Bakers Journal

Concepts for success: May 2014

April 21, 2014
By Diane Chiasson

It was a long winter for most of North America, so people will be relishing the coming summer weather more than usual.

It was a long winter for most of North America, so people will be relishing the coming summer weather more than usual. Take the opportunity to really clean and spruce up your bakery to attract more customers as the temperatures heat up. Many people find cleaning to be a huge and unenviable chore. To make it more fun, get your whole staff involved and treat it as a social event. Play energetic and fun music, open up a case of beer, order in some tasty food and get cleaning. Be sure to reward your staff accordingly.

Giving your bakery a good scrub down is almost as good as a total makeover, and will cost you a lot less. There is no need to spend hundreds of dollars on industrial strength cleaners or brand name products. Use everyday items like baking soda, rubbing alcohol, white vinegar and lemon slices to clean your countertops, kitchen appliances, drains, walls, floors and shelving units.

Use these eight cleaning tips to spruce up your bakery with a spring scrub.


 1. Wash windows and outside
Make a great first impression with your customers by making the front of your bakery sparkle. Make sure the windows are gleaming, and that your front window display looks fresh and clean. Use a pressure washer to spray down the sidewalk and front doors. Wash all your signs and your awning (if you have one).

2. Spray down the dumpster
While you are outside, head to the back of your bakery, and spray down the entire area. Always ensure that your garbage bins are clean and sanitized. The warm weather in summer attracts rodents, raccoons, bugs and other pests that could potentially turn into a much bigger problem.

3. Deep clean the floors
After an entire winter season of customers trudging into your bakery in their winter boots, your floors require a deep clean. To help minimize the wear and tear of your flooring, whether carpeting, tile or wood, hire a service that will deep clean using steam and heat. This small expense is worthwhile as it will delay the need to replace your floors entirely.

4. Check furnishings
Check all your shelving units, carts, tables, chairs and countertops for scrapes, scratches, gum, scuff marks or other debris. Repaint or touch up any areas. Go around your bakery with a screwdriver and tighten up any pieces of furniture that are loose.

5. Check electrical fixtures
Check your entire operation, including the washrooms and the kitchen, for any light bulbs that have burned out. Wipe down all your lighting fixtures at the same time. While you are up on the ladder, you might consider making a permanent switch over to environmentally friendly bulbs if you haven’t already, which would help you reduce your electricity bills. Calibrate the temperatures in your refrigerated units and ovens. Check your fire suppression system, and check all your fire extinguishers.

6. Degrease the kitchen hood
The kitchen hood is an expensive piece in your bakery, and all efforts should be made to keep it in good condition. The best way to clean the kitchen hood is by steam. Hire a service to steam clean the hood for you, or research on how to do it yourself. It is a key part of your operation that should be well-maintained. Immerse all your hood filters in a degreaser solution and scrub them clean.

7. Clean out fridge/pantry
The walk-in refrigerator and freezer areas are sometimes the scariest places in any foodservice operation. Check all contents for freshness. Take out all the shelving units and wash in warm water and liquid soap. Then wipe down all the walls and mop the floor before putting shelving back in. Reorganize all the items in a neat and manageable system.

8. Go digital
If your office has huge piles of paper everywhere, consider making the move to digital. There are several different types of software that you can use to manage a bakery properly, thereby eliminating hours of paperwork and tons of clutter!

Time to put on the rubber gloves, roll up and throw a spring work party. 

Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping restaurant, foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 30 years. Her company provides innovative and revenue-increasing foodservice and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns, and much more. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or, or visit

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