Top 10 Tips for Catering Equipment Maintenance

fireTop 10 Tips for Catering Equipment Maintenance

The only way to get the most benefit and trouble-free service out of your catering and refrigeration equipment is to perform regular maintenance. Regular maintenance, which includes cleaning, will keep everything working in good working order and can catch minor problems or worn out parts before they cause expensive breakdowns. Regardless of the type of equipment, there are 10 maintenance related tasks that you need to do for every piece of catering equipment that you own.

Read The Manual!

The first place you should look for proper maintenance procedures for your specific pieces of catering equipment is the owner’s manual, which comes with the equipment. Generalised tips from an article on the internet are all well and good, but the owner’s manual will tell you specifically what needs to be done to keep your equipment in tip-top shape. Most manufacturers’ websites have downloadable versions of manuals, and the manufacturers should have manuals for older or discontinued models, too.

Fill Out and Return the Warranty Card

The only way to gain the benefits of manufacturers’ warranties for new catering or refrigeration equipment, which usually include x-number of years in free parts and labour, is to fill out the warranty card and return it to the manufacturer. You usually have about a month after delivery to get the warranty card filled out and returned, so don’t put it off.

Educate staff on the proper use of the equipment.

Misuse and abuse are among the leading causes of catering equipment breakdowns, and most warranties will not cover repairs resulting from misuse. Show staff how to properly use, clean and maintain your foodservice equipment to keep everything up and running and eliminate the amount of money you have to spend on non-warranty issues.

Clean all catering equipment daily.

Daily cleaning is perhaps the most important maintenance tip for catering and refrigeration equipment. Daily cleaning prevents dirt, grime and food scraps from building up and causing damage to the machine’s components. Having clean catering equipment is something environmental health officers look for too. Learn more here about what EHO’s look for

a9feaa6c206_634x404Perform thorough cleaning on a regular basis.

Either weekly, monthly or half yearly, depending on the type of equipment, there are deep cleaning procedures that need to be followed. The purpose of more thorough cleaning is to get those places that are hard to reach or to just tackle the grime that accumulates over time.

Regularly inspect your catering equipment.

Any time you perform a thorough cleaning on your catering equipment, inspect any moving parts, electrical, water and gas connections and other components for wear, tear and leaks. Catching and correcting small maintenance issues early (like a water leak caused by a loose hose fitting) can save you from more expensive repairs in the future. You can even set up a service contract with a local service agent and have them inspect your equipment. Try us out at YCE Catering Equipment Ltd by phoning 0113 252 6566 or email service@yce.co.uk.

Replace broken or worn out parts.

Over time, parts just wear out and need to be replaced. If something appears worn out, better to replace the worn out part soon before it causes serious problems. Contact a member of our service team at YCE Catering Equipment Ltd by phoning 0113 252 6566 or email service@yce.co.uk.

tumblr_inline_mi812zliar1qz4rgpBe careful with DIY fixes. 

One way to save money on catering equipment or refrigeration repairs is to simply fix it yourself. If the equipment is new, fixing things yourself may void the warranty, so be sure to read the warranty and know what you can and cannot do yourself. Even if the equipment is not under warranty, overly complex repairs should still be performed by someone with the right skills and qualifications – not some guy the boss met down the pub. Don’t slow down your wait time with unreliable equipment.

Follow chemical instructions.

Whether the chemicals you are using are meant to clean the piece of equipment or the equipment uses chemicals itself, like a commercial dishwasher, be sure to read and follow the instructions on the labels. Improperly mixing to the wrong chemical concentration can be dangerous for your staff and damaging to your equipment.

undersinkcloseProperly care for stainless steel.

Catering equipment and refrigeration is manufactured primarily out of stainless steel. Despite its name, stainless steel can become stained, tarnished or corroded if not properly cared for, so be sure to use mild detergents, soft cloths and wash with the grain when cleaning your food service equipment.

If you would like advice from the experts on looking after your catering equipment, please get in touch with the Busychef team on 0500 008075 or email sales@busychef.co.uk. We have been giving good advice for a very long time.

Demystifying Stainless Steel! Why you should know more

 

demystifying_steel

Have you ever noticed that some stainless steel is more durable than others? Ever wondered why some is magnetic and some is not? It turns out that stainless steel is a broader concept than many realise, referring simply to a group of hybrid metals (“alloys” if you like). Why should you, a food business owner, need to know about stainless steel though?

Being properly aware of what you’re investing your money into is important. We don’t want you to buy a product which is insufficient for your needs, nor do we want you to spend money on a piece of equipment which provides more protection than you really need.

So, let’s talk stainless steel. Stainless steel alloys are made by mixing iron with at least 10.5% chromium, as well as other metals and materials like carbon. The different “recipes” for stainless steel result in different types, impacting price, strength, and corrosion resistance. You may have noticed we label benches “430 grade”. That description tells you something about its composition. It’s part of a larger group called “ferritic” stainless steel.

Another group common in foodservice (and elsewhere) is called “austenitic.” Most commercial sinks are made from a type of austenitic steel tagged “304 Series.”

All of this can get rather confusing, so let YCE and Busychef break it up a bit for you – we have been making stainless steel benches, sinks and shelves for 35 years.

Austenitic Steel

The most common type of steel used today, austenitic steel accounts for 70% of steel production. Because of the materials used in this alloy, it’s particularly resistant to corrosion.

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304 Austenitic Stainless Steel

Known for being the most common type of stainless steel used, 304 is practical and hardy. It’s resistant to food products, sterilising solutions, and most organic materials. Because of its superior rust protection, it’s used in sink bowls and other surfaces which are most likely to come in contact with corrosive substances. Unfortunately, due to the high cost of nickel and how difficult it is to work with austenitic steel, this is more expensive than many other stainless steel options. An example of a sink made from this material can be found on the Busychef website here.

201 Austenitic Stainless Steel

You could consider 201 the kid brother of 304, since they share a similar chemical composition. It’s still food safe, but doesn’t hold up to corrosion quite as well, so it’s not going to withstand chemicals like bleach. Because of this, it tends to be less expensive. You’ll often find it in the form of handwashing sinks, but we won’t use it for fabrication.

Ferritic Steel

The main way ferritic steel differs from austenitic is that is contains nickel and is also magnetic. For example, want to find out if your stainless steel is austenitic or ferritic? Grab yourself a magnet. If it sticks, it’s ferritic. It’s known for being both corrosion resistant and hold up against stress.

430 Ferritic Stainless Steel

For environments with less chemical use, 430 is a great option, as it’s made with chromium. 430 is used most often for ovens, refrigerators, and economic cost sinks or tables. While it may be cheaper, if properly taken care of, it can last you a long time and will end up being a wise investment. We tend to use 430 for undershelves, wall shelves etc.

316 Ferritic Stainless Steel

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316 isn’t something you’ll find very often in the restaurant world, though it’s been known to pop up occasionally, like in food trolleys meant for hospitals or food processing equipment. It’s extremely corrosion-resistant because it has larger quantities of nickel, and as such, it is mainly used in the medical world. Because of the amount of nickel it contains, it’s difficult to fabricate, and so is quite expensive.

Gauge

Counter-intuitively, the lower number gauge, the thicker the steel. Take note that while the steel may have a lower gauge, and therefore be thicker, the type of steel still matters. Gauge is just the density, not the quality.

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18-Gauge

Also known as the economy gauge, for a lower cost you get a respectable piece of stainless steel. It tends to work best for things like wall shelves and undershelves. (1.24mm)

16-Gauge

This is where you get the most bang for your buck. It’s a quality thickness which will serve many uses, but won’t break your budget. You’ll find plenty of well-built sinks and prep tables which use 16-gauge. (1.65mm)

14-Gauge

The perfect gauge for butchers. You can hammer and hack things on this gauge all day long without bowing the stainless steel. It’s also going to look smooth and sleek over a longer period of time. (2.11mm)

If you would like advice from the experts on which quality or gauge to choose for your food establishment, please get in touch with the Busychef team on 0500 008075 or email sales@busychef.co.uk. You could also take a look at the Lincat fabrication we sell online at busychef.co.uk website here.

What to Consider When Buying Restaurant Equipment

If you are thinking about opening your own restaurant, buying commercial catering equipment will surely be a top priority. Purchasing such equipment is quite different from buying it for your kitchen at home. Making the right choices is imperative, as they will pave the way for your future success. The following tips might help you in devising a strategy on how to proceed.

Consider Your Budget

Starting up a restaurant is expensive. You have to employ kitchen and waiting staff as well as pay for licences, food, rent, utilities and advertising. No restaurant can go without equipment, hence it deserves special attention. It is the foundation for future growth. But there are ways of equipping your kitchen with everything you need without going bust.

Having gas available in the building is one way of saving money from the outset without reducing quality. If you prefer electric, then you should try getting three-phase into your restaurant kitchen. Three-phase wiring lowers the kilowatt hours used and cuts your electricity bill. Another factor when deciding between electric or gas is efficiency and maintenance cost. Electric equipment is usually more efficient but it contains more moving parts and so repairs are costlier.

Furthermore, there are different levels of quality equipment within the above categories. Depending on how much money you have available you can opt for different classes for the different items you will buy.

Consider your Space

Considering your space and arranging all the equipment properly is vital for the efficient functioning of your kitchen.

Talk to a commercial kitchen designer to devise an optimal kitchen layout so that it creates nice flow throughout the cooking process. A  good kitchen plan is where all your equipment fits in and is easily accessible to the kitchen staff when needed. Therefore, don’t overbuy equipment.
It is better for a kitchen to be compact instead of having useless items standing in the way. Consulting an electrician is important. If you are using an older building for your restaurant, you have to ensure it can supply all the electricity needed. In summer, for example, refrigeration equipment and ice machines work harder to keep cool and can overheat, which can cause electrical outages.  The electrician will be able to help once the layout is decided to make sure the right power is available to the equipment pieces.
                                                                                                                                                                            Consider What You Need

This brings us to prioritising your purchases. Some equipment is indispensable. Other items can be purchased later, on or can even be leased. Once you know your budget you can list all the equipment you want on a sliding scale of necessity. The importance of equipment is determined by how often a specific item will be used. You should consider whether the kitchen could survive without a particular piece for a day or several days. Naturally, the more crucial a piece is, the more you should opt for quality.

A chef’s input before you go shopping is beneficial. Depending on the type of your restaurant, a chef might be able to give you some good advice about what’s important and what can wait. You should also consult an electrician about a good kitchen plan that houses all your equipment neatly and is readily accessible to staff.

Finally, you might want to consult your local environmental health officer, fire service and building inspector before you buy anything. They can usually provide you with a spec sheet on what is allowed into a commercial kitchen.

Do Your Research

Proper research and planning is maybe the most important part of the process. This can save you hassle later on. Compare the different items, set priorities, consult relevant specialists and keep your vision in mind. With all of this in check, you are well on your way to creating a kitchen which will work wonders.

Spacious and Clean Commercial Kitchen

YCE Catering Equipment Ltd are based in Leeds, Yorkshire and has built up a reputation as a respected catering equipment company serving the hospitality, leisure, public and private sectors throughout the UK.

Busychef is the online sales showroom for YCE Catering Equipment Ltd.