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  • John Marks

Professional Kitchen Appliance Care: How to Maintain Kitchen Equipment

Updated: Feb 8

Well-maintained commercial kitchen equipment means maximum performance and minimal disruption. Invest in professional kitchen appliance care, and you can extend the lifespan of your commercial catering equipment and ensure food safety and quality. 

In the long run, it translates into smooth workflows, business cost savings, and an economically viable kitchen environment. Here's what you need to know. 



 

Standard Kitchen Equipment Maintenance Tips 

Before getting into the specific maintenance routines for individual kitchen equipment, let's establish a solid foundation for preventive care for your catering equipment. 

  • Review the manufacturers' manuals and guidelines for your commercial appliances. Look for details like recommended maintenance schedules, cleaning procedures, and other insights into keeping the cooking appliances in optimal condition. 

  • Train staff to be observant. Encourage them to check for loose components, unusual noises, or signs of wear. Early detection allows for timely repairs, minimising the risk of equipment failure. 

  • Develop a comprehensive maintenance schedule outlining tasks for daily, weekly, and monthly routines. Depending on the functions, you can sign maintenance contracts with external suppliers or assign responsibilities to specific team members. What matters is that everyone knows their role in keeping the equipment running efficiently. 

  • Keep detailed records of all commercial appliance repairs and regular maintenance activities. Write down the tasks completed, dates of service, and issues encountered. 

  • Ensure all team members understand the importance of following operational guidelines, such as load capacities, recommended settings, and appropriate cleaning methods for commercial kitchen appliances. 

  • Equip your kitchen with high-quality detergents, lubricants, and cleaning agents and train staff to use them appropriately. 

 

Refrigerators and Freezers: Essential Maintenance Practices 
  1. Schedule regular cleaning sessions where you unplug the appliance, locate the condenser coils (typically at the back or underneath), and gently remove the accumulated dust, grease, and debris with a vacuum cleaner or a soft brush. This simple step enhances cooling performance and extends the compressor's lifespan. 

  2. Use refrigerator thermometers to monitor the temperature settings for refrigerator and freezer compartments. Set the refrigerator between 1°C and 4°C and the freezer at -18°C. Consistent monitoring prevents food spoilage and promotes energy efficiency. 

  3. Plan a defrosting schedule based on the usage and frost accumulation, typically every three to six months. Empty the freezer, turn it off, and let the ice melt naturally. Use this time to thoroughly clean the interior, removing spilt liquids or food particles. 


Pro Tip: Invest in digital sensors to continuously assess and fine-tune temperature settings to optimise energy consumption without sacrificing climate control precision. 

 

Ovens and Stoves: How to Prevent Unexpected Breakdowns  
  1. Remove burner grates and pans, soaking them in warm, soapy water to break down grease and residue. Use a non-abrasive cleaner to scrub any baked-on spills or splatters for oven interiors. Pay special attention to the oven door and its seals, ensuring they are clean and debris-free. A clean oven prevents unpleasant odours and the risk of smoke during peak hours. 

  2. Periodically check the oven's temperature accuracy using a calibrated thermometer. Recalibrate the temperature settings according to the manufacturer's instructions if you find discrepancies. This way, your recipes are perfectly cooked, and you avoid undercooked or overcooked dishes. 

  3. Calibrate the stove burners for precise control and even cooking across all machines. 

  4. Regularly inspect the heating elements. Look for signs of wear, discolouration, or visible damage. Replace any faulty parts promptly to maintain optimal performance. 

  5. Keep spare parts on hand to address problems swiftly, minimising downtime in the kitchen and preventing the need for emergency repairs. 


Pro Tip: Implement a monthly inspection and replacement schedule for worn oven gaskets. Regularly check for loss of elasticity and debris and promptly replace compromised gaskets to maintain optimal working conditions and enhance energy efficiency. 

 

Maintenance Tips for Dishwashers in Commercial Kitchens  
  1. Regularly clean filters to remove food debris and prevent clogs. 

  2. Remove and inspect spray arms for blockage, ensuring water can flow freely. 

  3. Check for any signs of leaks around the dishwasher and inspect hoses and connections. Address any leaks promptly by tightening connections or replacing damaged parts. 

  4. Run periodic cleaning cycles using specific cleaning agents to remove limescale and mineral deposits. 

  5. Use high-quality detergents designed for dishwashers to prevent soap buildup and ensure spotless dishwashing. 


Pro Tip: Per the manufacturer's recommendations, check and calibrate temperature and pressure settings. Regular calibration ensures that the dishwasher operates at the optimal conditions for effective cleaning. 

 

Food Processors and Blenders: Regular Servicing and Maintenance Tips  
  1. Disassemble the equipment and wash each part thoroughly using warm, soapy water. Pay close attention to areas around blades and crevices where food particles may accumulate. Allow parts to dry completely before reassembling. 

  2. Sharpen blades using a sharpening stone or follow manufacturer-recommended methods. If blades show signs of wear or become dull despite sharpening, replace them promptly. 

  3. Lubricate moving parts with food-grade lubricants recommended by the manufacturer to reduce wear. It prolongs the life of the equipment and ensures consistent and efficient performance when processing ingredients. 


Pro Tip: Enlist the services of a qualified technician or the manufacturer's authorised service provider for an annual check-up of your food processors and blenders. Professional servicing includes a comprehensive examination of internal components, motor efficiency, and electrical systems that may not be easily accessible during routine cleaning. 

 

Cutting Boards and Knives: Detailed Maintenance Practices 
  1. Wash cutting boards with hot, soapy water after each use and sanitise them regularly using diluted bleach or commercial sanitiser. This practice ensures a safe food preparation surface and promotes overall kitchen hygiene. 

  2. Use a honing rod or a sharpening stone to maintain the sharpness of the blades between sharpening sessions. It maintains precision during food preparation and reduces the risk of accidents associated with dull blades. 


Pro Tip: Avoid exposing wooden cutting boards to the harsh conditions of a dishwasher, as the hot water and prolonged exposure to moisture can damage the wood. 

 

Essential Spare Parts for Commercial Appliance Repair 

Maintaining a well-stocked inventory of spare parts and tools is a proactive strategy that can significantly minimise downtime and streamline minor repairs in a commercial kitchen. 

Essential spare parts: 

  • Heating elements 

  • Thermostats 

  • Gaskets 

  • Fan motors 

  • Spray arms 

  • Door seals 

  • Pilot lights and igniters 

  • Control knobs and switches 

  • Belts 

  • Water valves 


In addition to spare parts, equipping the kitchen with a comprehensive set of tools, including screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, and multimeters, empowers kitchen staff to troubleshoot and resolve issues promptly. 

 

When to Call the Pros: Balancing Emergency and Preventative Maintenance 

In case of sudden breakdown of a stove or malfunctioning commercial catering equipment during peak hours, immediate intervention is crucial. These emergencies require the expertise of a professional technician who can swiftly diagnose the issue, source replacement parts, and execute the necessary repairs to minimise downtime and prevent further disruptions. 


Beyond emergencies, engaging professionals for preventative maintenance tasks can be a strategic investment. Experienced technicians are the best at identifying potential issues before they escalate into crises. Professional planned preventative maintenance (PPM) involves regular inspections, meticulous care, and timely servicing to address potential problems before they evolve into costly emergencies. 

Moreover, relying on professionals and their expert knowledge alleviates the burden on kitchen staff, allowing them to focus on their core responsibilities and contributing to a smoother workflow. 


With a PPM subscription model, you can revolutionise kitchen equipment care by reducing repair costs, preventing breakdowns and expensive part replacements, and extending the lifespan of assets. In addition, the PPM approach enhances energy efficiency, allowing your catering business to operate more sustainably and realise significant savings on utility bills. 

Ready to learn more about how our Planned Preventative Maintenance subscription can benefit your business? Schedule a call with us today and discover the most clever way to maintain your kitchen equipment while optimising your budget. 

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