Ewww! These hygiene fails leave customers queasy
By Dan Bignold
Oct 8th, 2019
Dirty plates, beer-soaked tables and toilets too terrifying to enter. Make sure staff are trained to avoid these cleanliness disasters and stop guests running for the door.

Have you ever been sat down (as a guest) at a table in a restaurant, put your arms on the table, and groaned as you discover the ketchup now smeared across your sleeves? Or leaned on the bar counter and spotted the mop and dirty bucket sidled up to a box of lemons in full view? Or the classic – the restroom with a trail of wet toilet paper leading out from the cubicle all the way into the venue?

Any one of these operation fails immediately tarnishes the service you’re about to receive, however good it may be. You can be served the best-tasting, most inventive cocktails by the most charming waitstaff, but you’ll still leave with a sour taste in your mouth if the place isn’t clean.

What else makes us feel, well, gross?

  • Staff cleaning their finger nails, picking their nose, sticking a finger in their ear. Any of that stuff.
  • Stacks of dirty plates on the bar. Or, worse, on the table you've just taken me to.
  • Liquid of any kind on the toilet floor. Especially when it's sticky.
  • Body odour on service staff.
  • Visibly dirty rags being used to wipe tables... those rags then being tucked back into the trousers of staff... those rags then being used to polish glassware.
  • Coughing bar staff. 
  • Citrus garnish that looks like it was cut last year.
  • Bartenders smelling a glass, jigger, or vessel before using it. Why so suspicious? Now I don't trust anything.
  • Seeing staff smoking outside the establishment.
  • Submerging the beer tap into a glass of draught beer, then letting it run over into the tray, and – true story – keeping the over-pour and trying to add it back into subsequent beers!

Service staff need to get real about this part of the job. If you’re feeling squeamish about touching a dirty stack of plates, when you’re being paid to do exactly that, how do you think customers are going to feel when they’re paying to come to your venue (probably because they don’t want to deal with dirty plates at home)? If customers have to put up with any of that list above in your venue, chances are some are soon going to find somewhere else to spend their money.

To help your teams better understand customer expectation when it comes to cleanliness, both personal and in your venue, training is essential. Thankfully, Small Batch Learning’s training for the hospitality and retail industries doesn’t just cover alcoholic beverage knowledge. Our courses include lessons on all aspects of cleanliness and waste, for both bartenders and floor staff:

  • Personal hygiene & handwashing.
  • Tasting drinks & handling items behind the bar.
  • Working clean behind the bar & looking after your equipment.
  • Cleaning restrooms, the rest of the venue & your tables.

It may not be the glamourous part of the job, but maintaining appropriate levels of cleanliness is vital for any business that’s serious about service. Small Batch Learning’s training will make sure staff understand what service disasters are and how to avoid them.

To find out more about the hospitality service training we offer, contact us here.