Staying on top of your kitchen’s professional-grade equipment not only extends their performance but ultimately saves money on expensive repairs. According to CHD Expert, the average lifespan for commercial kitchen equipment is around 10 years. This number can increase to 25 years, depending on the type of appliance and how well it’s maintained.
It’s always better to be proactive than reactive when it comes to the equipment your team uses every day. Delaying maintenance could cost upwards of 30 times more than if an intervention had taken place sooner. And for many restaurants and other foodservice business owners, this is a cost they would happily avoid.
Cleaning and sanitizing appliances fall on the shoulders of the kitchen staff. To meet health and safety requirements, they also conduct temperature checks on cold storage, ovens, and other essential equipment.
Part of the staff’s responsibilities includes keeping a maintenance log listing who checked the appliances, when they did it, and if they’re functioning correctly. This record is extremely helpful to troubleshoot issues if any equipment goes out of commission.
But kitchen staff aren’t solely responsible for maintaining their equipment. Scheduling a service technician to come out at least every six months can help catch problems before they become catastrophes.
Many countries have established guidelines for maintaining and operating commercial equipment. For example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has listed its recommended equipment service requirements within its 700+ page Food Code. These guidelines also extend into the daily, weekly, and monthly logs professional kitchens use to maintain their appliances.
Commercial Cooling & Refrigeration Units
Reach-in refrigerators and freezers, ice machines, walk-ins, and other cooling units require monthly checks to make sure they’re running optimally. Your team should regularly check on the following parts within these appliances to help prevent unnecessary repairs.
Grease and other dirt can build up on coolers, refrigerators, and ice machines, impacting their airflow. Check your cooling unit’s air filters every month and replace any showing signs of dust, grime, and evidence of damage.
Freezers and refrigerators doors require a tight seal to hold in cold air and stabilize the appliances’ temperature. Air can escape through cracks and tears around refrigerator door gaskets. When this happens, the effectiveness of these appliances is put in jeopardy. And it’s why door gaskets and hinges should be inspected at least once every quarter for any defects.
Drain tubing and pans
Slime, sludge, and leaking water can collect within refrigeration units, creating a potential health hazard. Cleaning and replacing dirty tubing or pans help circumvent these issues that can cause restaurants to get dinged during health inspections.
Fans, coils, and motors
When a commercial refrigerator motor stops working, the clock starts ticking before the food inside the fridge spoils. Staff should check internal components each month to prevent the loss of your valuable, fresh ingredients. During this inspection, they’ll remove any accumulated dust around fans and coils that could cause a mechanical failure.
Ice machines should hold a consistent temperature throughout the day and cycle through a normal harvest time, which immediately begins after the maximum freezing process ends. Depending on the type of machine, it runs, on average, between 1.5 to 2 minutes. When the harvest time exceeds this, it’s a sign that the ice machine needs to be checked.
Commercial Cooking & Warming Units
Ovens, griddles, ranges, fryers, and grills are the heart of commercial kitchens. And if any of this equipment suddenly conks out, it can back up or even shut down service. Here are a few components staff should check out at least once a month as part of their maintenance checklist.
Burners and intakes
Scrub range tops and griddles using warm water and a mild detergent daily to remove any grease stuck to the surface. As part of the daily maintenance checklist, you’ll also inspect the burner intakes and remove any obstructions. Then once a month, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and deep clean griddles and range tops. Scouring these surfaces will get rid of any grime around and underneath them.
Frayed and worn out wires could cause ovens, grills, or other devices to stop working — or worse, become a fire hazard. Wires and contacts should be checked monthly to catch any issues with the equipment not maintaining their proper temperature or cooking food evenly.
Gas valves and hoses
Gas leaks can very quickly lead to a dangerous, if not deadly, situation. Valves and hoses attached to gas lines should be inspected at least once a month. Any suspected leaks should be immediately examined by a plumber or gas utility professional.
When commercial fryers aren’t properly maintained, chances are high that they’ll eventually clog up. Grease filters should be cleaned daily, with more extensive scrubbings taking place at least once a week.
Much like cooling and warming kitchen equipment, mixers and dishwashers also need special attention. Beyond wiping them down thoroughly each day, here are a few additional tips to keep in mind:
Stainless steel blades
Mixer blades made from stainless steel should always be washed daily with gentle non-chloride or alkaline chlorinated detergents. Avoid any cleaning agents made with hydrochloric acid, which are corrosive and can damage steel blades, decreasing your mixer’s performance.
Water filter and tank
Commercial dishwashers go through a lot during service and can quickly become stopped up if food isn’t scraped off before going in. It’s recommended to clean dishwasher filters after every 20 cycles and top off the water tank. Each week, you should also run the descale (or delime) cycle to eliminate mineral deposits caused by hard water.
Your menu, volume of service, and customer preferences — among other things — factor into choosing the right equipment for your foodservice business. ContekPro’s Precision and Bolt series shipping container kitchens come pre-assembled and fully installed with the same premium appliances found in traditional construction.
Each unit is built for speed and efficiency. Exactly what kitchen professionals need to execute their menus. They deserve to work in an environment using the best equipment to get the job done.
Reach out to speak with one of our representatives to discuss equipment options for your next commercial kitchen. We’re always happy to help.