March 17, 2020

Kitchen equipment breakdowns can be disastrous for foodservice businesses. When refrigerators break, restaurants often toss out valuable produce and ingredients leading to financial loss. Losing an oven or grill can lead to longer wait times on food and poorly maintained equipment can cause catastrophic fires.

Fortunately, you can avoid most kitchen equipment disasters with simple maintenance checks.

Dedicating time to routine maintenance is literally worth the cost — it’s far cheaper to repair or maintain appliances that completely replace them. Also, when investing in maintenance, you’re far more likely to avoid additional costs such as replacing lost perishables or rebuilding a burned-down kitchen.

Here we’ll review key best practices you can adopt to keep your commercial kitchen equipment ready for prime time.

Refrigeration Maintenance Tips

  1. Check temperature settings: If set too low, refrigeration units will work harder than necessary and likely wear out sooner.
  2. Keep refrigerators clean and organized: Proper air flow assists cooling mechanisms, and residue buildup can damage refrigeration parts.
  3. Check for wetness: You want to keep refrigeration units as dry as possible to prevent coils from freezing.
  4. Clean your icemakers: Once per month, disassemble your ice maker and clean each part.
  5. Clean all coils: Once every few months, use a brush and a shop vacuum to clean condenser and evaporator coils.

Grill & Oven Maintenance Tips

  1. Check the oven door seal: If it isn’t airtight, heat will escape, and the oven must work extra to maintain temperatures.
  2. Clean grills, grates, and burners: Each surface should be cleaned daily, and deeper cleanings may be needed on a less frequent basis.
  3. Clean dip trays: Keep these trays beneath burners and grates clean to reduce the risk of fires.
  4. Check the fan hinges on convection and combination ovens: Keep them oiled and tighten as needed.
  5. Check grease filters on overhead exhaust units. Many restaurants clean these filters nightly to reduce the risk of grease fires.
  6. Keep your oven clean: Regular cleaning sessions will extend the life of your oven. Promptly clean any spills and wipe down oven racks each day. Do a monthly deep cleaning to remove food traces and particles — do this even with self-cleaning models.

Dishwasher Maintenance Tips

  1. Check the nozzles: Remove the wash and rinse arms or rotors and make sure each nozzle is clear. They regularly get clogged by food residue, seeds, toothpicks, limescale, and other debris. Over time, this can damage the appliance and cause dishes to not be thoroughly cleaned.
  2. Check for food particles and debris: The buildup of debris can cause clogs and permanent damage to components.
  3. Check the filter: Remove any food buildup and refill the water tank. This is recommended for every 20 uses.
  4. Leave your dishwasher door open each night: This helps the unit air dry and will help preserve the life of components.

Fryer Maintenance Tips

  1. Clean combustion fans: Do this once per month to prevent appliance strain and breakdowns.
  2. Boil out your fryer: Consult your owner’s manual for instructions. This usually happens once per week.
  3. Inspect the fry pot: Check for deterioration that could result in leaks.
  4. Check for gas leaks: Once each month, spray the gas supply hoses with soapy waters and check for bubbling. If you see bubbling. If you see bubbling, then there is a leak.

Final Thoughts

Performing regular maintenance on your commercial kitchen equipment will help avoid costly repairs that could disrupt your workflow and your bottom line. In addition to following these simple maintenance tips, be sure to contact professional certified technicians as required by your appliance manufacturers. Investing in proper maintenance is a much better choice than allowing equipment to fall into states of disrepair.

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