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  • M. Villarreal

Is Your Air Quality Pushing Customers Away?

Updated: Aug 5, 2021

Most of us have experienced it. You go to a restaurant, maybe it’s been recommended, maybe a place you drove by or even your favorite place. Service was great and the food was amazing, but there’s one problem (and it’s a big one), your clothes and hair stink after you leave and it’s absolutely disgusting. Nothing will ruin an evening more with friends or a loved one than having to go home to shower or change after eating somewhere or worse, having to put up with it and be self-conscious of it the entire day or night because you can’t go home and do something about it.

There’s a misunderstanding out there that it may have to do with the type of cooking/food that the restaurant is providing, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Simply said, when you go to a restaurant, YOU SHOULD NEVER SMELL LIKE THE RESTAURANT when you leave!!!!!

Think about customers today. It takes a lot of trust and confidence for a customer to repeatedly visit your establishment, not to mention these days, many don’t want to take chances with Covid-19 by leaving home at all. As a result, you need to do all you can to maintain that critical trust and create the most inviting environment you can. One crucial way to improve customer perception of your restaurant is through a commercial kitchen hood cleaning service.

Clean the hood vent system regularly

Restaurant hood vent cleaning is necessary because the system is an absolute magnet for debris, grime and creates the greatest risk for fire in a commercial kitchen – not to mention it’s the law!

You need to plan for regular commercial kitchen exhaust cleaning so that the system can work effectively and efficiently. Whereas some restaurants may want this done daily, others are comfortable spreading out the cleaning frequency to between one to two weeks.

The decision on how often this is conducted relies on two primary factors, the volume of cooking done and the type of food being cooked. For example, fast food restaurants with long hours of grilling burgers require commercial kitchen deep cleaning more often than a small sandwich shop that only occasionally grills.

NFPA-96 section 11.6. 2 states (NFPA Kitchen Hood Cleaning Requirements): “Hoods, grease removal devices, fans, ducts, and other appurtenances shall be cleaned to remove combustible contaminants prior to surfaces becoming heavily contaminated with grease or oily sludge.” It goes on to outline the frequency of inspection and cleaning based on cooking volume (see outline below).

Can commercial hood vent cleaning improve customer perception?

Absolutely! Whereas your hood vent system may seem like something that functions in the background and has nothing to do with customers' experience, you may want to think twice about that. A poorly maintained exhaust hood can lead to light smoke and smell manifesting in your meticulously-maintained customer areas. Most customers would not understand that the issue is a result of your hood vent system. Instead, they may form the wrong opinion that you are not good at what you do or even unconcerned about the total customer experience.

It is the attention to detail, even those that are unknown to the customer, that creates a great experience and invites them back as well as prompts a customer to tell others. We even see it in reviews, “I don’t know what it is about this place, but it is just better”.

Having a professional commercial kitchen cleaning company come and clean your hood vent system significantly impacts the overall results. The ducts can be quite tough to see through and effectively handle if you do not have the correct equipment and access. Furthermore, too much grease often forms in the system and may be hard to remove altogether and can lead some less experienced companies to use destructive cleaning methods. It’s not about making it look clean, it’s about truly cleaning the system. And the type of company you use makes all the difference.

A professionally serviced exhaust system gives your customers a great feeling and experience that it is clean and free of distractions during their visit (and they don't even know it). On the other hand though, when the grease and soot is left to build up in the vents, the resulting smell and air particulates end up in food, curtains, rugs, napkins, staff clothing and in the dining area where it can ultimately end up in your customer’s hair and clothes. That creates a problem, because some customers will walk away with a bad impression of your restaurant. They end up forming an opinion about your establishment's cleanliness and share it with others verbally and online through bad reviews. In our world today, a bad review can spread like a wildfire and devastate business.

When it goes right

On the other hand, restaurant kitchen exhaust cleaning ensures that the air inside is safe for your employees as well as fresh and clean for your customers to be comfortable throughout their stay. Ultimately, your customers leave remembering the amazing service, ambiance and food instead of the smell or poor air quality. Additionally, your employees will be more motivated when they work in a clean environment free of obnoxious smells and particulates that can cause health issues. It comes down to this, any given restaurant that cares about their staff, customer experience, word of mouth advertising and social presence (especially reviews) must start with a clean hood and kitchen exhaust system.

If you would like to learn more about Cornerstone Commercial Services or receive a free onsite system evaluation, please contact us at: 1-800-274-3905


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