Though it may not seem like it yet based on the weather, the days are getting a little longer, and spring isn’t so far off. When it comes to running a small business, getting ready for warm weather often means doing some serious spring cleaning and sprucing up. While no one actually likes to roll up their sleeves for a major chore session, a spring cleanup can breathe fresh life into a business and lead to a more beautiful place to work. This is especially true in restaurants, where cleanliness is crucial for good health and delicious food.
- File Papers Along With Taxes: Once taxes are filed in April, send last year’s receipts and hard copies to deep storage, whether in a filing cabinet or storage unit off site. Start new folders and boxes for paperwork for the new fiscal year, taking time to clearly label everything now so it’s easy to find everything next tax season.
- Is It Useful? For offices or inventory closets that are overflowing with stuff, take the time to go through items and decide what is worthy of keeping. If it hasn’t been used in the last six months – and is unlikely to be needed in the future – toss it out!
- Label It! One good label maker is worth its weight in gold. Keep staff apprised of where things belong with judicious use of labeling. Label and date food containers and shelves to indicate where serving dishes belong. Once expectations are clear, things will end up back where they belong.
- Table Organization: Have complimentary condiments gotten out of control on dining room table tops? Assess the situation and consider minimizing what’s on each table, or try a new caddy system to keep things neat for diners.
Spring cleaning is all about getting into those forgotten corners and crevices to banish hidden dirt. Don’t forget these areas for a sparkling new season:
- Wipe Down Walls: Even vertical walls can collect dust, especially once they’re tacky with grease. Dust and/or wash walls with a soapy sponge to eliminate grime.
- Dust Above Eye Level: Though the kitchen and dining room get a good clean every night, there are lots of surfaces that are ignored. Upper shelves, door trim, lamp shades and anything else that is overhead is often forgotten and needs a thorough dusting.
- Vacuum Crevices and Corners: Likewise, dirt tends to hide in corners and out-of-the-way spots, like under the bar or where baseboards meet the floor. A careful vacuuming will whisk away dust in these neglected areas.
- Don’t Forget Restrooms: Restrooms are cleaned and disinfected regularly, of course, but they’re susceptible to the same hidden dirt as more public areas. Be sure to address walls and corners here as well.
- Tackle the Fridge and Freezer: At some point, something gets inadvertently shoved to the back and forgotten. Go through food stores (including the employee fridge!) and toss anything outdated – or undated.
Bonus Pointers for Beauty
After all that cleaning and organizing comes the fun part: redecorating! There’s no need for a total redesign to engage in a little springtime beautification. Try these quick ways to add a fresh new look to any business or restaurant:
- Brighten Up: Give lamp shades a thorough wipe down – inside and out – to remove dust and grease. Consider adding higher wattage bulbs to brighten up rooms as well. Dimmer switches can always tone things down for evening service, but lunchtime crowds appreciate a well-lit space.
- Add Some Color: The single fastest way to change the look of any room is to paint the walls. Vibrant shades add energy to a space, and cool colors can be used to make restaurants seem larger. Use low-VOC paints and good ventilation to avoid odors on reopening.
- Redesign the Menu: Even if the dishes remain the same, a new font and fresh descriptive language will encourage diners to read more carefully. Adding fresh cover art is an easy way to sign a new season of eating without breaking the bank.
- Partner With Local Artists: Looking for new artwork for the walls? Offer to display the work of local artists along with purchase information. It’s a win-win, as artists gain exposure and potential sales while diners get to enjoy a seasonal display of new and interesting art.
Spring cleaning and beautification takes dedication and some extra effort, but it definitely pays off. It’s the perfect way to drum up some buzz before the weather gets warm and people are looking to come out of hibernation for a night on the town again. Spending the time now to break down tasks into manageable pieces over the next several weeks will make it easy to greet the warm spring sun – and flocks of happy customers – with open arms.
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