The 5 items listed below are simple, but extremely effective ways to save you money and the headache associated with food service equipment failures.
1. Proactive Planned Maintenance
As you may have read in our previous article, planned maintenance on your foodservice equipment is as important as oil changes and tire rotations on your vehicle. A PM program ensures that your equipment is cleaned and sanitized, filters and belts are changed, key sensors are calibrated and more. It is the hands-down best way to ensure your equipment is running properly and at peak efficiency. A study by Clark Service Group on their customer base indicated that companies with a PM program spend 15%-30% less on service issues per year than their counter parts without a program.
2. Train your employees on proper equipment use
In addition to the obvious health and safety hazards caused by employees using equipment they were not properly trained to use, there are serious financial implications as well. When an employee is not an "expert" on a piece of equipment they may use it in ways that decrease the efficiency of the equipment. For instance; if an employee is not properly trained on the use of a fryer, he may set it at a lower than desired temperature. This lowered temperature takes a longer time to cook the food, wasting electricity, and affecting the quality of the fried item. Training is key, especially in the commercial kitchen.
3. Keep your eyes and ears open
One of the easiest ways to ensure that your equipment is running properly is to do frequent inspections, especially if you do not have a planned maintenance program. Make it a priority to know your equipment inside and out so that you will be able to tell if something is not operating like it should. If a piece of your equipment seems to be a little "off" call your local service company to come out and check it out before it turns into a bigger issue.
4. Clean and care for your equipment
What does your end-of-the-day cleaning routine look like? Is there room for improvement? Too many times our service technicians are called out to fix equipment issues that could have been prevented by simply cleaning the equipment periodically. Below is a convection oven that was experiencing issues with heating temperatures. After our techs cleaned the layer of grease off of the fan the oven began working properly again. In addition to health issues, cleaning also plays a big role in the operation of your equipment.
This item may seem a bit obvious, but you would be surprised at how many kitchens we've walked into with refrigerators directly beside a griddle. When a refrigeration unit is next to, or close to a high temperature area it runs more, and is dramatically less efficient, ultimately costing you money. Take a look around your kitchen today to see if there are any changes you could make to isolate refrigeration units from areas used for grilling, frying, or baking.
6. Use Equipment Monitoring Technology
In this day in age the use of technology not only improves the speed at which we learn of events in the kitchen, but also can help save money by notifying us of problems at the time they occur. Companies like EControlSystems are creating monitoring systems that link to your smartphone to let you know if your equipment is running at the temperature and efficiency it should be.
Of course, as with anything else in life, nothing lasts forever. If, and when you see any signs of equipment failure give us a call so we can keep you up and running!
Written by: Tilghman Grandstaff