Commercial kitchen equipment maintenance: Tips for success

Efficiency starts with a plan

“If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean.”

Kitchen staff and management alike know food preparation is a messy job that requires constant clean-up. The constant onslaught of grease, grime and acids combined with normal wear make planned maintenance in a commercial kitchen a must for even the most robust appliances.

Being proactive can make a big difference to your bottom line. Replacing worn parts before failure helps prevent downtime during peak service times, which can lead to paying costly urgent call fees and rush charges for shipping needed parts. It also helps avoid the risk of dreaded customer dissatisfaction from unavailability of desired items or slower service times from having to work around downed equipment.

Not only can keeping your equipment in top condition improve efficiency, it can also reduce your expenses by helping to lower electricity costs and extend the life of your equipment.

And let’s not forget that proper commercial kitchen equipment maintenance is essential to creating an excellent customer experience. Clean, efficient equipment helps protect your customers and employees while producing consistently good food quality and service.

Keeping basic commercial kitchen equipment maintenance in-house

Although you will need a service professional for major jobs, there are many simple commercial kitchen equipment maintenance tasks that operators can perform themselves, such as commercial kitchen hood filter cleaning, replacing kitchen gaskets, basic commercial kitchen lighting repair, cleaning or replacing commercial kitchen casters, and replacing sifter brushes.

Commercial kitchen hood filter cleaning

When kitchen hoods are coated with grease and grime, their airflow becomes restricted, making them less efficient at removing grease, smoke and odor. Regular cleaning keeps them operating at their best.

After shutting off power to the unit and allowing it to cool, your operators can remove the grease traps, drain the grease, soak the traps in a solution of water and degreaser and allow them to air dry.

They can then remove the filters for soaking and scrubbing to remove all debris that is blocking airflow. This is also the time to inspect them for tears and damage to determine if they need replacement.

Next comes scrubbing the hood’s interior and exterior with the degreaser and water solution to remove built-up grease and caked-on residue, and wiping down all surfaces to keep the unit safe for service and ready for optimal performance.

Replacing gaskets in your kitchen

Gaskets make a seal where two parts meet, keeping gases or fluids from leaking out. They are also helpful in reducing friction between the parts, which extends the life of the components and reduces vibration — which may even make the equipment safer to use.

You can find gaskets on just about every connection point in your kitchen, such as refrigerator or walk-in doors, sinks, faucets, drains and stoves. Because they are made of soft materials, gaskets are perfect for forming to surfaces to create a tight seal. This softness also makes them some of the most wearable parts in your kitchen, subject to shifting, drying out and breakage — making them a must on your commercial kitchen equipment maintenance checklist.

Another place you may have a gasket is if your operation uses an AyrKing marinator. AyrKing marinators reduce the time needed to marinate proteins from hours to minutes through a tumbling process — or get the more intensive results of overnight marination in as little as 20 minutes by adding the vacuumed chamber to the tumbling process.

These time and labor-saving units use a drum gasket that needs to be checked regularly to ensure that your marinator is sealing properly.

Basic commercial kitchen lighting repair

Commercial kitchen lighting is more than just a convenience — it’s essential for ensuring employee safety and avoiding negligence-based claims.

Regularly checking and replacing bulbs throughout the kitchen is important, particularly inside walk-in coolers and freezers. Making a checklist of bulb locations helps ensure that commercial kitchen lighting in easily-overlooked locations, such as ovens, is inspected regularly.

Cleaning or replacing commercial kitchen casters

Commercial kitchen casters take a beating as they constantly roll across your busy kitchen floor getting caked with dirt and grime and becoming vulnerable to breakage and rust.

It’s easy to add a quick caster inspection to your operator’s weekly side work checklist to make sure the casters are free of debris and functioning well. When it’s time for replacements, consider purchasing NSF-approved commercial kitchen casters, which are easier to clean and less likely to hold in harmful bacteria than other casters.

Replacing sifter brushes

All AyrKing Breader Blender Sifter (BBS) models use a sifter brush as an auger, blending and mixing seasonings evenly throughout the breading mixture for better flavor consistency and ejecting unwanted doughballs. But the bristles on a sifter brush can weaken over time, becoming ineffective and wasting valuable ingredients.

If you have a BBS from AyrKing, replacing your sifter brush is one of the most important commercial kitchen equipment maintenance tasks you can perform. Annual replacement keeps your BBS running cleanly and efficiently, helping extend the life of your breading mixtures and reducing your ingredient costs up to 40%.

Planned maintenance protects employees and ensures food safety

Proper commercial kitchen equipment maintenance is a great way to extend the life of your investment and improve your operation’s bottom line, but it can have an even greater impact on employee and food safety.

Ranges free of built-up grease and debris are less likely to flare up and injure your cooks. Well-maintained casters are less likely to break while being pushed across the floor under heavy load, sending whatever is being carried across the kitchen. Gaskets that are regularly replaced are less likely to leak liquids that could lead to a slip and fall.

Improper commercial kitchen equipment maintenance could also hide invisible dangers in the food served to your customers. Worn out refrigerator gaskets could allow warm air to seep in, compromising food safety. Uncleaned sifter brushes could hold bacteria that can grow and transfer onto the food that passes through them. Food may become trapped in areas on equipment that are more difficult to access, becoming a haven for bacteria.

Failure to properly maintain your equipment can leave your operation vulnerable to shutdown or penalties after routine food safety inspections. Or, even worse, it could lead to employees being injured and customers becoming ill, both of which can have far-reaching impact on your operation’s reputation, bottom line, and staff morale.

Planned maintenance in a commercial kitchen is part of a winning strategy

Creating a plan for regularly handling your commercial kitchen equipment maintenance tasks saves money in the long run by replacing worn parts before failure, protects your customers and employees, improves efficiency and helps create an excellent experience for your customers. And by making maintenance a regular event, it reduces stress and strain, keeping your kitchen moving like a well-oiled machine.

Find AyrKing replacement parts you need to keep your commercial kitchen equipment performing at its best.

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