Maintenance of kitchen equipment forms an important part of the day-to-day operations in a foodservice business. Regular upkeep and maintenance allow you to maintain the health of each piece of equipment, ensuring it lasts long and works well throughout its operational lifespan.
Maintenance also acts as a preventative measure against potential kitchen accidents and food-safety concerns arising from poorly kept kitchen machinery. Frequent upkeep and cleaning also prevent major breakdowns that can cost your business a lot of money to repair. Maintaining a strict maintenance schedule and ensuring your kitchen equipment is regularly serviced is integral to the safe and hassle-free operation of your foodservice establishment. We discuss the importance of maintenance and offer a few tips on the upkeep of some major & essential machinery integral to your kitchen’s functioning.
The Importance of Maintaining Your Kitchen Equipment
1. Helps You Keep Equipment Looking New
Most modern pieces of kitchen equipment come with sleek metal or stainless steel finishes. Regular cleaning and maintenance will help you keep them looking bright and new. Daily usage will lead to stains, grease, and grime buildup on your appliances. Regular sanitation and cleaning will allow you to maintain the new look for longer. This also affects the long-term resale value of your appliances, since machines that look new will be more likely to be bought. The cleanliness of your machines also promotes safe practices in your kitchen and allows you to set the benchmark for regular upkeep at your restaurant.
2. Extend the Operational Lifespan of Your Equipment
Frequent cleaning, maintenance, and operational checks allow your commercial kitchen equipment to last long. Food debris, grease, and grime can reduce the efficiency of your kitchen machinery, leading to breakdowns and eventually, repair costs. Also, the main goal of purchasing high-quality equipment is to ensure it gives you maximum returns on your investment. Working to keep your equipment for longer brings you the highest returns on your investment. It also prevents frequent purchases of equipment since maintenance ensures each piece of machinery lasts for its full operational lifespan.
3. Save Money on Utilities
Most commercial kitchen machinery relies on electricity, gas, and water to function. Equipment that isn’t clean tends to consume more of these resources due to the extra effort the machine needs to put into performing routine tasks. Cleaning and maintenance ensure grime and gunk are removed regularly so that your kitchen equipment can work efficiently. Lower consumption of resources means you have lower bills and higher profit margins from your business.
4. Maintain Food Quality & Safety
Foodservice equipment that isn’t clean is a major safety hazard in commercial food businesses. Food deposits are breeding grounds for dangerous bacteria that can contaminate the food prepared by these machines. This presents a risk of food poisoning for your patrons and can lead to serious consequences. Not maintaining your equipment also poses a food quality problem as unclean machines will prepare subpar food. Machines that are not maintained properly can also land you in trouble with the health & food departments. Hefty fines are imposed on establishments that don’t adhere to the health, hygiene, and food safety standards of the authorities.
5. Helps You Avoid Repair Costs
Sudden breakdowns and malfunctions can cause major problems in a foodservice establishment. Not only do they cost money to fix, but also stall operations and cause you to take items off the menu until the malfunctioning equipment is back in service. Lack of regular maintenance and service can lead to an increase in the frequency of major malfunctions, resulting in sudden delays, loss of sales, and increased costs of upkeep. It’s also important to insure yourself against sudden breakdowns of equipment by buying extended warranties from the manufacturer so you don’t end up paying money for repairs.
6. Promote Workplace Safety
Equipment that is not maintained properly is more prone to accidents and mishaps. Grease and gunk can be flammable, and this presents a very real fire hazard in your kitchen. Ensure the equipment you use is maintained to the highest standard based on the recommendations of the food, health, and fire safety department. This promotes a safe work environment for your employees – the topmost priority for any business owner. Training your employees in fire and workplace safety, and supplementing these measures with fire suppression equipment at your establishment will go a long way in maintaining a safe workplace.
How to Maintain Commercial Kitchen Equipment Properly?
Here’s how you should maintain important kitchen equipment properly:
Commercial refrigerators and freezers are some of the most essential pieces of machinery in a foodservice establishment. They allow you to store material for long periods and also help you in making ice – an essential commodity for refreshments. Proper maintenance of your refrigeration and freezer units is instrumental to your restaurant’s success. Here’s what you should know when maintaining refrigeration equipment:
- Be sure to check and clean the air filters in your refrigerators and ice makers regularly.
- Check for any damage to the door gaskets and air seals in the refrigerator to prevent leakage of airflow. Grime and dirt can damage the gaskets.
- Drain pans are used during defrosting, and the tubes in the refrigeration equipment must also be cleaned and sanitized regularly for hassle-free operation.
Commercial Cooking Equipment
Cooking equipment like ranges, griddles, fryers, and ovens form the backbone of the commercial kitchen industry. Without their optimal functioning, your business will encounter major hurdles in running through day-to-day operations. Due to their near-constant usage in the kitchen, these machines undergo a lot of wear & tear, alongside heavy grease and grime build-up. Their maintenance is not only important for seamless kitchen operations, but also for ensuring all health codes are followed by your establishment. Here are some tips to follow:
- Boil out fryers regularly to remove grease and carbon deposits. Don’t forget to inspect the gas supply lines and watch out for potential leaks. It’s also important to clean combustion fans in fryers to ensure safe operation.
- For ranges and griddles, it’s important to clean the burners, grates, flat tops, and grease pan regularly. Ideally, this must be done once every few hours or at the end of the day after operations have ceased. Indulge in deep cleaning for these machines at least once every week. Also, don’t forget to check the exhaust area for grease build-up. Replace the filters in case the buildup is too stubborn to remove.
How Often Should Your Commercial Kitchen Be Cleaned?
While equipment like ranges and ovens must be cleaned daily, ice makers and other refrigeration equipment must be cleaned at least once a week. Machines that work with dairy and other protein-based products must be cleaned at the end of the day or once every few hours. All surfaces should be wiped and sanitized at the end of each working day, and a deep cleaning must be undertaken at least once every two weeks or once every month without fail.
Now that you understand the importance of maintaining commercial kitchen machinery, ensure your establishment follows the maintenance guidelines provided by manufacturers, and reach out to the professionals when the cleaning gets too complex for your staff.