Why Restaurants Smell Bad And What To Do About It

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Sometimes the same restaurants that we visit all the time can produce some pretty rancid smells. We will cover how to find where the smell is coming from, and how to deal with it. One of the last things you want in a restaurant building is a lingering bad smell that throws off both the customers and the employees. It is the evident sign of something that shouldn’t be there, spoiling the eating experience.

What is causing the bad smell? These bad smells aren’t usually something that is prevalant in newer restaurants that have been around only for about a year or two. The reason for this is that newer restaurants will focus more on cleaning, since the restaurant is new. Older restaurants will focus less on cleaning as much, because the restaurant is older. Older facilities will still clean, but will develop a daily routine for cleaning that will miss areas that need special attention every now and then, allowing terrible smells to surface overtime.

The smells can come from areas that are usually difficult or hard to reach when doing daily clean ups. For instance, some restaurants may powerwash underneath tables and equipment for their daily cleaning routines before closing for the day. When cleaning underneath things, it can be pretty easy to miss areas, since this might mean getting on their elbows and knees with their face near the dirty floor to check and see if all areas are washed.

Food can sit in dark corners and other areas underneath heavy coolers and equipment and spoil and rot, causing rancid smells to linger.

How To Find The Source of the Bad Smell

Finding out where the smell is coming from exactly can be a little challenging, since it probably is coming from a spot that isn’t visible without moving some stuff. Following your nose is helpful, but if the smell is everywhere, it can be difficult to track exactly where it is coming from. If the store is cleaned on a regular basis, then try checking in spots that aren’t cleaned often. This could be on floor drains or something sitting in the drains.

Think of any areas that wouldn’t usually get cleaned in the daily clean up. A very common area that doesn’t get cleaned daily for a lot of restaurants is the bottom of trash bins, underneath the trash bags. Take out the trash in the trash bin and check to see if the inside bottom area is filthy. If so, remove the trash at the bottom and clean it out.

In most cases, the culprit of these bad smells in restaurants has been the bottom of the trash bin. Changing the trash even when they aren’t full can also get rid of bad odors. Some of the trash bins may not get changed as often as they should, since they aren’t in use as much as others would be. They could contain food that has been sitting in them for days, even though there is not much trash in them.

Any areas where water and food can mix is a good spot to check, where smells can build up fast. See if it needs a good clean. What you are looking for is old food that was missed from yesterday, or grease build up in a corner or crevice. If it is removed, then most likely the bad smell will go away.

When heavy equipment is bolted or fixed to the floor, sometimes pieces of food and particles can find their way in and underneath lose spots between the floor and equipment and rot. Food can also find its way inside the vents of equipment and begin to settle there. Build up can occur, resulting in lingering bad smells. Commercial coolers may also have a container with water in them used to help run the cooler to keep storage cooled. If this container isn’t changed regularly, it can begin to smell awful and spread throughout the whole store.

Grease produces a very bad sour, rotten smell when it builds up and is left for an extended period of time. Restaurants sometimes contain a grease trap for dumping all of their grease. If the companies that are regularly supposed to pick up the grease don’t come by, it builds up into a terrible foul smell. The grease trap is normally found outside in the back of the restaurant just outside the back door. Call the company and have it dumped.

Having the sewer line checked is also a good idea, as this is a common cause of smelly restaurants. If the smell is coming from the bathroom, call a plumber.

What To Do If A Restaurant Smells Bad

If you are attempting to eat at a restaurant and notice a smell, then bring it to the attention of the management at the store. Any foul smells coming from the restaurant should be able to be fixed.

Foul smells in a restaurant can happen when the employees are doing a poor job with cleaning the restaurant before shift changes. There could be new management that doesn’t care. The bottom of trash bins could be filthy underneath the trash bags. Every restaurant has an outside dumpster area. When this area is filthy, it could be how they treat the inside of the restaurant as well. Also, it could mean that a deep clean hasn’t been done in awhile, or not as often as it should be. All of this could reflect on the food they are serving. A dirty smelly restaurant could mean dirty careless employees.

Since there is more food being made all the time at the restaurant than our homes, deep cleaning has to happen more often (maybe even daily) in a restaurant.

If you are eating at a restaurant and there are flies everywhere, do yourself a favor and eat at another restaurant. The flies aren’t there for no reason most likely. There could be something smelly and horrific lurking somewhere..

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