Today I saw Gordon Ramsay Kitchen Nightmares. Regardless of the alleged nature of "reality", he said that fridges at his London restaurant are cleaned twice a day. Is that excessive or in line with standard hygiene guidelines ? What about the kitchen and storage rooms ?
I have worked in two professsional kitchens. The main kitchen itself (all the work tables, stoves, floors, refrigerator fronts and so on) is cleaned after each service, and very thoroughly each night with hot soapy water and sometime sterilizing solution. The insides of refrigerators and other storage areas don't need to be cleaned that often because everything in them is in sealed containers. They should normally be emptied and wiped out at least once a week, and of course immediately if there is any kind of spill.
It totally depends on who's leading the kitchen. I've worked in a restaurant where we cleaned the fridges, floors, everything twice a day. A quickish clean after lunch service, and a full clean at night. In most other places I've worked, the fridges were done once a day, and the whole kitchen after each service. Regardless, you'll do what's called a 'deep clean' once a week which would include extraction, chillers, dry store, moving everything out of the kitchen etc. I once worked in a place where the fridge doors were taken off so you could clean beneath the screws.. taking it a bt far I think, but puts things in perspective in the next job!
In my Navy service, where the galley tends to roll with the waves, we did a lot of cleaning.
- A quick clean after breakfast, wipe surfaces and the insides of the line fridges.
- A deeper clean after lunch, including scrubbing the surfaces, emptying and cleaning the line fridges properly, scrubbing the stove top (electric), and sorting out the deep-fryer. After all that we'd do the floors properly.
- After supper we'd basically reset the whole kitchen, including cleaning the dry storage and walk-in fridge.
- After late night snacks we'd really just tidy up, and wipe any surfaces, but not properly clean the galley.
Once a week though, everything gets taken apart and scrubbed, and also sterilized where appropriate, including the walk-in freezer and fridge.
There's also the once yearly passover cleaning, where compressed air is brought in to make sure all the dirt is kicked out of everywhere. After that we used a pressure-washer, and then a blow-torch to make sure everything is clean and/or dead. It helps that all the equipment is stainless steel in this case.
Different restaurants have different standards. The first restaurant I worked in, we would tear down everything after lunch service when the night crew & chef arrived. That meant everything currently dirty through the dishwasher, everything that was stainless steel getting scrubbed & sterilized, floors swept and mopped, floormats hosed down and sterilized. Then we'd do that again at 4, and again at 6:15 right before dinner service. The walk-in fridge was completely emptied and scrubbed every week, freezers once a month, dry stores moved and shelves/floor cleaned and swept every two weeks. You could eat off the floor in that place.
Personally, I think that should be the standard everywhere. More normal is line fridges once a week, walkin fridges once a month or so (this means deep cleaning on top of the usual sweeping/mopping and a quick wipedown of the shelves). All stainless steel, stovetops, etc gets scrubbed down every night, floors swept and mopped. Then we do a full-on deep clean from the back door to the dining room doors quarterly--everything pulled out, scrubbed, line pulled out and powerwashed behind, etc. The secret really is to start with a sparkling kitchen and maintain it.
24 hour restaurants rely on their downtime (often but not always 3-6AM) for their cleaning hours.