Mechanical Maintenance and Restaurant Safety
The importance of proper restaurant maintenance and safety cannot be overstated.
Studies have shown that one-fifth of the money that goes towards restaurant equipment is completely wasted. That’s 20 billion dollars down the drain because of bad practices in the U.S. alone.
Of course, restaurant safety is about more than money. Taking proper care of your equipment ensures the longevity of materials, less waste, faster service, better quality food, less opportunity for violations and shutdowns, and employee safety.
If you’re planning on opening a restaurant, then following this guide will ensure you long term savings and less stress.
If you’re already a restaurant manager, then it’s best to make sure your practices are up-to-date with safety regulations for the sake of your business, employees, and customers.
Read on to learn the best practices for keeping mechanical features in restaurants in top condition.
The Importance of Your Restaurant Walk-in Cooler and Freezer
As you probably know, the walk-in freezer is one of the most essential and irreplaceable machines in any restaurant.
Walk-in coolers and freezers keep food safe for consumption and prevent future lawsuits concerning foodborne illness. They also allow you to purchase food products in bulk, saving you money.
It’s essential for any restaurant owner or manager to be able to spot issues with their freezer before they get out of hand. In addition, proper storage practices and maintenance can allow your freezer to last longer than you thought possible.
The first step in making this happen is to have your walk-in appliances initially installed and regularly inspected by certified professionals. The walk-in should be cleaned regularly, and the condensing and evaporator coils should be thoroughly cleaned twice a year. Drain lines should be cleared annually.
If you notice a sudden spike in your building’s utility bills, this could be a sign that your commercial refrigerator or freezer is working over-time and in need of repair.
To prevent this from becoming a reoccurring issue, there are systematic practices to teach your employees. All food containers in your walk-in freezer should be spaced a few inches apart, and none of them should block the freezer’s circulation fans. This should prevent hot spots from occurring.
You’ll also want to practice safe organization practices to prevent food spoilage and sick customers. All food should be labeled by date, and the oldest food should be placed to be used first. Naturally, the walk-in coolers are warmest near the door, so food that can handle slightly warmer temperatures should be placed here.
You’ll also want to create designated locations for raw food items. This will prevent cross-contamination and illness.
Producing Safe Ice
An ice machine is another one of the mechanical features in restaurants that require preventative upkeep.
Ice is deceptive because it’s cold and clear nature tricks people into assuming that it’s always safe to consume.
The truth is that there are persistent viruses, molds, and bacteria that can thrive in an ice machine’s freezing temperatures.
Even so, every restaurant requires ice, whether for salad bars or offering customers refreshingly cold drinks, and ice machines are the only reliable way to ensure you never run out.
As long as you treat your ice the way you do food, you can ensure a safe product. The best way to do this is to have your ice machine checked at least twice a year by a professional. They can ensure that all parts are functioning properly.
You should also train your employees to never handle the ice with their hands, keep the door closed to prevent access to airborne viruses and to clean it on a daily basis.
Keep the ice machine located in a well-ventilated area to prevent mold from growing.
Essential Plumbing Safety
One of the easiest areas of restaurant mechanics to ignore is restaurant plumbing.
This is one of the worst mistakes to make because it can lead to long-term expensive fixes.
Clogged drains in the kitchen can prevent proper functioning and unsafe pooled floors. Backed-up restrooms are both repulsive to customers and unsanitary.
Prevent future disasters by ensuring employees know what can and cannot be put down each type of drain in the kitchen and having your drains inspected annually.
More Than One Sink
Ensuring clean dishware is an area of restaurant safety essential to your customer’s health and satisfaction with your restaurant.
If your restaurant doesn’t have a commercial dishwasher, you need to invest in a three-compartment sink. These have separate stations for washing, rinsing, and sanitation to ensure the removal of all food and bacteria.
Restaurant safety guidelines also require that you have separate sinks for dishwashing, handwashing, and food preparation.
Leave the Mechanical Features in Restaurants to the Professionals
If you aim to avoid lawsuits, shutdowns and save money overall, then proper maintenance of the mechanical features in restaurants is a must.
A key component of proper maintenance is having professionals service your equipment instead of practicing DIY methods. This prevents the possibility of you further damaging your equipment and endangering the lives of your employees.
Focus on running your restaurant and leave the nitty-gritty to those who are safe and certified.
If you’re in need of freezer repair or maintenance, CONTACT US today.