Bartender cleaning the glassware

Cleanliness, health, and hygiene 

In the hospitality profession, we strive to curate and deliver positive guest experiences daily by maintaining a pristine workspace, impeccable personal hygiene, clean and well-presented uniforms, and a spotless, well-ventilated and comfortable environment. Read more on how to meet customer expectations in your venue.  
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Meeting the standards

There are the minimum standards that we should all adhere to and are non-negotiable elements of our profession that, when delivered, should go unnoticed but, if neglected, even temporarily, will disrupt and ruin the guest experience.  

The importance of a clean and tidy workspace 

Your workspace should be kept impeccably clean, typically behind and beyond the bar. This extends beyond the elements visible to your guests and includes all of your workstations, utensils, tools, and equipment.  

A spotless environment will foster positive guest perceptions and enhance their trust and comfort. Furthermore, regular sanitation and cleaning will ensure the longevity of your glassware, equipment and tools and minimise the risk of contamination and infestation. 

Ice bins

Particular attention should be paid to areas with any risk of cross-contamination - for example, your ice well or ice buckets and scoops. It would be best to establish a regular cleaning protocol where ice wells, buckets, and scoops are cleaned and sanitised at the beginning and end of every shift and periodically throughout the day. 

Use food-safe cleaning products and thorough rinsing to ensure the removal of any residue. Team members should wash their hands thoroughly before handling ice, ice scoops or ice buckets to prevent the transfer of bacteria. Ice scoops should be stored in a clean and dry area, out of contact with the ice and used only for their intended purpose. 


Central to ensuring your glassware and bar tools are properly cleaned is that your glass washer is well-maintained, fully stocked, and regularly cleaned. This will also help ensure its longevity.  

Your glass wash area should be clean, well-stocked and well-organised so you can access cleaning items and products quickly and easily whenever needed. A well-maintained workspace and clean glassware, tools and equipment signify your professionalism and should be a matter of personal pride. It only takes a momentary lapse, taking a drink out to a guest on a dirty tray or failing to clean up a spillage promptly, to undo all your hard work and shatter those all-important guest perceptions.

Bar tools

It is advisable to take a similar approach with your bar tools. If tools like shakers, strainers, muddlers, and jiggers are not cleaned appropriately, they can harbour harmful microorganisms. You should establish protocols that ensure your equipment is cleaned effectively between each use.  

Pay special attention to garnish tongs and tweezers, which can easily transmit contaminants if not cleaned correctly. Please avoid using your bare hands to handle garnishes and always use clean utensils. 

The importance of clean and tidy guest areas

The hygienic cleanliness and tidiness of front-of-house areas and restrooms in your business are paramount. These guest spaces are the face of your establishment and the first and last things guests will likely encounter on a visit. A clean and tidy environment signals that your business values its experience and safety.

In contrast, an untidy or dirty environment signifies the opposite. Maintaining clean and tidy guest areas isn’t just about appearances; it’s a matter of health and safety. Contaminated surfaces, particularly in restrooms, can be breeding grounds for harmful bacteria and viruses with the associated risks to guests and staff. Effective cleaning schedules across all areas, especially restrooms, including regular inspections and effective record keeping, are essential in maintaining guest health, safety, and trust. 

The importance of good personal hygiene 

As ambassadors for your establishment, your appearance matters. Grooming and personal hygiene impact guests’ trust in you and your craft. Hospitality professionals like bartenders, servers and hosts are often the first point of contact a guest has with a venue and first impressions matter. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. The importance of good personal hygiene in creating that positive first impression should not be underestimated. An unkempt appearance, bad body odour, and other signs of poor personal hygiene or lack of care can make guests uncomfortable and even drive them away.  

In contrast, clean hands, good personal hygiene and immaculate presentation create an aura of professionalism, reassuring your guests that they’re in capable hands.  Jewellery and accessories like watches should be kept to a minimum as they can harbour dirt and bacteria. Practising good personal hygiene fosters a culture of respect, not just with your guests but with your colleagues. Creating an excellent impression for your guests should be a team effort; each team member taking responsibility for their appearance and personal hygiene is vital.  

The importance of clean uniforms  

Uniforms are not mere attire; they reflect your brand’s ethos. A clean, well-fitting uniform exemplifies attention to detail and respect for your profession. Regular laundering is not only about aesthetics but also hygiene. Clean uniforms foster a sense of unity and collective identity among your team and create a cohesive brand image.  

The importance of ventilation and air quality 

Adequate ventilation and air quality are an element of great hospitality that you only notice when they’re missing. Bars and restaurants should be well-ventilated and have good airflow either naturally, through window openings and doors, or artificially through effective modern ventilation systems.  

Reduce risk, enhance ambience

An airy space with good air circulation can reduce the spread of airborne pathogens and potentially reduce the risk of airborne infections. Stale air, laden with odours, can ruin even the most enchanting ambience. Optimal airflow ensures guest comfort and creates a pleasant atmosphere that encourages longer stays. It also contributes to a healthier working environment for your team, enhancing their productivity and well-being.    

Key takeaways 

  • Impeccable workplace cleanliness and personal hygiene are non-negotiable behaviours in the hospitality profession.  
  • Clean environments and hygienic practices foster trust, confidence, comfort, and guest loyalty.  
  • Uniforms are a visual representation of your profession and brand and impact both guest perception and team unity.  
  • Optimal ventilation and air quality contribute to a pleasant ambience and staff and guest wellbeing.  
  • Good practices translate into commercial benefits, including repeat business and enhanced reputation.  

Following stringent cleanliness and hygiene practices goes beyond ethical obligations; it translates into commercial gains.  

Satisfied guests are more likely to return and recommend your business. Positive reviews from exceptional hygiene practices and cleanliness can significantly impact your online reputation, helping you attract a broader clientele.  

Maintaining impeccable standards also impacts your professional reputation on an individual level. By embracing these practices, bar and hospitality professionals elevate their own professional standards and the experiences they create for their guests.