If you looked back a little over one hundred years ago, you'd see that the forebears of grocery stores were open markets with little or no focus on sanitation or safety.  Early pioneers recognized the need to improve the appearance and cleanliness that has led to the near obsession with cleaning today.  

Grocery stores are probably one of the highest traffic retails facilities that most custodial contractor’s service.  Although each building type has its own unique needs, grocery stores have a very high focus on not only looking clean and sparkling but also being clean since many of the fruits, meats and other perishables are susceptible to spoilage and possible contamination.  As one enters the store, the floors have to be clean and slip free at a bare minimum.  The aisles need to be clean and attractive with can goods and paper products free of dust and easy to reach.  Rest rooms must be clean and serviced often since they will have high usage during the day.  Refrigeration units, food cases, meat counters and fruit displays must be clean to avoid cross contamination.

As in most cases, the 80/20 Rule applies and those areas that experience the highest wear and tear need to be serviced accordingly.  Although some insurance carriers ban walk off mats, there must be a way of capturing tracked in soil while drying feet to reduce slip/falls as well as protect the floors.  Frequent dust and damp mopping is necessary for not only appearance but safety as well.  Many grocery stores opt for white or mixed VCT (vinyl composite tile) which requires regular sweeping, dust mopping, buffing, scrubbing, recoating and stripping to maintain a first class appearance.  Any and all spills in the aisles must be cleaned up promptly to not only reduce the chance of slip/fall but also damaging the finish and gloss.  In the last few years, the trend has been towards polished concrete which does not require floor finish but must be maintained if it is to keep the clean, inviting appearance that may help finicky customers choosing to come back.

We will look at dealing with the warehouse area, meat room and rest rooms in a future article.  A successful grocery store must invest in floor maintenance as well as dusting and other tasks if they are to be competitive in today’s environment.  

I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...


Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678.314.2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.