How to Keep Your Equipment Good as New
Not every appliance in your business is built to last, but with a little TLC, you should be able to get some great mileage out of them.
Performing a regular maintenance routine of your equipment may be far down on the daily to-do list, but if you forget it altogether it will certainly cost you. Better to spend on expert maintenance periodically than to find yourself with a warm freezer.
Protecting your investment
Every asset is an investment that needs care and a maintenance routine, and sometimes it’s as simple as keeping your eyes on some checkpoints.
There is no worse strategy than to be reactive with your maintenance. If you notice something’s wrong or hear a funny sound, it may be a little too late. For some equipment those signs may be the point of no return.
If you’re an owner or have a manager that genuinely cares about the business, you’re already on good track to keeping your investment protected.
Where’s the manual?
It’s OK if you’ve misplaced some of your device manuals over time. Most of them are now available online as PDFs or can be requested from the manufacturer. If you find a QR code on a sticker, turn on your camera and you should be directed to the product site.
At this point you’re probably hoping we’ll only tell you download and store them. Well, not today. You’ll have to do some homework—we promise it’ll be worth it.
Browse each manual so you can make a list of action items for daily maintenance. Stick them to each appliance or file them inside the business.
Generally, the manual includes important tips and special instructions to follow that are related to daily use. In addition, you’ll find maintenance routines that ensure your equipment continues to run correctly.
Optimizing your behind-the-scenes maintenance routines may do a lot for your wallet and your peace of mind.
Discuss with your staff which appliances are considered high value to the business. It’s essential for everyone to be on the same page and, feel a little guilty if they don’t give those key assets the care they so desperately need.
Your asking price
There may come a day when you decide to sell the business. Just imagine your realtor giving a tour to a potential buyer and having to admit that a certain appliance may have to be replaced.
The better you and your staff take care of your equipment, the harder it’ll be for the buyer to negotiate the price down.
But the fact that you’re reading this means you’re not selling. You want those things to make your product as fast and as perfect as money can buy.
The truth is that a faulty appliance may take a little longer to cook certain foods or liquids, which could extend your ticket times without an evident reason.
Skipping regular maintenance processes increases your costs, decreases profit margins, stresses your staff, and worst of all, could cause accidents or even fires. It might be a good time to take a look up the hood. Enough grease could be a fire hazard.
In order to be as productive as possible, and also preserve your mental and financial health, here are some of the specific points that should help you extend the lifespan of the most relevant working assets in your food and beverage business.
Fryers are the real MVPs
Deep fryers may be messy, but for many businesses they are a big moneymaker. Eliminating fat and carbon deposits in a cleaning routine are essential in order to preserve the condition of the appliance and, most importantly, the safety of your staff.
By the way, you may want to read about the Most Common Food and Beverage Business Accidents.
So, with the aim of keeping deep fryers up and running, remove and clean the oil weekly (at least). Of course, you have to let the machine cool down before any cleaning routine takes place in order to prevent accidents. Then, drain the machine oil to a container, and get to it.
Remember to also clean the fryer’s exterior, using warm water and degreaser liquid or vinegar.
Griddles and grills need love too
These bad boys are much more low maintenance than most of the equipment in your kitchen. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t need a maintenance routine. Not every griddle or grill is made of the same material, so go grab that manual to come up with a game plan and avoid any products that may damage them. For instance, using abrasive cleaners on some delicate surfaces could cost your warranty.
Grease filters deserve a special mention because you don’t want to deal with restricted airflows. Those are silent killers in the business. Cleaning regularly will also help you notice excessive amounts of grease or any damage. That way you’ll know when it’s time to replace them.
Watch out for undetected gas leaks
Any equipment that functions with gas is highly sensitive. Please monitor leaks, even if you don’t smell gas. This is a high priority checkpoint to prevent any accidents.
Every month, prepare a soap-based cleaner, and simply spray the gas conducting hoses with the preparation. If any bubbles appear, close the gas supply immediately and contact a technician.
Leave it to the pros
Some cooking equipment just needs a yearly routine and a skillset that goes beyond the kitchen. Pilots and hoods require specific cleaning tasks and products that only a true maintenance pro should handle.
Refrigeration is the life source of every food and beverage establishment. When it comes to this particular type of equipment, commercial refrigerators, freezers, walk-in coolers, and ice machines have some similar checkpoints.
The cleaning routine is key, not only to the aesthetic and organization of your food products and beverages, but it also ensures that it functions properly. Try to schedule cleaning for these units weekly or biweekly. Clean the interior and the exterior and use proper materials, as well as industrial cleaning products to perform this task. Remind your staff to use gloves.
Check gaskets, air filters, and coils frequently. Too much dust or grease is a sign you’re not doing it often enough, so use that as an indicator for frequency. Also, keep drain pans and tubes free of debris. Try to clean them regularly, and if some tube is damaged, replace it as soon as possible.
To wrap up
Taking care of your business assets with a maintenance routine plan may not be a glamorous task, but it can directly translate into increased productivity and a space that people will feel proud to work in.