Welcome to the first in our new "How To" series on setting up and maintaining your kitchen equipment. In this series we'll cover topics that the professional chef and home enthusiast alike need to know regarding their restaurant, bar and kitchen equipment. Today's "How To" covers the often overlooked but important task of leveling your kitchen's serving line. Level equipment in a foodservice operation is very important in creating an efficient, safe and functional food service environment. Luckily achieving a level equipment line up is not all that difficult if you follow the steps outlined below.
Recently Serv-U completed an entire remodel of the commercial kitchen at Blue Ridge Intermediary School in Mansfield, IL. While installing the Shelleysteel L-shaped serving line we encountered some major leveling problems. Most school kitchen renovations require a new floor that is designed to have no standing pools of water. The result of this requirement is significant sloping to drains placed under the serving line area. While the sloped floor is effective for draining, it can often cause problems with leveling the equipment that is placed over or near the drain. The leveling problems are compounded by the fact that many of these serving lines are modular and lock multiple components together, creating a unit that can be 15 feet or longer. The extended length of these units can sometimes result in a corner that needs to be blocked up a full inch or more to level the entire line. If the unit is not leveled then it will not lock into place with the other modular components. In addition, the tray slide will be uneven and not function properly.
Here are some simple steps to follow when leveling modular components that will allow you to create a functional serving line. The only problematic component to this leveling system is when the modular components are pulled away from the serving line area for cleaning or maintenance to a different area of the floor they will no longer be level.
Required tools and parts:
- 2 x 6 Plywood pieces
- Car Jack
- Socket set
- Package of plastic shims
- Bolts (approx. 1.5"L)
Raise the unit with the car jack (resting on the plywood pieces) until the unit is level.
Confirm the unit is level, using a level.
While the unit is on the car jack, use bolts and shims to build up the caster height to the point at which the caster is resting on the floor when under the unit.
Tighten the bolts through the caster plate and into the unit. Snap off excess shim material. Lower the car jack.
Repeat on all casters that need extra height to attain a level surface across the entire line.
A level, well functioning serving line!
Hopefully these tips will be helpful to you when installing kitchen equipment on sloped or uneven surfaces. We are happy to answer questions you may have or further explain anything that may be unclear.
Following these steps allowed us to provide Blue Ridge Intermediary School with an efficient and fully functioning serving line. The Delfield Company's Shellysteel brand of serving counters that we installed are both highly durable and versatile. Utilizing modular components can help you create and affordable serving counter line that can improve workflow, saving both time and labor for foodservice staff.
In addition to the serving line, our project at this school also involved the installation of a new walk-in cooler and freezer, a Captive Aire exhaust hood system, a Cleveland steamer and tilt skillet, and a Hobart dishmachine. When installing such equipment in commercial environments you will often encounter a host of issues, varying from location to location. Remodels are notorious for involving pre-existing conditions that can cause minor delays and problems with installations. Even with the most careful planning, many of these are simply unavoidable and must be dealt with on the site. Our experience has allowed us to develop unique and efficient solutions for many of the most commonly encountered installation obstacles and we are happy to share them with you. Look for future articles in our "Installation Series" for more tips on how to effectively install a variety equipment types.