Posted by Patrick Maness
In your restaurant’s kitchen, an equipment crisis can take many forms. Maybe it’s the loud banging in the refrigerator, the cold silence of the oven, the leaking pipes of the warewasher or the smoke coming from one of the refrigerated prep tables. Whatever the issue, if you smell it, see it or hear it, you’ve got problems. And to get the issue fixed, you’ve got another bill.
Now, if only you could prevent these crises from happening in the first place. That may be every foodservice professional's dream, but try as you might you can’t prevent equipment from breaking down. It just happens. Equipment ages and then wears out after heavy use. This normal wear and tear is a fact of business, of course, but there is plenty you can do to prevent your equipment from aging prematurely and to postpone those expensive repairs and replacements for as long as possible.
To preserve the shelf life of your equipment, consider the following tips:
Make sure all equipment is kept clean and maintained. Each piece of equipment should be thoroughly cleaned each night to prevent dirt and debris from slowly gaining a foothold. Assign certain pieces of equipment to team members each night, based on their work station, their departure time or another method of your choosing. Then, make sure this cleaning is being done to satisfaction. Your HVAC system and all refrigeration units should also be serviced annually by a trained technician to ensure they are running properly and all of the filters and coils are cleaned.
Check for waste. Feel around the seals of your stand-up and walk-in refrigeration systems. If a seal is faulty, it means your system is battling the outside elements to maintain the desired temperature. This excess work will cause the motor to burn out more quickly, so it's important to rectify the problem immediately by repairing the gap. Doing so will save you a costly replacement.
Make sure equipment is used properly. Whether it’s the result of belligerence or a lack of training, misuse of equipment can quickly damage a machine. Establish proper training protocols and ensure newer employees always work with a veteran staff member to learn the skills necessary to create an amazing product while preserving your equipment.
Start with a high-quality product. In the foodservice industry, you get what you pay for. When you buy equipment from a quality, nationally recognized manufacturer, you’re investing in equipment you’ll use for years. When the time comes to replace a piece of equipment in your restaurant, seek out the advice of your restaurant equipment and supplies distributor; they’ll help you find the right equipment to protect your budget, all while delivering a quality product, now and in the years ahead.
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