The steps you take to maintain kitchen equipment can help you avoid staff injury, costly repairs and downtime, and unsanitary conditions in your operation. If there any areas of your business where you have delayed maintenance due to constraints in time or other resources, having an updated maintenance schedule and task list may help you prioritize critical items. First, draft a schedule outlining when key equipment needs to be cleaned and inspected based on its age and frequency of use. Then create a list of each piece of food preparation equipment in your operation, including everything from fryers and grease filters to ice machines and water filters. For each item, list the cleaning and maintenance tasks that must be completed and when, along with any special instructions needed. Then select dates for the completion of these tasks so you can track them — whether manually or through an online system that automatically alerts you to these tasks.
The hot months can strain your appliances and also make you ever more reliant on them functioning properly. When it comes to your walk-in refrigerator, having staff coming in and out at regular intervals can not only pose food safety risks but also strain your condenser, which has to work that much harder to function as it should. Consider having your refrigerator serviced before there is a problem that takes it out of commission. It also helps to reinforce with staff (with reminders or even physical obstacles like hanging flaps at the door) the need to minimize trips in and out of the cooler.
We’ve all got pandemic fatigue – and it’s especially evident in restaurants, where people are gathering again with friends, mask-free, over their favorite food and drink. But restaurants are also at an important inflection point when it comes safety, having to decide how many lockdown-inspired protocols should remain – and perhaps putting off safety improvements that aren’t immediately necessary. Many of those improvements have to do with ventilation – including system inspections and upgrades, new HVAC filters, and the use of small air filtration units throughout a restaurant that can help protect indoor air quality. A recent report in The Atlantic advises operators to take this time to make sure they are as ready as they can be to manage future variants or separate virus outbreaks (and to have a clear-eyed view about spending money on more-visible but less-effective protocols that fall into the realm of pandemic theater). What valuable safety lessons from the pandemic could you try to ensure don’t get put on the back burner as concern about the pandemic recedes?
Your staff needs to be able to focus on preparing food, serving guests and keeping your facility clean. Drains and dishwashers that are slow to clear, and other equipment that isn’t working effectively can not only consume your staff’s time but also potentially cause a food safety problem. As the new year begins, make it a priority to check equipment and schedule any needed maintenance and repairs to ensure your staff can stay focused on the task of serving guests.