It's Time to Replace: The 5 Most Used Pieces of Restaurant Kitchen Equipment
Before you knew it, your first restaurant became a booming business! It seems like just yesterday you had your grand opening.
All of your equipment was shiny and new. Everything had that "new restaurant" smell.
Then, a few years passed and your "new" restaurant is a hotspot with steady customers and rave reviews.
There are over a million restaurants in the United States. With that many restaurants, there's also a lot of kitchen equipment in service. With daily use, kitchen equipment suffers from wear and tear.
Your restaurant's equipment is no exception. Here's what to know about aging equipment and the five pieces of kitchen equipment most used and likely to need repair.
How Old is Too Old?
Your first question might be: how long does kitchen equipment last?
Depending on the specific piece, your kitchen equipment has a lifespan. In general, your equipment needs a replacement after ten years in use.
Despite thorough cleaning, aging equipment can gather mold and germs over time. You'll also notice equipment doesn't run as efficiently the older it gets.
Aging equipment and equipment that isn't running at peak performance can also affect the taste and quality of your food and beverages.
Keep records of when you first purchase your kitchen equipment. If you buy used equipment, make sure you research service records. Note documentation about the age of the machine.
Which machines are the most used? Take a look at these five pieces.
1. Is the Refrigerator Running?
Just because the refrigerator runs after many years in service doesn't mean it's safe to continue using.
Refrigerators attract mold and bacteria. Without regular cleaning, your restaurant's refrigeration system could be putting your food and customers in danger.
Your walk-in refrigerator needs regular maintenance. Check the compressor, condenser, and evaporator coil regularly. Replace if necessary.
If these parts begin running loudly or begin frequently icing over or breaking, it's time to consider replacing the full refrigerator. If the temperature doesn't stay cold enough, you also need to consider a replacement.
It's not an easy replacement. But the health and safety of your patrons depend on your ability to refrigerate food items properly.
2. Not Feeling the Heat
Your restaurant's commercial oven and griddles are some of your most heavily used pieces of kitchen equipment.
Faulty gas heating equipment is dangerous to your kitchen staff. Gas fumes could also affect customers while they dine in your restaurant.
For electric heating elements, aging equipment can short out. When thermometers fail, the food you serve won't be at the correct temperature for safe serving.
Heating and cooking equipment that needs regular repair is a liability. If these pieces of equipment continue to run well after five years of use, you can probably get a few more good years out of them with proper maintenance.
However, if your cooking surfaces need frequent repair, at five years it's time to replace the equipment for food, employee, and customer safety.
3. Don't Ignore Dirty Dishes
A missed spot here or there on a plate or utensil is understandable.
However, if you notice food residue frequently left behind on "clean" dishes and silverware, it's time for new dishwashing and sanitation equipment.
Customers don't like dirty forks. But, it's more than merely the appearance of dirty dishes here or there.
When food remains on plates, cups, serving dishes, or utensils, these pieces are unsafe to serve to customers.
Your dishwashing equipment needs to spray cleanly. When sprayers become clogged, they are ineffective when removing food. If the water doesn't get hot enough, your dishes lack proper sanitation.
Keep an eye on the cleanliness of your dishes. Watch for leaks around the seals of your dishwasher. Puddles on floors are a safety hazard in the kitchen.
Replace cleaning equipment if it's failing to do the job well.
4. Your Ice Matters
When the ice machine doesn't stay cold enough, mold and bacteria can form on the interior of the ice hold.
Your ice machine has to make ice, keep it cold, and stay ventilated enough to make sure the ice in your customer's drinks doesn't make them sick.
Check the ice machine water filtration system for mold or deposits. If the ice machine runs too much, it could be working overtime to keep the ice cold.
The machine's vents need regular cleaning. When dust and debris collect in the vents, there's a risk of ice contamination.
Your ice machine is one of your most essential pieces of equipment. It also works harder than most of your other equipment. Don't worry if you need to replace it more often than other types of kitchen equipment.
5. You Believe You Can Fry
If you believe you can still fry, but your fryer is past its prime, it's time to replace it.
Depending on the type of food you serve in your restaurant, you might use your fryer a lot--or a little. Either way, keep an eye on your fryer.
Much like your griddle and commercial oven, your fryer has to maintain precise temperatures for food safety. If your fryer fails to cook food thoroughly, you risk making your patrons sick.
Keep fryers clean. Give them plenty of time to heat before use. Also, give them plenty of time to cool at the end of the day.
Change fry grease or oil regularly. If you notice fryer parts clogged with grease, it's time for a replacement.
Between floor fryers or tabletop fryers, this type of equipment is easier to replace than some larger pieces of kitchen equipment. Don't be afraid to swap a bad one for a new one.
Keep up With the Life of Your Kitchen Equipment
Running a successful restaurant means keeping up to date on the lifespan of your kitchen equipment. Faulty equipment is a safety hazard. Kitchen equipment that no longer works also affects the quality of the food you serve.
Your equipment is an investment. Whether you're setting up your first kitchen or it's time to replace your well-loved equipment, let us help. Contact us to get started finding the best equipment for the specific needs of your kitchen.