During his first visit to NASA’s headquarter’s in 1961, President John F. Kennedy stopped his tour to speak to a janitor mopping the floor. “Hi, I’m Jack Kennedy. What are you doing?”
“Well, Mr. President,” replied the janitor, “I’m helping put a man on the moon.”
Cleaning isn’t a sexy or exciting topic, but its importance can never be understated. If NASA’s role was to put a man on the moon, our role as catering and hospitality professionals is to create the best possible experience for our customers. We invest time, effort and money in creating eye-catching branding, mouth-watering menus and funky decor, but the basics should never be overlooked.
Say a resident chooses to dine in-house or a non-residential guest has read great reviews about your restaurant. They sit down and the table is sticky or there’s a dodgy looking stain on the floor. That’s their first impression, it’s a poor one, and you now have a lot of catching up to do. No matter how delicious the food or attentive the service, the whole experience will be overshadowed by cleaning and hygiene issues which could have so easily been prevented.
Ensure your staff understands the importance of cleaning to avoid cross-contamination. If you don’t have multiple sets of pots, pans and utensils, everything has to be cleaned thoroughly before preparing food for a customer with special dietary requirements. There’s a lot more to allergens than following the latest legislation – it can be a matter of life and death, and the part cleaning has to play can never be understated.
Staff who’s primary role is cleaning should love cleanliness and have high attention to detail. Whenever I leave a hotel room or self-catering cottage with my family, I always look under the bed and behind sofa cushions for errant bits of lego, cars and pen lids. Discouragingly, I’m usually disgusted by the amount of dust, fluff and general dirt. Encourage cleaners to see the room how guests do – get them to lie on the bed to check for dust on ceiling lamps and fans. And stand in the shower and crouch down by sockets to check the hidden nooks and crannies.
I’m a firm believer that all staff are responsible for cleanliness. If there’s something on the floor, pick it up. If you see a mark, wipe it. You might be a big hotel with dedicated cleaners, but if any member of staff sees something that could detract from your customers’ experience, they should sort it out immediately.
No matter your place in your hotel’s hierarchy, or whether cleaning is a fundamental part of your job or not, you’re not above doing your bit. So do it as if you were sending a man to the moon, creating an atmosphere of excellence for customers to enjoy.
Victus Consultancy can help with all aspects of operating a B&B, guest house or hotel, including cleaning. We’ve run our own catering businesses for over 15 years, and are experts in health & hygiene, allergens, training, setting up processes and procedures and following legislation and directives.