Close Down Guide for Hospitality Businesses in Lockdown

November 3, 2020
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A sense of deja-vu is descending on the hospitality industry as another full lockdown is imposed in England. As we saw in March, closing down a pub or bar for an extended period is not just about turning the lights off and locking the doors behind you. 

Many things need to be taken into consideration including shutting down draught dispense systems, ensuring cellar and bar areas are cleaned, and securing stock. Below, we will outline some of the measures you need to consider to ensure the premises are kept in optimum condition during closure. In addition, implementing these steps will reduce time and equipment issues when the premises re-open.

Cleaning beer lines

What Do I Need To Consider When Closing Down My Cellar?

Starting in the cellar, disconnect all the beer lines from casks and kegs, and clean all the lines as per your usual procedure. Do not leave water in any beer line: water stagnates over a period of time which leads to biofilms forming in the lines, and unpleasant, musty taints in the line. 

Line cleaning

Pull water through to leave just air in the lines, and turn the gas cylinders, gas taps, and cleaning gas valve off. Alternatively, you could fill the lines with a beer line protector chemical which can safely be left in the lines for up to 6 months. Instructions on both these actions can be found in our article on Beer Line Maintenance.

Next, sanitise all keg couplers and attach them to the sockets on the line cleaning ring main. Remove hop filters from the end of the cask lines, and hang the lines up so they’re not trailing on the cellar floor.

Clean all cask equipment such as taps, extractor rods, auto tilts and dipsticks either in hot water or a sanitiser solution and allow everything to air dry.

Someone removing and cleaning the hop filter from the end of a cask line.

Turn the remote coolers off at the mains supply. If there are unbroached kegs and casks in the cellar, it is recommended the cellar cooling fans are left switched on to preserve the life of the product. If there is no stock in the cellar, it is safe to switch the cellar cooling fans off.

Do a stock count of all cask and keg beers, whether open or unopened. Speak to your supplier about unused stock and see what their returns policy is. Different suppliers will have different policies about the collection of unused products and safe disposal of opened containers.

Lastly, deep clean the cellar walls, floors and fixed equipment with hot water, or a sanitiser solution. This will prohibit mould growth, and keep the cellar clean so that it is ready for re-opening. All empty casks should be sealed with a cork to prevent the growth of wild yeasts and bacteria. It’s vital that all empty casks and kegs are stored in a secure area, ideally inside the premises, or in a locked outside area. Empty containers are subject to theft if left unsecured.

What Do I Need To Consider When Closing Down My Bar?

Like the cellar, the bar area too needs closing down properly to make sure it stays clean and is ready for you to reopen as quickly as possible. Firstly, ensure all glassware is clean and stored on ventilated matting. This will allow air to circulate inside glasses, preventing bacterial build up and odours developing.

Next, drain the glass-washing machine, remove and clean the filters and sanitise the internal surfaces. Leave the door to the machine open to prevent mould growth. Empty all ice from the ice machine and clean the internal surfaces. A Cleaning the Ice Machine Checklist can be found here. Switch the water supply off to both the glass-washing machine and the ice machine. 

On the bar, remove sparklers and nozzles from all beer spouts, clean them in a sanitiser solution and leave to air dry in a safe place. Remove all stock from the bar fridges and the optic rails and store in a locked stockroom (this could be the cellar if you are able to lock the door). Switch off the bottle coolers and leave the doors open.

Lastly, switch off the beer font lights, and turn the power off to the tills, make sure you have run your final reports and remove the till cash trays to a safe place, leaving the empty drawers open.

What Routine Maintenance Do I Need To Carry Out?

Even though the business is not operating, it’s worth carrying out some routine maintenance checks throughout the closure period to prevent issues arising further down the line. Inspect the cellar for evidence of pests, mould growth or damp. If you’ve turned them off, switch the cellar cooling fans on weekly for 10 minutes, to check they are still operational. If possible, ventilate both the cellar and the bar by opening doors and windows to prevent stale odours building up.

Free Cellar and Bar Closing Checklist

We have created a checklist for you with some examples of checks you should make, along with some blank spaces so that you can fill in your own procedures. Fill this in as you go through the steps of closing down your premises. This can be downloaded on the button below and filled in electronically, or printed and completed manually. 

You should now have a better understanding of how to close down your cellar and bar safely and correctly. We’ve outlined some of the key steps you will need to pay particular attention to as you prepare for the lockdown period. 

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