Many Restaurateurs think that because they may (at times) have to pay a good amount of money for their restaurant equipment that it should withstand the test of time, and it should. However, equipment needs to be taken care of like anything else, especially if you want your restaurant to operate at a peak level.
Everything from heavy duty ranges to hood systems and Refrigeration need regular maintenance. Many restaurant owners work long & hard hours, some work 18-hour days. When the work day is complete, it is difficult to be motivated to really take care of the restaurant equipment you have been working on for more than 75% of the day.
A good motto for your kitchen is “a clean kitchen is a happy kitchen” and you can keep this up by constantly wiping things down as you work throughout the day. Clean is only one small aspect of your kitchen’s health and the well being of its equipment.
Ranges for example should be broken down after every service, all burners should be cleaned and free of grease as well as particles to ensure proper ignition and efficiency for Sautee and other stove top cooking. All grease and particles should be removed from the tray under the burners to prevent grease fires and many other issues that can cause damage over time. All pilots should be checked on a regular basis and maintained to always be lit properly when needed or if standing pilot – then they will always be on.
The same cleaning care should be taken with charbroilers, cleaning grates, burners, and grease trays at the end of every shift. Griddles, stock pot stoves, fryers, all need to be cleaned and maintained properly. If your employees are shown properly from day one and it is part of their routine from the outset, then there will never be any excuses not to keep your restaurant equipment clean. This is step one in the long life of your commercial equipment lasting for many years.
Every piece of equipment comes with an owner’s manual, and from over 20 plus years as a top restaurant supply company, we honestly say that 95% of them are thrown out upon install or put in a file cabinet somewhere and never looked at.
It is paramount to read your owner’s manual not only for proper operations and maintenance, but it also tells you where to call for warranty should your equipment have a problem during its warranty period.
Refrigeration is the most important area of maintenance, and most commonly neglected. Food holding temperature prior to cooking or prep must be maintained at proper levels for your coolers, freezers, walk in units, etc.
If you are handy you can do things like cleaning the coils of your condensing units on your own. They can be blown out by using a compressor and a hose with an air blowing tool on the end of it, but be careful as the dust will fly.
It is suggested to use your refrigeration tech and set up a regular schedule maintenance program on all of your mechanical units. This should also be done on your HVAC such as your heater, water heater, and air conditioning units.
Hood systems, although many restaurants run the filters from the hoods through a dishwasher there is still the need for a professional hood cleaning maintenance at regularly scheduled intervals. A busy restaurant can be in need of a hood and duct cleaning every 90 days – where others can go annually or bi annually. Check your local area for hood and duct cleaning services.
Grease trap maintenance is also a must, I am sure you have heard the stories or experienced first-hand the dreadful stench in your commercial kitchen areas when grease trap is not maintained. Countless restaurants still need to upgrade/bring up to code their grease traps. Connecticut (as an example) no longer allows for the manual grease traps, nor does the State of Massachusetts, other states are following suit. It is so much easier to maintain the new electronic grease separators, and we stock them here at Restaurant Equipment Paradise. Feel free to contact one of our sales team members and we will be more than happy to size up a new grease trap for you. There are instructional videos online which show you how to clean your grease trap and to follow a regular maintenance schedule
To keep your restaurant running efficiently regular cleaning and maintenance is enough to keep your equipment in top condition. Restaurant equipment repair companies receives hundreds of weekly service calls from restaurant owners and managers where dirt, grease, dust, and grime have ended up costing thousands of dollars. This could have been prevented with keeping equipment clean and general maintenance.