The best way for you to experience trouble-free service and gain the most benefit from your restaurant equipment is by performing regular maintenance. Regular maintenance, including cleaning, will keep your equipment functioning in good working condition and catch minor malfunctions or worn out parts before they cause expensive breakdowns.
The following are frequently asked questions by restaurant owners wanting a proactive approach to restaurant equipment maintenance.
How regularly do I need to inspect my restaurant equipment?
Any time you perform a thorough cleaning on your restaurant equipment it’s good practice to inspect all moving parts, utility connections and other components for wear, tear and leaks.
These self inspections can be held weekly, monthly or quarterly to keep you aware. Catching and correcting small maintenance issues early (like a water leak caused by a loose hose fitting or cleaning of your HVAC system) can save you from more expensive repairs in the future. You can even set up a service contract to schedule a cleaning every 90 days on your equipment.
What causes a lot of soot and blue and yellow flames in our gas stove?
Soot usually indicates a dirty stove. When this is accompanied by large flames it implies you’re burning lots of debris in your gas stove. Stoves with soot typically experience considerable heat loss.
Since the soot acts as an insulator, there is less room for combustion and natural venting, resulting in a smothered flame and a dramatic drop in heating efficiency. Scheduled cleaning and maintenance of your gas stove will minimize soot.
If I see flames coming from my deep fryer, should I call a technician?
Fact: Grease and flames don’t mix.
Yes. A common reason commercial deep fryers ignite is due to grease build up. With the repeated splashing of oil from fryer baskets, a coating of grease can accumulate and harden on top of the exhaust stack. The residue might resemble a pumice brick instead of a grease buildup, and will become an excellent fuel source that’s easily ignitable. As with all equipment in your kitchen, keep your deep fryer clean and practice proper grease management.
Are all of Axxon technicians certified to work on all equipment?
Yes. Our CFESA certified technicians have a higher record of “first-time fix” rates which dramatically reduces costs and equipment down time. CFESA is the standard for service excellence producing technicians that keep your equipment up and running. Certified technicians are factory trained and must participate in ongoing training in order to maintain their certification. Axxon Services is proud to have Master Certified Technicians encompassing certification in gas, electric and steam.
What to expect from Axxon’s repair service calls
Dispatchers will work with you from the moment you call to the moment they dispatch a technician. Should the situation require it they will transfer you to a technician to insure that the problem can be corrected. We have technicians available 24 hours a day to come to your business and to resolve the problem on site.
Why do I need a Preventative Maintenance Contract for my air conditioning equipment?
Operating commercial HVAC systems are a costly business expense, accounting for 40% to 60% of a building’s energy use! You can perform routine maintenance by checking all of the motors, belts and steam traps as well as replacing your system’s filters, cleaning the coils and inspecting the heater assembly.
How do I determine HVAC equipment size?
We utilize a software program to determine proper equipment sizing. The software takes into account the number of people, building construction, location, building orientation and peak loads for both heating and cooling.
How often should I change filters?
It will depend largely on the size of your building, how many people work there, the type of filter you specify on maintenance, and what you do. In an ideal world you would change a filter when it is full of things filters catch. You would need to measure the drop in pressure across the filter telling you it’s full with a monometer, however most commercial air handlers are not equipped with these devices. So filters are typically scheduled to be changed when you’d anticipate they are full of dirt and other stuff filters catch.
This would be quarterly for standard “throwaway” media filters, although in high traffic areas once or twice a month may be necessary. You may have to adjust this schedule if your filters get dirty faster. If you are using pleated high efficiency filters MERV 7 or higher to improve indoor air quality, you might be able to go longer between changes. Your commercial HVAC Company should advise you for each system in your building as to the right schedule to maximize your investment in filter changes.
Why do my ice cubes taste/smell bad?
It may be time to replace the water filter on the water supply line. Consider a water quality evaluation test to determine the appropriate filter system to improve the taste and odor of the ice cubes. It is recommended that you schedule cleanings twice a year.
How often do I need to replace the water filter on the Ice Machine?
This does vary by manufacturer and by usage but as a rule of thumb, you should replace the water filter every three months.
Why should I purchase an ice crusher vs. a flaker?
Crushed Ice is slower melting than flake ice because it is colder and harder. Crushed ice provides a better appearance than flake ice—it sparkles. It is excellent for frappe-type drinks because its purity means there is no taste imparted to the drink. Lastly, it has a much lower maintenance cost than flakers, resulting in a cost-effective machine over time.
Why is the square cube the better ice cube shape?
The even shape helps to maintain carbonation and doesn’t dilute the taste of spirits. Larger ice lasts longer in storage bins, cocktail sinks, drinks, salad bars, bags, and coolers. Our ice machines produce harder, more uniform ice. Plus, no deep depressions or odd shapes means less surface area, and surface area has a direct relationship on the speed at which ice melts.
Why Is it important to clean an ice machine?
The FDA defines ice as food, which means it must be handled and cared for in the same manner as other food products. No matter what type of ice machine your establishment operates, it’s important that you clean, sanitize, and maintain it. Any part of the unit that has contact with water can develop scale, slime, or mold at any time, which will contaminate your ice and potentially harm your customers.
Do I need to educate my employees on the proper use of the equipment?
Yes. The misuse and abuse of restaurant equipment are among the leading causes of restaurant equipment malfunction. Most warranties will not cover repairs resulting from misuse.
It’s essential to teach your employees how to properly use, clean and maintain your food service equipment. This keeps your equipment running smoothly and eliminates the amount of money being spent on non-warranty issues.
Do I need to clean all restaurant equipment daily?
Yes. Daily cleaning is perhaps the most important habit to develop for smooth running restaurant equipment. Routine cleaning habits can prevent dirt, grime and food scraps from building up and causing damage to the machine’s components. Clean restaurant equipment is also critical to restaurant health and safety codes.
Will the warranty on my equipment be voided for lack of service and maintenance?
Yes. Most major brands will require that you have a service and maintenance schedule on the equipment in order to honor the factory warranty. All parts and labor will be charged to you if warranty is voided.
Is there a difference between SERVICE and MAINTENANCE on my refrigeration equipment?
Yes. In our experience we’ve found that most after hour’s emergency commercial refrigeration service calls are due to lack of proper maintenance. Failure to properly maintain coolers and freezers will lead to various unpleasant and possibly costly outcomes.
Equipment that is poorly maintained uses more power to maintain temperatures and increases your chances of critical components failing prematurely. These failures usually occur at the worst possible times like nights and weekends. Repairs cost significantly more after hours or on weekends compared to during regular business hours.
Food Truck Services
Do I Clean After Each Shift?
Some jobs are so important that they have to be performed multiple times each day. You should keep your prep and cook area clean by washing all the dishes as you go, brushing the grill whenever you change the type of food you cook (i.e., changing from beef to fish) and emptying the trash whenever it gets near to being full. You should also wipe down counter areas and switch up cutting boards throughout the day.
What Procedure Should I Follow At the End of the Day?
When shutting down for the night, it’s important to make sure that the truck is clean and ready for use the next day. You should start by cleaning all of your cooking tools and appliances. For instance, you should clean the inside and outside of the microwave, empty and clean the steam table, and close down and clean all of your fryers. Next, you should clean all of your work surfaces. Last, you should wash your floor mats and sweep and clean your floor.
Since food trucks have so many different types of surfaces that need cleaning, a multipurpose cleaning system is ideal. A spray-and-vac system can be used to quickly and thoroughly clean the surfaces and floors in a food truck. You can use the low-pressure spray to apply an environmentally safe cleaner over the interior of the food truck and then use the high-pressure mode to blast all the soil and bacteria to the floor. Then, you can vacuum up the moisture and dirt leaving your surfaces clean and dry.
Is a Weekly Cleaning Important?
Some food truck cleaning jobs, while important, don’t warrant being done every single night. For instance, you should empty and wash your coolers and ice machines on a weekly basis. You should also clean out your freezer, empty and scrub your coffee maker, and clean your ovens on this weekly schedule.
How important is a Monthly Cleaning?
It’s enough to do some cleaning jobs monthly, as the soil in these areas builds up slowly, and it would be a waste of time and effort to perform these tasks more regularly. You should wash the walls and ceiling on a monthly basis to keep everything looking fresh. You should also pull out the stove and fryers and clean the walls behind them to remove any built-up grease, which can be a fire hazard. It’s also important to clean your exhaust hoods once a month in order to keep them free of dust, pollen, and other pollutants, as well as grease deposits. Finally, you should clean inside your light fixtures to remove dust and other debris.
Do The Coils in the refrigerators and freezers need Cleaning?
Keeping the condenser coils on your refrigeration systems clean is the single most important maintenance task to undertake in order to minimize system failure, including compressor failure. Keep condensers on your refrigeration equipment clean by scheduling a cleaning quarterly. This service should be performed by a qualified service technician with a list of tasks including cleaning the condenser, blowing out the drain, cycle and adjust levels.