The cost of running a commercial kitchen is higher than ever – and in many cases, the last thing our clients want to think about is repairing their vital appliances (or replacing them completely).

While investing in new equipment is sometimes unavoidable, there are things that you can do to make sure you experience minimal downtime from your equipment.

We spoke to Carl Twaites, our Field Service Manager, for his thoughts on the steps that venues and caterers can take to protect their commercial kitchen equipment from unexpected breakdowns and keep it working at its best for as long as possible.

Purchase quality equipment in the first place

Carl says:

“You really do get what you pay for. Smaller pubs and restaurants might get away with buying second hand equipment to keep costs down, but most of the blue chip companies we work with need to purchase new items because they require better performing equipment full stop. These brand new machines will have a much better life expectancy from the manufacturer, not to mention longer warranties, too.

“For example, let’s look at Rational combination ovens. Normally, you can expect to get at least 7 years of solid use out of a newer model. After that, components may start to wear and fail, and the product will begin to go downhill – but you will have had a good return on your initial investment. A second-hand Rational product will probably only come with a 6 month warranty and will be much more prone to breakdowns, meaning more callouts and potentially more repair costs.

“Plus, it’s worth mentioning that newer equipment is much more eco-efficient than older equipment. Most of the time, second hand equipment often doesn’t cut it as far as saving energy is concerned – and we know this is a big consideration for our clients, from a cost-saving perspective and from an environmental standpoint.”

Make sure your equipment is suitable for the tasks required

Carl says:

“If you are running an office canteen that’s only serving around 300 people per day, your requirements are very different to a larger premises that’s catering for 1500 covers on every shift. The key here is not to overspend on unnecessarily larger equipment, based on what you actually need it for.

“This is something that the team here at TWO can assist with. We can look at your needs, your budget, and how much space you have onsite to determine which equipment will be the best option in terms of both performance and longevity. We can often recommend a better alternative to the appliance you’ve had your eye on, and because we are not tied to any one manufacturer, we can make completely independent suggestions.

“We can even help you transition to a gas setup if your consumer board is full and your network is constantly being overloaded. Our staff have the relevant qualifications to modify gas pipework and run for new gas equipment. Alternatively, we can convert your power network to electric only, if you no longer have a need for gas. It’s about looking at what’s going to work best for your business in the long term and putting a plan in place to make changes to your infrastructure that are both smart and sustainable.”

Budget for new appliances ahead of time
Carl says:

“When you purchase new kitchen equipment – let’s say, a dishwasher – you will have a rough idea of how long that appliance is expected to last for. So, you should leave scope in your budget for its replacement, way in advance. This will help you avoid any unexpected costs and make forecasting much easier.

“When you invest in a maintenance package with TWO Services, part of our role is to review your equipment on a regular basis and monitor its output and condition. We will provide a condition report after every service, so you’ll be kept informed of any problems or deteriorations in performance.”

Do your housework!
Carl says:

“Make sure staff are well versed on how to keep your appliances clean and free from any obstructions. This could be as simple as cleaning out the dirt and fat trays in your dishwashers regularly, running the right water treatments, or using water softener to prevent damaging limescale from building up in your equipment’s components. Again, TWO can advise on the things you and your teams need to do every day, week or month to get the most use possible from your kitchen.

“Every small step you take towards maintaining your equipment now could save you time, money, and a great deal of stress further down the line.”

Run a good planned preventative maintenance schedule
At TWO, we provide comprehensive preventative maintenance package options for businesses running commercial kitchens.

Our services include:

• Standard 6 or 12 month inspections
• A ‘labour comprehensive’ contract, covering labour costs for reactive callouts
• An ‘out of hours’ option to help you avoid downtime

Essentially, we’re here to look after all your equipment onsite – and we will never cut corners to do so.