break it down with our coffee shop cleaning checklist.

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Restaurant Cleaning Checklist

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Dining and Seating Area

The condition of your dining and seating area is the primary signal to customers that sanitation is taken seriously. Research from Harvard Business Review suggests that, on average, a consumer will form an impression of a retail interaction within 7 seconds. It’s essential to make sure the public spaces in your coffee shop are sparkling clean.

Cleaning Supplies Needed

  • Surface and glass spray cleaners

  • Disinfectants (food-grade cleaning solution or bleach)

  • High-quality cleaning rags

  • Industrial brooms

  • Cleaning gloves

  • Mop and bucket of hot soapy water

  • “Wet Floor” sign

  • Vacuum for carpeted areas

  • Bathroom cleaning supplies such as bleach, toilet bowl cleaner, and scrub brush

  • Paper supplies such as toilet paper and paper towels

From milk dispensers to menus, a daily checklist can help you keep the public spaces of your coffee shop up to the highest standards.

Daily

During The Shift

  • Wipe down and spray all communal, high-traffic surfaces like chairs and counters — don’t forget door handles, light switches, and railings.

  • Tabletops should be cleaned in between customers with a fresh towel, or microfiber wipe and a food-grade disinfectant (pushing around crumbs on the table doesn’t count).

  • Clean any glass surfaces that look dirty. No matter how enticing that cranberry muffin looks, smudgy fingerprints on the glass display case are an instant turn-off. Things like a glass cloche protecting treats may need frequent attention.

  • Check the bathrooms for cleanliness (we can’t stress this enough). A grimy mirror or empty soap dispenser will make customers wonder if this lax attention extends to other areas of your coffee shop. Essentials include checking the floor for toilet paper and trash, flushing the toilets (if someone forgot), wiping down counters and sinks, and refilling paper towels and toilet paper.

  • Empty full garbage cans throughout the day in the public areas, including the bathroom.

  • Pay attention to the condiment area, where customers rush through, leaving a trail of ripped sugar packets and spilled milk behind them. Checking and cleaning this area every 20 minutes is not overkill. 

When Closing Out

  • Deep clean the high-traffic areas you wiped down earlier in your shift: tabletops, chairs, countertops, and more.

  • Sweep the floors and mop them with disinfectant.

  • Thoroughly clean the bathrooms, including mopping the floors and cleaning sinks, mirrors, and countertops.

  • At the condiment stand, wash all liquid dispensers, nozzles on syrups (where sugary build-up occurs), and the drip tray. Using a clean towel, wipe down condiment shakers and refill sugar packets, stirrers, lids, and napkins. 

  • Vacuum up crumbs, dirt, and debris from any carpeted areas. 

Weekly

  • Deep clean the toilets and wipe down each stall door in the bathrooms.

  • Vacuum or sweep in the hard-to-reach areas, checking under furniture. 

  • Spray and clean all the glass windows, doors, and mirrors.

  • Water and trim the dead leaves off of plants.

  • Polish and clean any stainless-steel areas.

  • Scrub any coffee spills or splatters off the walls.

  • Disinfect all trash can exteriors and interiors.

Monthly

  • Dust all fixtures, including things that are high up in your coffee shop, like lights, fans, exposed duct work, and the tops of tall furniture or appliances.

  • Wash entry mats to remove accumulated dirt and footprints.

  • Clean your baseboards of dirty build-up and scuff marks.

  • Check carpets, curtains, chairs, and other upholstered items for damage and repair and clean them as needed.

  • Do a thorough deep cleaning of the tables and chairs in the eating area, which means wiping down legs, back, and underneath (people still place gum under there).

Counter and Food Prep Stations

Like wine, customers often pick up on the subtle nuances of different beans. Heaven forbid your Kona coffee has top notes tinged with cleaning solution – Yuck! Operating a coffee shop requires strict cleaning standards – here are a few supplies to keep on hand. 

Cleaning Supplies Needed 

  • Dedicated cleaners specifically for your coffee and espresso machines (that won’t impact the taste of your bevies)

  • Dedicated cleaner for your grinder

  • Dedicated milk line cleaner

  • Dedicated cleaner for your ice machine

  • Disinfectants (food-grade cleaning solution or bleach)

  • High-quality cleaning rags, including dedicated rags for steamers

  • Dishwashing soap and sponges

  • Small cleaning brushes designed for barista equipment

  • Mop and bucket

While the entryway and seating areas are your customer’s first impression, the food and drink preparation areas are where things get real. Without proper sanitation of the equipment and prep areas, your customers could be unknowingly exposed to dangerous pathogens. 

Cleaning as you go is essential, but some things can be done at the end of the shift, the end of the week, or monthly. Here, we itemize the tasks.

Daily 

Counter

During the Shift

  • Frequently wipe down and clean the register and hand-off / mobile pick-up areas.

  • Continuously check cups and dishware for cracks and dispose of them as needed.

  • Set a timer to replace creamer carafes and refill them throughout the day, cleaning in between to avoid rotten dairy products.

  • Switch out the cleaning rags during the day to ensure there’s always a fresh supply available.

  • Check the pumps and syrups behind the bar, cleaning them out when sugar residue builds up.

When Closing Out 

  • Deep clean the drip coffee pots.

  • Cover all food with plastic wrap and write the date before storing it in the fridge.

  • Disinfect the employee hand-washing sinks.

  • Sweep and mop the kitchen floors, lifting any floor mats and spraying them down outside.

  • Throw all laundry, including cleaning rags, napkins, and aprons, into a bag for a restaurant laundry service to pick up.

The Bar and Food Prep Stations

During the Shift

  • Clean the foamers and milk steam wands after every use.

  • Clean the grounds out of the portafilter after every espresso shot you pull.

  • Rinse out your milk jugs and pitchers within a minute or two of steaming.

  • Wipe down the food prep counter with between preparing different foods.

  • Clean the microwave, cutting boards, slicers, and utensils to remove food buildup and bacteria as needed.

When Closing Out 

  • The top task is to tackle coffee ground build-up or areas on the espresso machine that may need extra cleaning. 

  • Wipe down the espresso machine with a clean rag. 

  • Grinder maintenance is equally important: brush coffee grinds off the burrs (or use compressed air to make quick work of this)

  • Clean the fridges and freezers, including the shelves and the gaskets — and don’t forget to check underneath for wayward bagels.

  • Sanitize and clean out the ice bin.

  • While many coffee shops don’t have deep fryers, those that do should change out the oil every day (and at least once a week)

The Dish Pit

Thankfully, the dish pit won’t be as bottomless in a coffee shop as in a large full-service restaurant. That said, things can get messy quickly, so the best approach is a blend of spot-cleaning during the shift and thorough cleaning at the end.

During the Shift

  • Empty the dishwasher from last night’s run and put away all clean dishware and tools in their proper places.

  • Ferry dirty tools, cups, saucers, and dishware to the dish pit throughout your shift

  • Clean up spills or puddles as soon as possible.

  • Restock cleaning solutions if you’re running low

  • Wash dishes throughout the day.

When Closing Out

  • Make sure all the dishware from the day is cleaned in the dishwasher.

  • Return dishware to the proper places for the next shift. 

  • Place all remaining restaurant kitchen tools, containers, and gear in the dishwasher and run overnight. 

  • Handwash any gear that cannot be run through the dishwasher.

  • Thoroughly clean the dish pit.

  • Take out the trash and recycling at the end of the night.

Weekly

Counter

  • Wipe down all shelving in the dry goods area.

  • Dust and sanitize all under-the-counter shelving areas and cabinets, including wiping down the outside of cabinets.

  • Empty the display case and thoroughly clean it with a food-grade cleaner.

  • Move anything with wheels and clean behind it.

  • Scrub the floors in the back of the house and get all the hard-to-reach places.

The Bar and Food Prep Stations

  • Sanitize and wipe all coolers and refrigerators, to remove any food scraps or crumbs.

  • Move any barista equipment that can be moved and clean under/behind it.

  • Clean the inside of all ovens, steamers, and microwaves.

  • Change out the oil in the deep fryer (if you’re not doing this daily).

The Dish Pit

  • Thoroughly sanitize the dishwasher and sinks. 

  • Inspect all drains for buildup, cleaning if needed.

  • Check for signs of pests, mold, and mildew.

  • Reorganize the dishes if needed. 

Monthly

Counter

  • Clean any filtration systems, and deep clean every spout and water tap.

  • Perform a deep cleaning of your ice machine to remove any bacteria. Take out all the ice before cleaning with sanitizing cleaners, check the drain lines, and ensure they are all clean. 

  • Check your first aid kit supplies and replace anything running low, including bandages, eye-washing solutions, burn gels, burn kits, ice packs, gauze, tensor bandages, and more.

  • Check the fire extinguishers to ensure they are up to date and not damaged.

The Bar and Food Prep Stations

  • Ensure all ovens and cooking equipment have been calibrated up to code and properly functioning.

  • Sharpen all knives in the kitchen and replace any broken tools and equipment.

  • Ensure all barista equipment has been calibrated up to code and is functioning correctly.

  • Deep clean your freezers and coolers.

  • Deep clean the fan, vents, and hoods.

  • Scrub and wash all the walls.

  • If you have a deep fryer, it should be thoroughly cleaned.

  • Perform a safety walk-through checking the quality of the floor mats and any other tripping/slipping hazards.  

The Dish Pit

  • Deep clean the floor, walls, and sinks around the dish pit.

  • Check your dishwasher and sink areas for limescale buildup and de-lime if necessary.

  • Inspect all drains for buildup and clean them as necessary.

  • Clean the food trap or filter on your dishwasher (this could be weekly, depending on how many loads you do a day).

  • Inspect the grease trap and clean it if needed (or hire a professional cleaner). 

It may seem that we’ve covered all the ways you can keep your coffee shop sparkling clean, but there are a few additional considerations — and they’re big. Here we share strategies for preventing foodborne illness, complying with local health codes, and above all else, ensuring a wonderful experience for your guests.

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Restaurant Opening and Closing Checklist

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Best Practice #1: Focus on Preventing Foodborne Illness.

Food poisoning is a blanket term for any form of illness that results from eating expired or contaminated food. Food can become contaminated with bacteria such as E. coli, viruses such as hepatitis, and even some forms of parasites.

Who can forget the 2019 outbreak at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Spain, where 29 diners became ill and one, sadly, died? While that’s an extreme case, no eatery — from fine dining to street carts — can underestimate the importance of combating food poisoning. Thankfully, it’s preventable if you follow some simple steps.

  • All staff should wash their hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water (that’s two “Happy Birthdays”) throughout the day. In many states, it’s the law.

  • Keep food at safe temperatures. The danger zone (when bacteria starts to grow) is above 41 degrees and below 140 degrees Fahrenheit. 

  • Take measures to prevent cross-contamination.

  • Don’t allow sneezing, coughing, or otherwise sick staff to work.

  • Store all food items properly. 

Best Practice #2: Check the Health Department Guidelines

The most feared person in the restaurant world is not the food critic or the landlord but the health inspector. Health inspectors show up unannounced, record violations, and in extreme cases, can shut your kitchen down. Do not wait for a poor letter grade of “B” or “C” to appear in your window before taking health inspections seriously. Even though some major cities like Los Angeles have scrapped visible letter grades, the findings are still posted in an online database. Here are a few tips for navigating the health department: 

  • Be proactive. Check with your city’s health department or whoever conducts health inspections to ask for a complete list of what an inspector is looking for.

  • Change your outlook: Think of the health department standards as a guide to inform you (instead of an after-the-fact punishment).

  • Once you’ve done your research, use the health department standards as the foundation of your food safety and cleaning processes.

  • Research accredited food handler training programs such as ServSafe, which offers an interactive map of regulatory requirements in all 50 states.

  • Consider running regular test inspections to prepare your staff for the real thing.

  • Most health departments will allow you to comply with their findings. Take advantage of their resources and cooperate fully with authorities to learn what systems need to be in place.

Best Practice #3: Prevent Pests

A single cockroach spotted by a customer can spell disaster for your restaurant. Here are the basics for keeping your coffee shop pest free: 

  • Wipe up food residue quickly.

  • Always clean equipment after use.

  • Don’t let food-contact surfaces get dirty and greasy.

  • Store food in airtight containers.

  • Move trash bags to the dumpster rather than letting them sit in the kitchen.

  • Keep doors and windows closed as much as possible to prevent flies. Capture stray fruit flies with a small cup of soap mixed with tequila or apple cider vinegar.

  • Repair or replace any cracks, crevices, or damaged tiles in your establishment, as pests hide in these places.

  • Call a professional pest control company if you see clear signs of an infestation, like roach or rodent droppings, shredded cardboard, small piles of dirt (from ants), or flying insects. Unusual odors or sounds of scratching behind the wall are also red flags. 

Best Practice #4: Train Staff to Create a Culture of Food Safety

“Training is the most critical thing you can do,” says Larry Lynch, Senior Vice President for Health, Safety and Regulator Services at the National Restaurant Association. 

“A new worker coming in may not necessarily understand the nuances of what causes foodborne illnesses and outbreaks, so it’s critical not just for the manager but for the food handlers. It’s all about pushing it down to the next level in restaurants so that all employees understand the core concept of food safety,” he says. 

  • Training is an ongoing endeavor and not one-and-done. You’ll need to follow up with your staff to ensure everyone complies with the system in place.

  • Post reminders about cleaning procedures in strategic places, such as above the sink or near specific machines and equipment.

  • Regularly share training videos with restaurant cleaning tips via email.

  • Put on your health department hat and spot-check your staff like an inspector would.

  • Publicly acknowledge team members doing a good job so they inspire others.

Best Practice #5: Deliver an Enjoyable Experience for Guests

Put yourself in your customers' shoes and imagine what it’s like walking into your coffee shop for the first time. Is there dust in the corner? A stained or sticky menu on the table? Even the smallest oversights can make customers feel uncomfortable. Post-pandemic, people are especially attuned to cleanliness and will not hesitate to ban your restaurant over a strand of hair in the food. Here are strategies for making an excellent first impression.

  • Audit your restaurant's cleanliness by having a staff member have a test meal. From the moment they’re seated until they complete the payment process, have them record any aspects of their dining experience that need attention. 

  • Pay special attention to the bathrooms. Customers use this as a litmus test for overall cleanliness.

  • Don’t forget to take a fresh look at the exterior of your coffee shop. Are the dumpsters overflowing? Is trash strewn about the parking lot? Is the awning or sign falling down? Is the paint chipping? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, your customers may pass you up for the café down the street.

When you first dreamed of opening a coffee shop, you probably didn’t think of scrub brushes and disinfectants. But cleanliness is a key component to your success. Ideally, you want to get in front of issues instead of reacting after the fact. Our guide may not magically erase all problems, but it will help you run a more efficient, cleaner, and enjoyable business.

 

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