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Wondering how to bid restaurant cleaning contracts when you’re dealing with a multi-location franchise? Here’s a secret or two that will help you win the deal.

They say you can make big money opening a franchise restaurant. All you need to do is buy into the strategy, and the early work is done for you. Your business plan, product, and marketing are all taken care of. The only thing you need to do is hire some people, open your doors, and watch the money roll in. 

Naturally, there’s a bit more to it than that. And who exactly “they” is, we can’t say. What we do know is that all those restaurants need a commercial cleaning company. But if you want those jobs, you need to know how to bid. Restaurant cleaning contracts require confidence – and some insider knowledge.


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how to bid restaurant cleaning

How to bid: restaurant cleaning contracts can be money in the bank

The best way to learn how to bid restaurant cleaning contracts is to put yourself in the mind of a restaurant owner. In the case of a franchise restaurant, the owner could be responsible for several locations. However, the number of restaurants they own is only one factor in their decision to hire a cleaning company. 

They need a sparkling clean restaurant to make their customers feel welcome and happy. They need a clean and safe workspace for employees. They have health code standards and franchise expectations to meet.

On your end, it’s important to remember that the type of janitorial work a restaurant requires isn’t the same as it is for an office building or apartment complex. Restaurants most likely have higher foot traffic, and you can expect to encounter things like grease spills, food stains, and heavily-used sinks and drains, along with plenty of damp areas where mold and mildew can thrive. 

Put that all together, and you’ll be on the road to figuring out how to bid. Restaurant cleaning contracts, as you can imagine, necessitate a unique approach to the process. That’s not as labor-intensive as it may sound, though. 

Restaurant Cleaning Bid Template

It’s true that cleaning a restaurant requires a different tact than cleaning a retail shop, for instance. But almost all restaurants have similar janitorial needs. Once you create your template, you can use it over and over, customizing it as needed. But what should that template look like? Here are a few items you can include in your bid that will make your company stand out. 

  • Dedicate mops and other cleaning supplies to different sections of the restaurants. Keep the supplies you use for the bathroom separate from those you use in food prep or dining areas. 
  • Cite EPA standards for cleaning mixtures and disinfectants and adhere to those. 
  • Follow food safety guidelines for sanitizing food-contact surfaces. These may vary, as they are state-mandated, but the USDA does offer some direction. The clean, rinse, sanitize model starts by wiping down the surface with detergent, rinsing the surface, then applying a sanitizer to “ensure that the surface is free of pathogenic microbes.” 
  • Empty and clean the ice machine. This one might seem like an odd addition, but you’d be amazed at how filthy these get, and how infrequently they are attended to. The only way to really get them cleaned and sanitized is by powering them down, taking all the ice out, and giving it some good old elbow grease. 
  • Disassemble, clean, and sanitize soft drink machines, ice cream dispensers, and any similar food or drink equipment. 
  • Empty, clean, and sanitize beverage coolers, including any filters. 
  • Remove oven grates and thoroughly degrease and clean the entire oven.
  • Degrease and clean the oven hood and vents. 
  • Deep clean the dishwasher.

You may find that more (or fewer) items eventually make it to your cleaning checklist. That will depend on the restaurant, as well as how often you clean and how much the restaurant employees already do. Along with these restaurant-specific protocols, don’t forget to include your typical commercial cleaning duties, such as taking care of the floors, windows, and other general tasks. It doesn’t hurt to point out the attention you give to high-contamination areas like door handles, faucets, and paper towel dispensers. 

Of course, you should still plan to do a walk-through with the franchise owner or manager. Find out exactly what their expectations and needs are so you can give them an accurate quote. It’s also vitally important that you have the right team who will do the job well. A large franchise operation could command a significant time commitment on your part, and you want to make sure you can continue to service your current (and future) clients. In other words, don’t put all your commercial cleaning eggs in one client basket. A big contract can be a goldmine, but you don’t want to end up with fool’s gold. 

Still feeling like you need a little extra on successfully figuring out how to bid? Restaurant cleaning contracts, or any cleaning contracts, are a lot more attractive to clients when you include auditing and contact capabilities. For instance, some janitorial software (like Janitorial Manager!) include an app that lets clients contact you or your cleaning team directly in the event of an emergency, janitorial issue, or a simple change in instructions. 

Similarly, an inspections app can alleviate any concerns your client may have about your team’s work meeting their expectations. Inspectors can rate the quality of work, share images, and coach employees on ways to improve. 

Bidding on and winning a cleaning contract with a restaurant franchise may take some hustling on your part, and it does require specific tasks that you won’t come across with other clients. However, if you have the equipment and personnel, you may find that it’s the kind of contract that brings in a steady, lucrative paycheck. 


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