How to Properly Maintain Commercial Kitchen Equipment
When you own or manage a commercial kitchen, you must maintain it to the highest standards.
00:11 24 September 2021
Not only does this ensure proper safety and cleanliness, but it protects your bottom line and prevents serious breakdowns that could put your business at risk.
Why Commercial Kitchen Maintenance Matters
Setting up and operating a commercial kitchen isn’t cheap. So if you’re going to do it, you might as well do it correctly. That means investing in proper commercial kitchen maintenance. Here are a few specific reasons why:
- Reliability. Just because your fryer is working today doesn’t mean it’ll work tomorrow. And just because your walk-in cooler has maintained the proper temperature for the past three years, doesn’t mean it’ll do so for the next three years. Maintenance is necessary to ensure reliability. A failure to invest in maintenance could lead a system to fail at just the wrong time.
- Cost-savings. It’s much cheaper to replace a part when it’s near the end of its useful life than to wait until the part malfunctions and causes a larger problem with the entire system.
- Extended life. Well-maintained systems don’t break down nearly as often as systems that aren’t maintained. As a result, you typically get a longer lifespan out of refrigerators, freezers, fryers, and ovens that are put on a maintenance schedule.
- Safety. Certain cooking systems can actually become dangerous to your kitchen staff if they aren’t properly cleaned and maintained. By staying on top of these systems, you’ll keep your team safe. (And they’ll feel respected and appreciated.)
- Ensures compliance. Between OSHA rules, FDA regulations, and local codes, you can’t afford to let maintenance slide. Doing so could lead to fines, penalties, and even lawsuits.
As you can see, there’s a lot on the line. And even though it can feel like an inconvenience at times, the long-term benefits far outweigh the up-front costs.
4 Simple Tips for Proper Maintenance
Commercial kitchen maintenance can feel overwhelming at times. However, it’s simply a matter of implementing the right plan and sticking with it. Keeping this in mind, here are several tips you may find helpful:
- Clean and Sanitize Regularly
So much of commercial kitchen maintenance is about keeping your systems, surfaces, and parts clean and sanitized. Doing so keeps food particles, debris, dust, grime, and rust from building up and causing failure.
Most people think they’ll eventually get around to cleaning. But if there’s no schedule or plan, it’ll continually get pushed to the back burner and left for another day. That’s why we recommend creating regular cleaning schedules for every system, appliance, and surface in your kitchen. (Not only that, but there should be specific employees responsible for doing each task.)
- Schedule Preventative Maintenance
Along those same lines, it’s important to schedule preventive maintenance as well. This is especially important when it comes to vital systems like ovens, fryers, and refrigeration systems.
Not sure which systems should be on a preventative maintenance schedule? Go through each of them and consider what would happen if it suddenly broke down on your busiest day of the year. What would the ramifications be? If it would compromise your safety, efficiency, or revenue, then it’s something you should be maintaining on a preventative basis.
- Keep Replacement Parts on Hand (or on Speed Dial)
There are certain maintenance jobs that require a professional technician to address. However, there are things that you can do on your own. In these cases, it’s smart to have replacement parts on hand. (Or if it doesn’t make sense to keep them on hand, at least have the right supplier on speed dial. For example, Walk-In Parts Express is known for quickly shipping walk-in cooler and freezer parts.)
- Train Your Staff
A well-trained staff is a huge asset. Train them to understand the systems and appliances they’re using. Teach them how to inspect, clean, and even repair certain mechanisms. This gives you extra sets of eyes, which are invaluable when you have other tasks and distractions on your plate.
Adding it All Up
If you clean and sanitize on a regular basis, consistently schedule preventative maintenance, keep replacement parts on hand, and train your staff well, you’ll do great. The key is to continue to prioritize maintenance as the years pass – even when it seems repetitive and unnecessary.