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How to Avoid Unexpected Equipment Breakdowns

Recently, water filter experts, BRITA, carried out a special report on how operators can avoid unexpected equipment breakdowns after research discovered that a third of hospitality professionals deal with between four and six breakdowns a year.

Shockingly, BRITA estimated that operators who were worst affected by equipment failures are currently losing up to 60 hours of kitchen productivity every year.

In an effort to try and combat this, the brand has put together a free report offering advice and useful information for caterers which highlights the types of kitchen inefficiencies which occur and the impact these can have.

According to the report, 61% of hospitality professionals say that reliable equipment would make their kitchen more practical and efficient, with 47% claiming that unreliable equipment was the biggest contributing factor to being stressed in the kitchen.

With regards to costs and sales, 82% said they feel they’ve had to spend additional costs on unexpected equipment repairs, and one in five hospitality businesses experience up to a 20% loss in sales per month due to equipment breakdowns.

To help tackle this, training expert, Paul Mannering, Principal of the HIT Training Chef Academy, offers his advice in the report and recommends operators need to implement training within their business.

He says: “Whether that’s having a mentor programme run by senior team members or working with a training provider to put a more formal system in place, a clear development plan will result in higher skill levels and raised confidence, which will ultimately mean you will get more out of employees.”

He also suggests that investing money in apprenticeship programmes will improve staff retention rates, commenting: “80% of employers state that having an apprentice has increased their retention, and by investing money in apprenticeship programmes, you’ll have team members who are trained in how your kitchen operates.”

On the other hand, leading chef, Hayden Groves, Executive Chef at BaxterStorey, explains how he efficiently runs his kitchen to avoid any problems or issues.

He says: “Chefs should be able to access everything they need in no more than a few steps. If a chef has to rummage through a pile of stainless steel just to reach a spoon, then the kitchen is not running efficiently. It’s the little things that really make a difference, saving ten seconds on every job can have a huge cumulative impact.”

However, one of the main things that caterers can do to reduce the risk of kitchen equipment breakdowns is carry out PPM (planned preventative maintenance).

BRITA suggest using a water filter on key pieces of equipment such as a combi oven to prevent limescale, and to exchange the filters on a regular basis.

Planned preventative maintenance is something we at Sylvester Keal can also help with, and our fully qualified engineers can offer PPM visits and contracts to ensure equipment is working to its best ability.

Ensuring that you have a preventative maintenance plan in place is absolutely vital for commercial caterers and if you aren’t covered by one, this could potentially lead to paying excessive fees in the event of a breakdown occurring.

If you haven’t got a plan in place or maybe you don’t regularly check your equipment yourself, then now is definitely the time to consider doing so as the Christmas period is upon us meaning busier restaurants and professional kitchens.

If you would like to speak with Sylvester Keal about organising a preventative maintenance visit or would like more information on how you and your staff can help reduce the amount of call outs you make, call our team on 01472 352033.

You can also download the free BRITA report ‘The Collaborative Kitchen: The Pursuit of Optimum Kitchen Efficiency’ here from Foodservice Equipment Journal

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