Nothing is worse than having a machine go down in the middle of the dinner rush, which is why foodservice equipment maintenance is so important. Being a ventless kitchen equipment manufacturer, we’ve seen our fair share of horror stories when it comes to machines breaking down at the worst times.We always do our best to assist in machine troubleshooting and repair, but these breakdowns can be costly even if they have a quick fix.
The only way to ensure trouble-free service from your foodservice equipment is to execute a regular maintenance routine. Regular maintenance, which includes cleaning, will keep your equipment in good working order and potentially catch small malfunctions or worn parts before they cause you a much larger, expensive breakdown. Regardless of what type of equipment you’re using, we’ve got nine simple maintenance tips to keep your equipment in good working order!
Extra, Extra, Read All About It – First and foremost, read your owner’s manual. We know it’s a boring read, we know it’s not fun, and we know that a lot of the information you read will seem superfluous. But it’s imperative that you read the owner’s manual and get yourself acquainted with each and every new piece of equipment – even the ones you already think you know! This will give you basic training and maintenance routines that you’ll need to know in the long run.
Training Day – Untrained or poorly trained employees are your worst enemy when it comes to equipment maintenance, so be sure to thoroughly train all employees on your equipment. If your equipment is misused or mishandled, good luck getting your warranty to cover maintenance. Most manufacturers are strict on making sure the proper care was given to the machine before covering and maintenance costs as part of a warranty claim.
PRO TIP – Many equipment manufacturers and dealers provide easy to follow printable guides that you can print and store/display near your equipment. Pictorial guides can often help to serve as a reminder of appropriate maintenance practices for your employees. AutoFry and MultiChef, for example, have pictorial cleaning guides for download here!
Everyday I’m Cleaning – You wouldn’t go to bed without brushing your teeth would you? The same principle should apply to turning off your kitchen lights before you’ve cleaned your machinery each day. Daily cleaning is an essential part of a routine maintenance schedule and should be scheduled into your employees time in the kitchen.
Dig Deeper – Weekly, bi weekly, monthly… whatever your owner’s manual suggests as a proper time frame for deep cleaning machine, is the timeline you should follow. Set aside time for deep cleanings according to the owner’s manual. Deep cleanings often take more time than daily cleanings, but they will remove more of the dirt and grime that cakes on over time.
The Parts They Are a-Changin’ – Because you read your owner’s manual, you know if your machine requires regular component replacement. Filters for example are a common component that require regular replacement. Make sure you know the timeline for which you need to order new components and stay on top of your changes.
PRO TIP – Many equipment manufacturers and dealers provide programs to aid in your remembering to change equipment components. AutoFry for example has a filter change reminder email program which not only emails you each time your due for a filter change but also provides you with a coupon towards your next filter purchase.
If It IS Broke DO Fix it! – This is such a simple tip, yet you’d be surprise to hear how many customer calls we get from people who continued using their equipment even though they knew certain parts were no longer operational. Always replace worn or broken parts as soon as you notice their damage. This will prevent larger breakdowns and save money over time.
Don’t Throw Caution To the Wind – Different equipment reacts to different cleaning chemicals. Always refer to your owner’s manual when it comes to choosing the appropriate cleaning solutions for your kitchen equipment. Certain metals and plastics can have adverse reactions to strong chemicals so you always want to make sure the cleaning solution you’re using is the right one!
PRO TIP – Stainless Steel is a misleading name, because the fact is, stainless steel will become stained, tarnished or corroded when not properly maintained. Be sure to use stainless steel-safe cleaner and always use it with a soft wash cloth to keep your stainless steel looking pristine.
We Didn’t Start the Fire – Fire suppression systems are only good to have if you’re sure they’re going to work. Each city and town has their own fire system maintenance schedules and you should always refer to them to decide how often your fire suppression systems need to be evaluated. Once you know fire suppression testing schedule, be sure to stick to it, to prevent any fines for non-compliance.
Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst – Even with the best maintenance schedule, equipment is bound to break down at some point, especially if it’s used all the time. This is why a recent article from the Nation’s Restaurant News actually encourages operators to set aside a small portion of your annual sales each year to have in the event of equipment breakdown. Once you’ve got some back up funds, you won’t feel so hopeless when something goes down