7 Common Causes of Restaurant Equipment Failure

The 7 Common Causes of Restaurant Equipment Failure

The core of consistently good restaurant food comes from its equipment in the kitchen. It helps cook, store, and keep the restaurant going. However, after years of use, it can also breakdown or malfunction. When this happens, it can cause a lot of problems for the restaurant. This article will discuss some of the most common causes of restaurant equipment failure and a few tips on how to prevent these failures from ever happening in your kitchen.

Reasons For Equipment Failure

There are several things that can cause any commercial kitchen equipment to fail. Some of the most common causes include:

1. Improper installation

If the restaurant equipment is not installed properly, it can easily malfunction and possibly cause equipment failure. Improper installation can also lead to safety hazards in the kitchen. However, this can be easily avoided by hiring a professional to properly install your restaurant equipment.

When installing any commercial kitchen equipment, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If you are not too familiar with how to install the equipment, it’s best to consult an expert to do the job for you.

2. Overuse

Restaurant equipment is designed to handle a predetermined amount of volume. Equipment is considered overused when it is working harder and longer than it was engineered to perform. Overusing equipment without regular preventative maintenance and replacing “wear” parts care can easily add to the equipment’s cost of ownership.

To prevent this from happening, make sure and consult with an equipment specialist who can match the right piece of equipment with your anticipated volume. 

3. Poor maintenance

When kitchen equipment is not regularly and properly serviced it will be much more susceptible to unnecessary wear and tear. Issues such as carbon build up, grease migration, excess motor or compressor run times are common when a regular service program isn’t scheduled.

There are a few ways to avoid this:

  1. Have a regular cleaning schedule of all equipment, including the backside of the cookline.
  2. Regularly replace wear items such as gaskets, o-rings, blades, belts and filters.
  3. Schedule a regular Preventative maintenance program on all key equipment by a trained service professional to identify any potential issues before they become a problem. A comprehensive PM program can drastically reduce the likelihood of “down equipment” in your kitchen.

4. Years of Use

Every piece of restaurant equipment will eventually wear out. As the equipment ages it becomes more susceptible to damage and failure.

The best way to maintain the quality of your equipment is to regularly have it inspected by a qualified technician. Similar to your car, regular scheduled service will extend the life of your equipment and allow you to budget for upcoming expenses of equipment repair.

5. Environmental Factors

Extreme temperatures, humidity, poor ventilation, and grease migration can also cause rapid deterioration of any restaurant equipment.

Maintaining not just your equipment but the supporting systems such air conditioning, exhaust hood ventilation and returns and drain systems can be impactful as well.

6. Electrical Problems

Electrical issues can impact equipment by over supplying or under supplying the necessary voltage and amperage to your equipment. Too little power can cause motors to work harder than designed and too much power can short controls, switches and motors. Having an electrician identify the actual voltage in your kitchen will provide you with a better understanding of what you can do to ensure the longevity of your equipment.

7. Improper Use

Plan for regular training with staff on the proper use, cleaning and maintenance of your equipment. With today’s current turnover in kitchen staff this can often be overlooked but proper training can prevent unnecessary expenses for repairs.

Keep all manuals and procedures in the same are or near the equipment for easy reference.

Conclusion

These are the most common causes of restaurant equipment failure. Always remember that when in doubt, call an expert to help you with your kitchen woes.

At DSL Northwest, we are always ready to solve your restaurant equipment problems. We are a full-service company that provides repair, installation., and maintenance services for restaurants in the Northwest. Our technicians have years of experience and are qualified to handle any problem that you may encounter with your restaurant equipment. For inquiries and concerns, let us know through an email at [email protected] or call us at 877-665-1125.

Preventative Maintenance: The Importance of a Regular Restaurant Equipment Check

Preventative maintenance involves functional checks, servicing, repairing, or replacing of necessary parts and equipment in a restaurant kitchen. These cost-effective practices keep kitchen equipment operational and restaurant operations running smoothly, reducing down time and increasing profitability.

Preventative Maintenance

What are the Common Preventative Maintenance Tasks?

Usually, there are routine tasks performed by trained technicians to ensure that all the pieces of equipment in the kitchen are working well. Depending on the size of your kitchen and the number of pieces of equipment you have, a regular preventative maintenance takes at least a few hours to several days. This involves a thorough inspection, testing, repairing and replacing wear items inside your equipment.

Here are the common tasks that your field technician may perform:

  • Checking door hinges, gaskets, and handles.

Whether its an oven, a freezer, or a grill, these pieces of equipment usually have doors or handles that are used frequently. Any damage, trapped dirt or grease can cause doors to close unevenly, overworking your equipment in the long run.

  • Cleaning or replacing filters, blowing out condensers

Any equipment that involves refrigeration in the kitchen should be thoroughly inspected and filtering/condensing systems cleaned at least every three months. Cleaning the filters can prevent grease and dirt build-up that may cause extra stress on condensers.

  • Fryer maintenance

Regular checking of high limit sensors, ignition sensors and gaskets as well as quarterly deep cleaning of the fry pot improves food quality, reduces stress on heating elements due to carbon build up and improves recovery time for oil

  • Running diagnostic tests

To prevent unwanted and unnecessary damages that may affect you during business hours, a professional technician will run a few diagnostic tests to guarantee that your equipment is running smoothly and identify any potential issues that you may wish to repair to prevent equipment failure during operating hours.

Preventative Maintenance

Types of Restaurant Kitchen Maintenance

We do regular maintenance on our home heating and cooling systems as well as on our vehicles, the same should be done with your kitchen equipment. A strategy and plan for regularly maintenance is an investment in lowering your cost of ownership and extending the useful life of your equipment.

  • Preventative Maintenance (PM Program)

A planned preventative maintenance program (PM) is a scheduled maintenance visit that can occur quarterly, semi yearly or yearly depending on the specific piece of equipment. The goal of a PM is to reduce the likelihood of breakdown which may limit the ability to serve parts of your menu for a day or days. These routine check-ups are aimed at detecting and correcting any possible signs of equipment failure before it occurs.

  • Reactive Maintenance

Reactive Maintenance is the costliest type of service on your equipment. Not only do you have the expense of the technician’s time, travel and parts, often you are losing sales while the unit is in need of repair and parts.

Why is it Important?

Regularly having your kitchen equipment checked by a professional significantly reduces the likelihood of breakdowns and downtime. When a piece of equipment stops working, part of your menu may be affected and sales will be lost. This is much more detrimental when a critical piece of equipment from the kitchen breaks as equipment repairs are much more costly and may take hours or even days to complete.

Having regularly scheduled preventative maintenance ensures that all kitchen equipment will be in excellent condition, ready to fry the next batch of fried chicken, grilled burger or produce the crowd-favorite ice cream for the next few months.

Looking for field experts for your restaurant’s regular preventative maintenance? At DSL Northwest, our primary goal is to keep our client’s businesses running and their customers happy. If you want to make restaurant equipment planning easy and hassle-free, send our team a message here, and we’ll be more than happy to discuss what kind of program makes sense.