Maintaining Your Equipment
One restaurant equipment service company estimates that 20-40% of its repair calls could have been prevented through employee education and cleaning. We see that in our business also, especially with refrigeration. Protect your investment and reduce service calls with some of these simple tips...
GENERAL: Clean, clean, clean! Build-up from food and grease wears equipment down. Dirty equipment has to work harder and the parts wear out faster. Seals on doors, whether fridges, prep tables, or ovens should be kept free of food particles, which keep the seals from doing their job and eventually breaks down the seal itself.
REFRIGERATION: Summer is especially hard on any type of refrigeration. If you notice your fridge or freezer not holding its temperature, it could need defrosting. Take everything out - turn the temperature up to its warmest setting (don't turn it completely off) and let it defrost for a day. Slowly turn the dial back down to the setting you want and many times this takes care of the problem. In addition, keep coils and vents clean, make sure you have adequate ventilation around the fridge, and don't expect the unit to overcome extreme heat (putting a fan on the compressor can help overcome excessively hot conditions).
STOVE: The more your stove is burdened with accumulated debris, the harder it will have to work. Clean clogged burners with a stiff wire or pipe cleaner, remove food that is lodged under the burners, lids, rings, etc. Clean reflective pans if your stove has them, if not, you can use aluminum foil as this will not only help direct more heat to the cookware, but will also make cleaning easier.
OVENS: Train your staff to not bang oven doors open and shut - this just breaks the hinges down. Keep the door and seals clean as this will keep heat from escaping. Clean the bottom and linings of the oven regularly - encrusted foods wear metal down.
FRYERS: Not only will keeping your fryer clean (and filtering your oil daily) extend its life, but your customers will be happier. Accumulated crumbs and sediment in the fryer pot reduces the efficiency of the fryer and old, dirty oil makes food taste like it has been fried in, uh, old, dirty oil. Smoking oil usually means that either the temperature is set too high on your fryer or that the oil has broken down and needs to be changed.
GRILLS AND CHARBROILERS: Can you guess? Keep these super clean to increase efficiency. Also, surfaces that haven't been cleaned well retain the odor and taste of previously cooked items. Customers really don't want to taste last night's hamburgers in the next morning's eggs.
FOUNTAIN HEADS: Soak your nozzles in carbonated water each night, clean the nozzle heads with warm water, clean the drip pan and run clean, warm water through the drain.
Linda Doria has many years experience in both managing and owning restaurants and in the restaurant equipment business.
She is available for private consulting @ 505.699.5774 (located in Dallas area)