Chefs cleaning toilets

Joined Oct 22, 2010
As an owner/chef/cook/server/bartender/whomever in this industry you do what needs to be done, period. If that means you have to get in there with a toilet snake and a plunger up to your ankles in floating fecal waste, you do it and then clean yourself up and keep going.

Surgeons scrub before doing surgery so as to not give their patiens infections.

We scrub before cooking or handling food to not make our customer sick.

Getting properly cleaned is not a big deal nor does it take much time.
Joined Oct 10, 2005
Uh-huh... If you're " up to your ankles in fecal waste" , are you gonna change your shoes and socks? Do you have a back up pair in your locker? Do you have showering facilities available? Clean uniform?

Not being a smart-azz here, but these are questions any health inspector would ask you if they saw you coming out of a washroom with a toilet snake in you hands.
Joined May 30, 2018
I think it's not too big of a deal if you clean yourself properly afterwards. This is needed especially in smaller restaurants.
Joined May 5, 2010
I see we're still hashing this topic out.
The one remaining theme through all of this being that a cook has to leave the line to go clean a toilet during service.
The issue has been separated into 2 themes.
The first is should a cook have to clean a toilet and the second is should a cook have to leave the line to clean a toilet during service.
Opinions on both issues are clear, however; we can only give our opinions. The rest is up to the OP and his boss.
Joined May 6, 2018
Customer: What's taking so long with my entree?
Server: Sorry, we're a little backed up right now. Somebody barfed all over the ladies room. Our line cook should be back preparing your meal as soon as he gets it cleaned up.
Sorry, the person bringing your food out, is cleaning up vomitus? Do me a favour! X
Joined May 6, 2018
You don't? We keep a spare set of everything, along with things like rubber boots for cleaning places.
Knee high rubber boots- been there! No soap, been there! No towels, been there! Chef with a fat mouth? Been there! Found a better chef! Chef, if you're good, I'll work with you?
Joined May 6, 2010
So, today, I was offered a job in the kitchen at a local restaurant. The kitchen looked very good (clean, well-maintained, etc.) and it seemed like it might be a good replacement for my current job which I dislike for a number of reasons, some of which I've talked about here previously and others that I haven't gotten into. However, something really struck me as odd about the position.

In my current job, we have more or less formally assigned duties (8 line stations plus 3 dish/sanitation stations) As a much smaller restaurant, they have a lot fewer lines and everyone does a little bit of everything - that makes sense. But, they also have no sanitation crew and instead use a rotating list where everyone has to clean the bathrooms at some point (during a cooking shift, I might add). As a small business, I want to be empathetic, but I just can't wrap my head around a chef cleaning the bathrooms - especiallly when on a cooking shift. At my current job, we contract bathrooms out to the skills center here, as do most restaurants in the area. It costs us around $15 a day and is well worth the money IMO.

Needless to say, I turned the job down. I was polite (you never know who you'll meet in the future) and they seemed like nice people, but I just couldn't do it. Besides the obvious health issues with a chef cleaning the toilets and then returning to cook food, I just don't see cleaning toilets as part of a chef's duties. Sure, I'll clean the kitchen, and I wash my own dishes when I hace time, but not toilets.

Has anyone else experienced this before? Do many restaurants use chefs to clean the bathrooms? I've never come across this before, so it seems like a rarity to me, but I've never worked outside of my current metro area so I was just curious.

No this is very odd. Most restaurants have specific utility people that handle the cleaning of restrooms.


Kitchen Dork
Joined Jun 15, 2006
After reading this thread with my own bias (food preparers should not clean toilets), I can also see why in some places of employment it might be necessary. But I think that problem isn't a problem if it's just done at the end of any shift, no matter your position. Clean toilets, go home. However, in the case of "we gotta deal with this right now" the job should fall to a busser/dishwasher position.
Joined Oct 10, 2005
No this is very odd. Most restaurants have specific utility people that handle the cleaning of restrooms.
Right...... Actually, no, See, the problem with reality is that its never what you expect.

Most places DO NOT have a dedicated janitor. True the hotels, malls, and super large eateries do have janitors, but thats what, maybe 10% of the total eateries?

So cooks handle food, so do servers. Dishwashers? They bring clean glassware to the bar, clean cutlery to the f.o.h., clean plates to the cooks, prep veg, clean salad, and a million other food related duties. Are they" dedicated utility people"? umm.., no.

That schtick about cooks cleaning terlets at the end of their shift aint in synch with reality either. Terlets get dirty on their own schedule. Guests ( drunk or sober) flush paper towels or tampons or even passports down the ol' crapper and are amazed that the thing backs up. Street people sneak in and do their thing. Guests will let you know -- in no uncertain terms terms-- when yea olde crapper " needs attention" regardless if the next scheduled cleaning by an off duty employee wont be for another two hours.

I guess its pretty clear that I am " well versed" in this issue, as a former cook, a former owner, a former employer, and really, just an eejit who's been in the hospitality industry for oh.., what 35? years.
Joined Nov 9, 2020
OMG this thing is still alive.

Normally the restrooms are the last thing FOH had to do before they clocked out for the night, right after restocking. I honestly thought EVERYWHERE did this. Then in the morning the boss or hostess does a pre-open walk through, and they're off and running.

The only time (other than just a once thru) you'd be cleaning the lavs in the middle of service if something somewhat "catastrophic" happened in one of them. If ANYONE was doing lav maintenance during a shift, it was either a dishwasher (who has access to nasty, caustic chemicals) or the manager (who is paid to deal with disasters)...

If they're having line cooks cleaning lavatories, commodes, urinals, and mopping during the shift, they're not using their personnel effecively - you want cooks COOKING where it makes you money, either on the line or prepping or whatever. It's like hiring, I don't know, some overpaid professional (say a jet mechanic) to do something like pull the weeds, rather than get those Gulfsreams in the air.
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