Whatever size or type of kitchen you run; you will have experienced downtime from key pieces of equipment failing. A malfunctioning fridge leaving food spoiled and unsafe for consumption or a broken oven in the middle of a busy dinner service. Emergency repairs can be costly and the impact on loss of service, devastating to the business.

At Certa Service, we have been called out to so many kitchen breakdowns over the years (and we’re not talking Gordon Ramsay losing it on an episode of Hell’s kitchen!). We carry spare parts and always try to rectify the problem as quickly as possible, but the truth is that for nearly every breakdown we have attended, the situation was totally avoidable.

We all know that effective planning is vital for ongoing business success. Having a plan in place to ensure the smooth operation of your kitchen has always had huge benefits.

What can you do to prevent breakdown of key kitchen equipment?

No chef or kitchen manager wants the nightmare scenario of the breakdown of vital kitchen equipment. Planned preventative maintenance (PPM) regularly will avoid unwanted kitchen downtime and be factored into your monthly budget to avoid any nasty surprises.

Start by making an inventory of all your kitchen equipment if you haven’t done so already and ensure you have relevant paperwork on gas safe certificates and information on the make/model of large appliances.

You will need to set up a regular maintenance programme, so it is important you work out your monthly budget to factor this in. Work out how much you can afford and the cost savings you will ultimately make in comparison to the cost of downtime and emergency call outs. The more you can document, the better, particularly where you need to justify spending to the business owners if it isn’t yourself.

Choose a maintenance company wisely. A good company will come out and inspect your kitchen and work out a price and regularity with you to suit your budget and needs. Ensure that they have the certification to offer the testing of gas appliances so that your kitchen remains fully compliant and safe for your workers and customers. If you have an ice machine, then it will need to be serviced and cleaned on a regular basis to prevent any contamination or build-up of bacteria. Items such as extractor fans and hoods and air conditioning should also be tested frequently to ensure your kitchen is a safe environment for all your staff.

5 reasons to put a PPM in place

Quite simply, it’s a false economy to wait until something goes wrong, with the expense of calling out an engineer every time you have a problem far exceeding the costs of regular care. Here are 5 compelling reasons to put a PPM in place and give yourself peace of mind:

1. Reduced Costs:
A PPM allows you to budget across a period of time rather than on an ad-hoc basis. Once you find yourself in an emergency, it’s often too late. Not only does preventive maintenance cost less than repairing or replacing broken equipment, but you can also factor it into your monthly cashflow, so you never receive any nasty surprises.
If you have stakeholders, then having a planned monthly budget to keep kitchen equipment in working order will be a reassurance as opposed to delays on payments if you have had to pay out for costly emergency repairs.

Putting PPM in place will also save you money in energy bills. A study examining the consumption of electricity in the commercial kitchen found that poor levels of care significantly contribute to excessive energy use in refrigerators, while in some cases maintenance can deliver electricity savings of up to 45%.

2. Protect your reputation:
In the hospitality sector, reputation is absolutely everything. You don’t want to disappoint diners by taking off menu items because a piece of equipment isn’t working. With PPM in place, you will help to ensure that you are always in a position to wow your customers and keep ahead of the competition, which is especially important in these uncertain times. Again, if you have stakeholders, it is vital that you keep them feeling reassured in their investments.

3. Maximise Operations/Less downtime:
Every second a vital piece of equipment is not running; your establishment could be losing money. Avoid losing a profitable dinner service from an oven breaking down or having to throw away valuable stock because of a walk-in freezer malfunction. If you keep your assets properly maintained, then your kitchen can operate at capacity at all times without a break in service.

4. Improve workplace safety, compliance and hygiene standards:
Regular maintenance of all your kitchen equipment will ensure that it is operating correctly to keep your workforce and customers safe including GasSafe testing to ensure that your establishment remains compliant.

A recent study has suggested that there are more cases of food-born disease in the UK than previously thought. Adequate maintenance is essential to help meet the requirements of the Food Safety Act, and to ensure your cooking, hot holding, and chilling equipment is working correctly and won’t let you down and endanger your customers.

5. Increase Equipment Lifecycle:
By regularly servicing equipment, you are also extending its service lifecycle. The longer the asset is in service for the more money you’re saving in the long term. Regular servicing can identify and solve problems whilst they are small and fixable, which will prolong the life of your equipment.

How Certa can help

Here at Certa Service, we understand that no kitchen is the same, so we offer a full range of pre-planned maintenance packages (PPMs) to suit any commercial kitchen or budget.

If you contact us to organise kitchen maintenance, we will visit your kitchen to make a preliminary inspection and inventory of your key kitchen equipment. We will work with you to arrange a PPM that will suit your needs and budget.

During your planned preventative maintenance service, our engineers will come during a day and time of your choosing so as not to conflict with busy kitchen times and will regularly test and service your kitchen equipment and repair or replace any parts before they wear out or malfunction. This includes servicing ovens, refrigeration units and chillers, air conditioning unitsice machines, ventilation units and all other commercial kitchen equipment.

We offer kitchen equipment service and maintenance to an impressive array of dining establishments that continue to trust us to maintain their kitchen equipment.

Please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team and start protecting your kitchen.