Chef directing kitchen staff in commercial food truck

Food Truck Cleaning Checklist

One of the hottest trends in dining out is on wheels. Food trucks are becoming increasingly popular across the country, providing a greatly needed convenience and variety to customers.

Whether operating from a local park, festival, farmers market or special event, food trucks are considered commercial kitchens by most local fire marshals and are required to comply with NFPA for grease cleaning.

Additionally, most regulators require food trucks to have hot and cold running water, a refrigerator and proper waste disposal. Some places also dictate where a truck must park in relation to restrooms so employees have access to wash their hands.

The tiny enclosed space inside a food truck kitchen can be a challenge to keep clean. There is a major risk for cross-contamination because the equipment and food are jammed so close together inside.

Regardless of where your food truck is based and the regulations you’re required to follow, here are 10 areas you should regularly clean.

  1. Wash all the dishes as you go, brush the grill whenever you change the type of food you cook (i.e., changing from beef to fish) and empty the trash whenever it gets near to being full.
  2. When shutting down for the night, it’s important to make sure that the truck is clean and ready for use the next day. Clean all of your cooking tools, appliances, work surfaces and floor mats.
  3. Clean and sanitize walls, floors and countertops daily to prevent the growth of bacteria and spreading of germs.
  4. Empty out and clean the ice machine or your ice chests on a weekly basis, since both can be a breeding ground for bacteria and foodborne illnesses.
  5. Clean out your freezer, empty and scrub your coffee maker, and clean your ovens every week.
  6. Once a week, sweep, wipe down and disinfect behind and underneath equipment, where dirt, germs and pests can hide.
  7. Every month, thoroughly clean the refrigerator, including the unit’s coils. Dirty coils can make your refrigerator work harder, which can cause the temperature to fluctuate.
  8. Pull out the stove and fryers and clean the walls behind them every month to remove any built-up grease, which can be a fire hazard.

At least twice a year, have a professional company clean the vent hood to remove any grease, pollen or dirt. Check the fire extinguishers and fire suppression system, and clean the pilot lights on gas kitchen equipment on a quarterly basis.

As with a restaurant, create a cleaning schedule for your truck to ensure all areas get cleaned regularly and properly. Remember, the cleaner you keep your food truck, the safer your food will be for your customers, and that will keep them coming back for more.

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