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Top 5 Tips for a functional commercial kitchen

05, Mar 2017

The Food & Beverage and Hospitality sectors are subject to a unique set of pressures and challenges, so keeping kitchens running at full tilt can often feel like a juggling act. Here, we overview five different aspects of kitchen operations that are especially important in keeping your kitchen both highly functional and resilient to the stresses of continual operation.

Regular Maintenance

Almost all of the equipment and infrastructure in commercial kitchens requires regular maintenance to ensure continued operation. Issues arising from poor or overlooked maintenance are much more likely to put the continuation of kitchen operations in jeopardy, so careful attention must be paid to the inventory of equipment as well as plumbing, electrical and HVAC installations.

Taking a proactive approach towards maintenance can therefore be very beneficial. Implementing a program of Pre-Planned Maintenance is a good way of ensuring peace of mind while protecting a business from dangerous or expensive failures.

Training of Staff

For anyone running a business it should go without saying that regular training should be a priority for the continued success of operations. However, in kitchen environments training of kitchen staff is of extra importance given the risk of bad practice leading to serious consequences. One small instance of contamination can lead to kitchens being closed and thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

Personal hygiene, handling and storage of food, machinery operation and waste disposal are all areas which highlight the importance of training staff to avoid instances of contamination, equipment failures, issues with pests and problems with infrastructure and the drainage network. Appropriate training will also ensure that cleaning and disinfection programs are carried out effectively in line with adequate HACCP criteria.

Appropriate Drainage Network and Grease Traps

An effective plumbing system is always of critical importance but is most noticeable in times of stress. Once the plumbing network fails it can lead to blockages, leaks and cause all manner of problems for ongoing operations of the kitchen. Good drainage networks will include plumbing installations that are appropriately placed and sized for the area and usage type within the kitchen and have ease of access in the event of any issues.

A good network will also include grease traps in areas where Fat, Oil and Grease can be washed into the system. Simply put, they are receptacles that allow grease to separate out from kitchen wastewater. In kitchens, grease traps are usually placed near to the offending sinks and will negate many of the problems caused by fat build-ups in drains. Grease traps do have to be cleaned regularly in order to prevent bad smells and overflows and so grease trap cleaning is subject to strict regulations.

Grease Eradication Systems (GES)

Grease Eradication Systems are the most efficient way to reduce accumulations of fat, oil and grease in drainage systems and the associated stresses on networks. GES’ are designed to prevent build ups at source, often using biological dosing as a way to introduce specific microbes which produce extracellular, grease-eating enzymes to break down and digest complex molecules of fat, oil and grease.

Dosing is most often controlled using automated dosing pumps connected into drain lines and grease traps early in the system, allowing the community of microbes to colonize and proliferate throughout the system. As well as reducing the chance of blockages from grease and fat build-ups, Grease Eradication Systems also reduce smells and increase grease trap capacity, reducing the need for cleaning.

Kitchen Exhaust Systems

Kitchen extraction hoods and ducts are particularly susceptible to build ups of grease. Effective cleaning of hoods and ducts will help prevent common hazards and maintenance issues such as fire, worn fans and motors. The resulting decreases in efficiency of exhaust systems can impact air flow, leading to issues with air quality, heat and smells throughout the building where the system is no longer able to facilitate adequate ventilation.

Regular kitchen hood and duct cleaning reduces stress on extraction systems, leading to increased life span and decreasing the risk of costly failures. Introduction of grease filters will also increase the efficiency of the system. The filters, which should be replaced regularly, are the best way of preventing build ups of grease in ducts. Extraction duct cleaning is also tightly regulated in many places so remember to find out what is required in your locality. 

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