What are some common preventive maintenance tasks for your restaurant kitchen equipment?
Whether it’s through a maintenance plan or routine warranty work, many restaurants have checkups done on their kitchen equipment. But what can you do in the meantime to keep your establishment running smoothly? Here are four preventive maintenance tasks every restaurant should perform regularly on their commercial kitchen equipment.
1. Clean the Condenser Coils in Refrigeration Units
A restaurant’s refrigerators and freezers are crucial for storing different ingredients. When the condenser coil is covered in dust or grease, it can hinder the performance of the unit. Large buildups of debris can increase temperate inside the cooling cabinet, which can increase power consumption and eventually break the compressor. That scenario not only drives repair costs, but it also increases downtime and leads to spoiled products.
Most manufacturers recommend cleaning the condenser coil once every three months. The task is easy to do, so it won’t take too much time or effort. All you need is a screwdriver to remove the unit’s front grill and a powerful vacuum to clean off dust. Make sure to follow the specific instructions in the unit’s owner’s manual. If the coil has any visible damage, have it replaced by an authorized service technician.
2. Check Door Gaskets and Hinges
Whether it’s refrigerators or ovens, check the door gaskets and hinges frequently. Dirty or damaged gaskets can cause air or heat to escape from the unit, which can overwork the equipment. Every couple of months, clean off any grease or debris using a clean cloth with warm water and soap. Use a non-abrasive sponge and degreasing agent if grease is stuck on the gasket. If you notice any rips or tears, follow the replacement procedure in the equipment manual or contact a technician to replace the gasket.
Broken or loose hinges can cause the door to stay ajar. Fasten the screws using the appropriate screwdriver. If the hinges need to be replaced, the new ones should be specific to your model. For instance, if the unit uses flush hinges, the replacements should be the same. Using offset options can keep the door cracked open, preventing it from properly sealing shut.
3. Clean or Replace Your Filters
Cleaning the filters on your kitchen equipment should be done at least every two months. This goes for all major units, from ice machines and refrigerators to fryers and ovens. Depending on the unit, too much dust or grease on the filters can prevent proper air ventilation or water flow. Similar to condenser coils, use a vacuum and degreasing agent to remove any debris and stuck-on grease. If the filters are really dirty, you can clean them with a damp cloth and warm water.
In some cases, a filter covered in heavy amounts of dirt or grease is better off being replaced. This prevents any further damage from popping up after increased usage. Commercial fryers use a special kind of filter called that can’t be cleaned. Filter paper, also known as envelopes, catches leftover food particles at the bottom of the frypot so the oil is free from debris. Because of its thin construction, filter paper should at least be replaced every few days. If you use your fryer very frequently, consider replacing the paper daily.
4. Care for Your Combi
Versatility is best trait of a combi oven. This piece of equipment combines convection, steam and combination cooking, letting you do everything from baking to poaching in one place. That is why routine cleaning and maintenance is key to increasing a combi’s lifespan.
Since the steam mode injects water into the oven, large buildups of calcium and mineral deposits can find their way on the steam generator. Make sure you descale the oven according to the manufacturer’s recommended time cycle. You also should clean the intake fan on a weekly basis. A clean intake fan helps keep hot air flowing around the cooking chamber, which is crucial for convection cooking.
Before you dive deeply into any project, always check to see if the parts you’re maintaining show any signs of damage. To keep the unit in peak performance, have an authorized technician use original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. OEM foodservice parts are designed to fit and function on your exact piece of equipment, ensuring it stays safe, efficient and protected under warranty.