Maintenance Tips for Kitchen Equipment
Keeping your kitchen equipment in good working order is essential to ensure that your restaurant runs efficiently. Not only does regular maintenance help to prevent breakdowns and costly repairs, but it also helps to maintain the quality of your food and ensures that your kitchen is running at optimal performance.
Here are some maintenance tips for your kitchen equipment that will help you keep everything in top condition:
- Clean your equipment regularly. Grease, dirt, and food particles can build up on your equipment, leading to clogs, corrosion, and other damage. Wipe down your equipment after every use, and deep clean it at least once a week.
- Check for wear and tear. Over time, your equipment may start to show signs of wear and tear. Check for cracks, dents, and other damage, and replace any parts that are no longer functioning properly.
- Lubricate moving parts. Moving parts on your equipment can become stiff or sticky over time. Lubricate them regularly to keep them running smoothly.
- Check electrical connections. Loose or damaged electrical connections can cause equipment to malfunction or even start a fire. Check the connections on your equipment regularly, and replace any damaged wires or connectors.
- Schedule regular maintenance. Hire a professional to perform regular maintenance on your equipment, including deep cleaning, lubrication, and inspections. This will help to prevent breakdowns and extend the life of your equipment.
MAINTAINING BROILERS AND CHARBROILERS
- Most problems with broilers and charbroilers are the result of grease and food particles clogging the burners, pilots, and/or shutters. These components need to be cleaned weekly and to be properly adjusted to restore optimum operation.
- A good way to prevent this buildup is to make sure that broiler grates are positioned to direct the excess grease flow for burn-off or collect it in grease drawers.
- Clean the broiler grates at the end of each day, which is easy to do, just place the grates flat on the broiler and set the gas valve on ‘High’ for 45 minutes.
- Then turn off the broiler and allow the grates to cool.
- Remove them from the broiler when they’ve cooled down, and clean them (both top and bottom surfaces) with a wire brush, damp cloth, and mild detergent.
- The grate channels and burner radiants should be thoroughly cleaned as well. Brush the burner’s heat reflector to remove dust or debris, and clear all the burner portholes at least once a week.
- A major maintenance problem for gas-fired fryers may be their location in the kitchen. There must be no restrictions for ‘NEW’ air entering the burners or blower motor.
- If the airflow is restricted, the fryer sidewalls and internal control components will be abnormally high. This will cause the electrical controls to overheat, and soon the equipment’s performance will diminish.
- To prevent this problem, make sure the gas connections to the fryer are tight. Be sure that enough fresh, make-up air is available. Clean the hood filters each day, checking again for airflow restrictions there.
- Another maintenance concern for fryers is slow temperature recovery, which is related to having a reliable and controllable heat source.
- A fryer that takes too long to recover its temperature when cold food items are dropped into the kettle is losing its capacity to conduct or radiate heat efficiently.
- In high-efficiency fryers, the burner seals may be leaking, the blower motor speed may be too low, or a broken temperature probe could be the problem. In tube-heated fryers, internal heat-baffle wear causes recovery problems. Your owner’s manual should offer some guidance in these situations.
MAINTAINING CONVEYOR OVENS
- The cooling fan exhaust grilles should be wiped clean daily. Check to see that the cooling fan is turning when the oven is operating.
- Remove the entire conveyor every month so you can clean the jet-air ‘fingers’, being careful to replace all components in their original positions.
- Every two or three months, clean the combustion motor’s blower air intake, which is usually located behind a closed panel.
MAINTAINING COOKING RANGES
- Most maintenance problems with gas-operated ranges happen because bits of food and greasy particles settle into the gas lines or ports, preventing a smooth flow of gas and air to the pilot lights and burners.
- To identify this condition, check the burner pilot lights and flames for clear, even combustion.
- Clean the burner grate surfaces every day using a wire brush, damp cloth, and mild detergent.
- Clean and adjust the range pilots monthly; they should sit level in their mounts and be situated so the pilot light flame can easily ignite the burner.
- Check the range burners at least once a month for heat flow. If foods are taking too long to cook, ask a factory-authorized service person to check the gas pressure and flue.
- Every month, check the underside of the griddle to make sure grease is not running where it’s not supposed to go, such as into the air vent for the gas pressure regulator.
- If the vent is blocked, the griddle’s heating performance will become erratic.
- Each griddle section and its burner/orifice must be kept clean to maintain a consistent flame and heat correctly.
- Also, be sure that the thermostat mechanism is securely in place.
MAINTAINING CONVECTION OVENS
- Do not overload the oven.
- Check that the snorkel tube is not blocked.
- Inspect the blower wheel for any obstructions.
- Check door openings and closing for proper alignment and seal.
- Check that the temperature is within 15 degrees F of 350.
- Do not use scouring powder/pad on glass.
- Clean door gaskets and oven interior daily using warm soapy water.
By following these maintenance tips, you can keep your kitchen equipment running smoothly and ensure that your restaurant stays up and running.