Just as creating dishes is an art, so is the maintenance of your commercial kitchen equipment. While these appliances are built heavy-duty for busy situations, they also need a little tender loving care. Needless to say, regular maintenance lessens the risk of accidents and the likelihood of equipment breakdowns.
When your kitchen is not fully functional, foods may perish and dishes can be compromised. If the breakdown is big, it may halt the kitchen’s operation. It is also important to remember that most commercial kitchen equipment suppliers void warranty if the appliances are not properly maintained. These are the reasons why regular and preventative maintenance is necessary.
Is there any rule to follow when maintaining a commercial kitchen?
While commercial kitchens may approach maintenance differently, there is one common denominator: all food service businesses must adhere to law and regulation guidelines.
Rules may differ depending on where your business is located. For example, in Australia, maintenance practices must meet the compliance of Australian Standard AS 1851.6 1997. This is necessary so that your business meets all the insurance, OH&S, and applicable government regulations. There is a hefty penalty when found guilty of poor cleanliness standards upon Health Inspection.
How often should you do kitchen maintenance?
A good maintenance schedule is broken down into two categories: routine and preventive maintenance. Routine maintenance is a regular schedule that can be done daily, weekly, monthly, and bi-annually. Preventive maintenance is a set schedule performed to help prevent unexpected failures of equipment.
How to thoroughly clean your kitchen
Cleaning works hand in hand with maintenance. Not only cleanliness is a legal requirement, but it also avoids cross-contamination among foods and the risk of foodborne illnesses. Different spaces in a kitchen require different cleaning methods and solutions.
Countertops, prep tables, and other hard surfaces are places where bacteria thrive. Since these areas are frequently used, they should be cleaned several times a day, essentially after every usage.
Wipe down appliances that are frequently used such as microwaves, coffee makers, toasters, ranges, and ovens. There should be a daily routine of cleaning and maintenance for these. These commercial kitchen equipment should be deep cleaned at least two times a month.
Aside from regular deep cleaning, fryers should be boiled out once or twice a week to sanitize. Do the same for the frying baskets. Do a full tank deep cleansing to remove old oil and burnt-on food sediments in your frying equipment.
Cooktops, burners, and flattops should be scrubbed down and disinfected. Gunk, grime, and oil (which affect food quality!) easily accumulate on these commercial cooking equipment, so deep clean maintenance is necessary.
Refrigerators should have weekly and monthly regular maintenance. Regularly clean both exterior and interior. Create a schedule to check condenser coils, evaporator coils, pans, tubes, door gaskets, and air filters.
Grill grates and charbroilers gather stubborn grease. You can use a dedicated wire brush to remove food and ashy residue that are stuck in the grates. Do this while the equipment is hot but not on. Once the debris is removed and the equipment cooled down, you can soak the surface with warm, soapy water. Regular maintenance on these commercial kitchen equipment is necessary to prevent grease fires and to maintain food quality.
Storage areas need regular attention as well. Clean the storage units two to three times a year to ensure there’s no dust, crumbs, and loose items that may attract insects and mice.
For larger commercial kitchen appliances that need to be cleaned and maintained inside out, it’s highly recommended to hire professionals. For example, a commercial fridge’s condenser coil is a tricky part to maintain for an untrained eye. In situations like this, it’s best to bring professionals to deep clean, maintain and check up for such appliances.
Cleaning the often-forgotten areas in the kitchen
Some areas in commercial kitchens are often neglected or forgotten. These overlooked areas are breeding grounds for germs and they pose fire hazard risks.
- Over time, your vent hood accumulates debris and grease that could be a potential fire hazard. Not only that the grease looks bad but it can emit a foul odour. So make sure to clean those hoods.
- Those small spaces where your floor meets the cabinets (or any kitchen appliance!) have collected crumbs, dirt, and grime over time. Since these are dark and dirty areas, insects and mice love them.
- Light fittings are often overlooked. They may collect dust, dirty, and worse, fly droppings. Make sure to have a regular maintenance schedule for these.
- Refrigerator coils can also accumulate debris, dust, and gunk which may reduce their efficiency so make sure to put them in your maintenance schedule.
- Check out your spice area. If you don’t have routine maintenance for it, it has likely gathered grease and dust. A quick wipe-down after every shift would help maintain their cleanliness. Doing so will also keep you on track of your spice inventories.
Create a checklist for commitment
It is imperative that a commercial kitchen have ongoing maintenance routines to prevent risks and penalties. The key to keeping up with your maintenance commitments is to have plans and checklists. Here are some suggestions on how to categorize your maintenance schedule:
- Daily, weekly, monthly, bi-annual, and annual maintenance.
- Separate your restaurant and kitchen or back-of-house checklist.
- Plan unscheduled maintenance which is a strategy to quickly repair or replace an asset in case it falters.
Your ideal kitchen maintenance plan should have an outline for different dedicated times. These checklists must be very specific on how and when these tasks should be done. They need to mention who is responsible for specific tasks. Cleaning products and equipment should also be specified.
Remember the basics when it comes to handling commercial kitchen equipment. Always read the manual, not just to set up the appliance but also to learn how to properly maintain it. Servicing and warranty details are commonly in the manual, so it’s important to read them.
Register the warranty. Knowing the terms helps limit legal liabilities due to equipment mishandling. The manual likely details a good maintenance schedule for your specific appliance. The manual will also give you details on specific compatible accessories and a list of spare parts in case of breakdowns.
Be careful about cleaning solutions. When purchasing an appliance from a commercial kitchen equipment supplier, make sure to consult about specific cleaning solutions that work best. In some cases, commercial kitchen suppliers may void a warranty if you use certain cleaning solutions.
Final thoughts when it comes to commercial kitchen maintenance
The kitchen is a bustling place where wonders and chaos happen all at once. A proactive maintenance approach is not only necessary to comply with regulations but it ensures food quality, safety, and efficiency of business operations. Invest the time and resources to do regular and preventive maintenance for your back-of-house and commercial kitchen equipment.
About Federal Hospitality Equipment F.H.E
Federal Hospitality Equipment (F.H.E) is an exclusive Australian Commercial Kitchen Equipment importer, having an excellent history of more than forty-five years serving the commercial catering, baking, and food industries. We have office offices, showrooms, and warehouses in New South Wales (NSW supports the ACT), Queensland (QLD), South Australia (SA), supporting Tasmania (TAS) and the Northern Territory (NT), Victoria (VIC), Western Australia (WA) and in New Zealand, Auckland