Equipment breakdowns in your commercial kitchen can not only cause a significant loss of income, they can also damage your reputation and have long lasting negative effects on your business. For example, if one of your deep fat fryers breaks down during a busy service period, wait times can skyrocket, resulting in missed sales and lots of unhappy customers. More serious equipment breakdowns can result in the temporary closure of your restaurant, leading to the loss of both income and inventory, as well as being off-putting and inconvenient to loyal customers.
For this reason, Bilby Group has created the Bilby Club – a commercial kitchen servicing solution that is designed to ensure that any issues that could significantly impact your business are dealt with quickly and efficiently. As a member of the Bilby Club, you will benefit from 24/7 access to commercial kitchen repairs by our expert technicians. When you join, we perform an audit of your commercial kitchen to identify possible equipment failures that would have a serious risk of impacting your business and we make sure that we stock the required parts to carry out immediate repairs on that equipment.
Here are some of the key equipment failures that can have a big impact on your business.
While it may be hidden from the naked eye, your exhaust ventilation system is of integral importance to the safety and efficiency of your kitchen. The most important element of the ventilation system is the exhaust fan – a fan failure can result in highly contaminated air remaining within the kitchen space which can represent a health and safety risk. Additionally, the hot air coming from the kitchen equipment can lead to the kitchen quickly overheating and becoming an unworkable environment. The lack of exhaust will also result in the air flowing from the kitchen into other areas of the building, meaning your customers will notice the poor air quality, including cooking smells, smoke and heat. A breakdown of this system will often require a business to close until a commercial kitchen exhaust repair can be arranged and these repairs can quickly become expensive.
Generally, ventilation failure is due to insufficient commercial kitchen ventilation servicing. The build-up of grease in the ducting and on the fan puts stress on the fan motor which can result in an electrical fault. Not only does this cause issues with air quality and temperature, but it can also create a serious fire risk.
A commercial kitchen ventilation fire is disastrous for any hospitality business. Not only will you lose revenue due to the closure of your business, but you’ll also have significant costs associated with commercial kitchen exhaust repairs and replacing damaged assets. Even worse, your insurance may not cover you if you have not been meeting the appropriate standards for commercial kitchen ventilation servicing.
As a hospitality business, your commercial kitchen equipment is your key asset. Your kitchen has been designed so that you are efficiently producing meals for your customers. A failure of just one piece of equipment will at best slow down service and at worst it will cause a complete shutdown until the equipment has been repaired. Imagine a burger joint that can’t switch on its chargrill!
While equipment failures can occur for many reasons, the most common causes are insufficient cleaning and inadequate commercial kitchen servicing. Kitchens quickly accumulate grease and dirt on key areas of equipment, meaning they need to be periodically replaced during preventative maintenance works to prevent breakdowns. Inadequate commercial kitchen ventilation servicing can also contribute to equipment breakdowns due to overheating.
Refrigeration equipment protects the key ingredient of a restaurant business – the food. Any failure of refrigeration equipment can result in food safety concerns – without a stable temperature, food is no longer safe to serve customers. In these situations, restaurants are often forced to throw out valuable inventory and close down the restaurant to keep their customers safe.
Refrigeration problems can be caused by mechanical failures of one of the key components such as the compressor, fan or motor. Wear and tear of parts such as the door seal can also lead to a failure to maintain the designated temperature.
Ultimately, only regular commercial kitchen servicing which includes proper maintenance of refrigeration equipment will prevent breakdowns and extend the lifetime of your kitchen assets.
Air Conditioning Failures
A well-functioning air conditioning and ventilation system is essential to creating a positive customer experience. Air temperature is an important part of every diner’s experience, and if your customers are sweating or shivering through their meal, they are not likely to return for another one.
A failure of the air conditioning and ventilation system can mean that a dining area quickly becomes unpleasant either due to excessive heat or poor air quality. In some cases the issue is so severe that the restaurant may need to be closed until repairs can be carried out.
Regular commercial kitchen servicing may allow a technician to identify possible faults in the air conditioning system before they cause a system breakdown, essentially solving the problem before it arises.
Commercial Kitchen Fires
Restaurant fires are the most serious issue of all, and they are all too common. Fire NSW have identified restaurants and other eateries as workplaces that are a high risk of fire. In the USA, on average 8000 restaurant structural fires are reported per year – that is 20 restaurants per day. 60% of these fires originate from the cooking equipment, with deep fat fryers being the main ignition source. Insufficient cleaning and maintenance of exhaust systems can often cause fires to spread through the building.
In Australia, a number of well-known restaurants have had to close due to kitchen fires. Rockpool (2014), Porteno (2015) and Nomad (2019) are just a few recent examples. The cost of remediation and replacement of equipment in these cases is enormous.
Kitchen fires are mainly started by user error – a flame up from a grill or a fryer overheating and igniting. However, the level of maintenance of commercial kitchen equipment will usually determine whether the fire is quickly extinguished with minimal damage, or if it escalates and causes major structural damage and risk to customer and employee safety. Poorly maintained ventilation systems, cooking equipment and fire protection assets can all contribute to an escalation of a fire.
As a hospitality business, your commercial kitchen equipment is your major business asset. Poorly maintained equipment can lead to loss of income and increased safety risks, as well as a shorter lifespan for expensive appliances and systems. As a member of the Bilby Club, you can rest assured your assets are being properly maintained, protecting your business from unexpected disruptions and saving you money in the long run.
For more information about the Bilby Club, fill out the contact request form below.