Restaurant Equipment & Supply

Restaurant Equipment Maintenance DIY: Refrigeration and Preparation

Nov 26, 2013 8:23:00 AM

For restaurant and bar owners, there is nothing better than a full dining room. The constant ringing of the cash register can be music to your ears, but behind the scenes there may be small equipment issues that could snowball into a major problem for your establishment. Regular maintenance of ranges, blenders and sinks may seem arbitrary until things go wrong. There are simple do-it-yourself practices for every item in your kitchen to ensure things keep running smoothly. These procedures can save you from equipment malfunction in dinnertime rushes and poor health department scores, all while keeping your employers and customers satisfied. From grabbing items from the refrigerator to cleaning dishes after the customers have left, we have simple DIY procedures for your equipment through every step of the cooking process. Our first part in the series will take you through the refrigerating and food prep stages, two key steps in the grand process of restaurant service.


Walk-In Refrigeration

Walk-in refrigerators
• If your walk-in refrigerator has strip curtains behind the door, make sure to regularly check them for tearing and possible missing strips. Examine the sweep under the door for tears as well.
• As far as the door itself goes, there are several things to look for regularly. Check the door latch and its release to ensure it is coming together properly. Look at the hinges and see if there is any deterioration and look at the closer near the top of the door to verify that it's working correctly.
• An even more hidden part of the refrigerator, which is an object typically outside of plain view, is the evaporator. Just like your air conditioner at home, it is wise to regularly inspect the piece for dirt or any other objects that may be in the way of airflow.

Reach-in refrigerators
• Starting from the top of your reach-in, check the fan guards to make sure there is nothing obstructing them. Much like the evaporator in walk-in refrigerators, anything in the way of fan guards may disrupt airflow and alter temperatures within the appliance.
Reach-In Refrigeration • Some of your refrigerated foods could be the most expensive and valuable products in your restaurant. Make sure the pilaster clips inside the fridge are stable so that the shelves remain upright and disasters such as wasted products can be avoided. Worn and deteriorating shelves may pose similar problems, so check on them regularly, too.
• Few things are more agitating than a refrigerator that doesn't close all the way. Check the gaskets on the refrigerator door for wear and tear, food product in the way or anything that could keep your fridge from closing properly. A fully sealed refrigerator door ensures that all food inside is being cooled properly, which in turn, minimizes the waste of essential products and the potential for serving spoiled food. It could also be a major waste of energy.
• Another way to make certain your refrigerator door is closing the right way is to check the hinges and handles to see if they are as tight as possible. The last thing you want is for your refrigerator door to come off. A little TLC goes a long way in preventing a lengthier fix down the road.

Food Preparation

Can openers
• Whether you use a handheld or mounted can opener, regular sanitizing of the device is a must.
• Inspect the gears and blades of the opener before using it to ensure it will work correctly. The blades of the can opener may seem dull, but they are meant to be that way. Refrain from sharpening the blades to help prevent metal slivers from entering the contents of the can.

Slicers and Choppers/Dicers
Slicer • As with most pieces of equipment, it all starts with the nuts and bolts. Check them regularly for looseness.
• Pusher blocks are the driving force in slicers and choppers, so it is best to inspect them prior to each use to make sure they are perfectly aligned. Bumpers appear behind the pusher blocks and help protect the frame. They often will damage or go missing after extensive use, so it is beneficial to check them before operating the device.
• Guide rods are also very important to proper alignment. Check them to make sure they are straight and will slide correctly. Maintain lubrication regularly with mineral oil.
• Blades bear the load of the work when it comes to slicers and choppers and could also do the most damage to operators when not working properly. Check for damage and alignment routinely.
• In choppers or dicers, check the feet of the product regularly and replace them when damaged.

Food Processor

Food processors
• The bowl is where all the processing takes place, so take a look at it frequently and spread out food when it builds up on one end. Empty the bowl of its contents when items have reached the bottom of the slicing disk. Refrain from filling the bowl too much to assist in preventing spillage.
• Processor attachments may seem like an afterthought, but they too are an integral component to the machine. Make sure food items are dispersed evenly in the tube for uniformity in cutting and check that all other attachments are in place before starting the processor.
• Much like the aforementioned food prep items, blades are the star of the show when it comes to processors. Analyze food items before inserting them into the processor to make sure they are soft enough to be cut. If your sharpest knife can't cut the object, odds are that your processor won't either.

If you encounter parts that need repair or replacement while inspecting your refrigeration and food prep equipment, contact one of our sales representatives to help you select the proper part to resolve your issues. Many of our manufacturers offer online videos to help guide you through the repair process.

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