Mats are all around your restaurant. They are under your employees and patrons in dining rooms, kitchens, bars and entrances. Choosing the right mat will go a long way in keeping everyone in your establishment comfortable and content. The type of mats and location chosen to put them will vary depending upon the part of the restaurant they are in and how much foot traffic occurs in the area. Not all mats are cheap, so making them last as long as possible will be great for your bottom line.
Comfort is important for everyone in your restaurant, but the padding and thickness of the mat should vary by where it is placed. Mats near 7/8 inches thick are great in places where employees will stand for nearly their entire time at work, such as host stations or behind bars. ½ inch mats work well for extended use work stations that are used for long periods of time, like the cooking line in the kitchen. Thinner mats, typically 3/8 inches thick, are good for higher trafficked areas where the lower profile will prevent tripping. Drainage is also important when considering mats. When working in areas with constant spilling like near the dishwasher, it would be wise to have a full-drainage mat. For higher trafficked and drier work areas, a moderate drainage mat will work fine. Check your mats regularly for wear and tear as grease and other liquids will break them down over long periods of time. Grease is the number one source of rubber deterioration in mats, so purchase specific types of grease combating mats if you prefer.
What mats should I buy and where should I put them? Check the list below for our suggestions.
Choose a mat for the front door of your restaurant that can withstand yearlong elements such as rain, snow and sun. The ideal outdoor mat will be heavy duty and should keep wetness and debris from entering you restaurant. Putting your restaurant’s logo or name on the mat is up to you, but just keep in mind that almost everyone who enters the restaurant will walk on it, so the branding may wear quickly.
If your restaurant has a lobby or foyer, some of the similar qualities of the entrance mat would work for one here. It should also keep out moisture and adequately absorb water. Make sure it spans the length of your lobby, especially if your ground surface can become slippery when wet.
Host Station/Cash Register
If you have a host/hostess, odds are that they will be standing at this station for nearly their entire shift. Choose a mat that’s durable, thick and will be comfortable for your host or hostess, who will be standing on it for long periods of time.
Choosing the right mat for your bar, where liquids are constantly flowing and spilling, is important for the safety of your employees. Get a mat with great anti-slip properties. Your bartenders will likely be behind the bar for the entirety of the shift, so buy one that will be comfortable to stand on for hours on end. Drainage qualities are also important with the abundance of drink pouring that takes place behind the bar.
Dining Room/Kitchen Entrance Area
Having a good mat in this area is important, as often times, the flooring of the dining room and kitchen will differ. Because it may be seen by your customers during the majority of their dining experience, make sure it looks nice and it is cleaned regularly. It should be slip resistant and functional for highly trafficked areas. Choose a thinner mat.
Your service staff will pour the majority of non-alcoholic drinks near their station, so choose a mat with good draining qualities. Some of your wait staff may stand there for long periods of time, so ensure that it is comfortable for them. Choose one near the ½ inch range.
Your cooks and chefs will stay in this area for the majority of their shift, so choose one similar to the wait station in thickness. Cooking line mats take on all the elements of the cooking process, such as raw meats, grease and oil. Select one with superior draining qualities, grease resistance and anti-slip properties. This mat will likely take the most wear and tear of any in your restaurant, so invest in one that will last.
If your restaurant has a carving station, choose a mat thinner than that of the cooking line, but one that possesses the same draining and anti-slip qualities. It will also be exposed to grease and oil from time to time, so keep that in mind.
This area of your kitchen likely won’t see a lot of foot traffic, so a thinner mat will do. Choose a mat with a beveled edge if you use a dessert cart regularly.
Whether you have a dishwashing position or have other employees doing it from time to time, they will likely be standing there for longer periods of time. Select a thick mat, but one with good drainage, as this area is one of the wettest in the kitchens.
A mat in the receiving area should also have a beveled edge for cart traffic. It should also withstand the traffic of heavy equipment and should have anti-slip properties.
If you have a walk-in freezer, a mat is a must. Select one that can withstand freezing temperatures with anti-slip qualities.