Maintenance is being treated as more than an afterthought in today’s restaurants, especially the big chains, and that’s a good thing. The well-maintained restaurant is seen by all as a cleaner, safer place to eat and work.
Here is a Top 10 List to get you on your way to having a properly maintained kitchen:
- Read the warranty information supplied with each piece of new equipment to learn what the manufacturer recommends.
- Put all literature supplied in a three-ring binder.
- Assign the binder to managers and require new managers to review it.
- Prepare a one-page maintenance sheet and post it where it will be seen.
- List appropriate clean dates and a box to initial and date when cleaning is completed.
- Insist that managers pay attention to maintenance schedules.
- Post a list of local service agencies, their phone numbers, and which brands they cover.
- Upon start-up of a new facility, place a list in the front of the binder containing make, model, serial number and date, along with the service and warranty period for each piece of equipment.
- Set up service, cleaning, and inspection programs for all operational equipment with servicing agents.
- Set up a regular exhaust hood and duct cleaning program to prevent fires.
It is critical to get staff members involved in your company’s efforts to care for the equipment.
Here are just a few ideas:
- Reduce the damage caused by carelessness, abusive behavior, and vandalism by holding the staff accountable for the condition of the equipment when they complete a work shift.
- Eliminate dents and gashes caused by carts and mobile equipment by providing adequate clearance around equipment. It’s not smart design to have people transporting items through what seems like a maze.
- Protect equipment with rails, guards, and bumpers, which are offered as accessories, for both fixed and mobile appliances.
- Catch little problems before they turn into big ones, with a weekly or monthly check of all kitchen workstations. Look for missing screws, damaged or worn wires and cords, bent panels or hinges. Get them corrected promptly.
- Make your staff aware of what maintenance costs the restaurant. Make maintenance the topic of some staff meetings, in addition to training sessions. Solicit opinions from the staff about improvements that could be made.
- Make an effort to get “clean” utilities—that is, do everything you can to protect equipment from power spikes with surge suppressors; treat or filter incoming water and air.
Katsigris, Costas, and Chris Thomas. Design and Equipment for Restaurants and Foodservice: A Management View. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2009. Print.
George Zawacki, senior associate, Cini-Little International, Inc. First appeared in Equipment Solutions, a publication of Talcott Communications Corp., Chicago, Illinois (March 2004).