According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Restaurants use about 2.5 times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings.” With 35% of energy consumption coming from food preparation, it’s important to make sure all equipment is running efficiently. A minor leak or equipment running at full capacity during idle times can cause significant spikes in energy costs. Restaurant owners can take the following 6 steps to keep efficiency up and costs down.
1. Hire a maintenance technician
Owners of small restaurants may think equipment maintenance is quick and easy, but the truth is most restaurant owners have too much to handle on a daily basis to keep up with complex maintenance requirements. Sure, wiping down equipment and countertops is straight-forward, but what about checking for leaks or doing a deep clean? A maintenance technician can take care of most of the steps on this list and let you focus on running your business.
2. Schedule regular maintenance
A maintenance technician should inspect:
-Refrigerator and freezer doors
3. Regularly do a deep clean
It’s important to clean refrigeration and air conditioning coils to help prevent early compressor failure. Removing debris from the bottom of the oven will help make sure the door is fully sealed every time it is closed.
Commercial fryers should be boiled out on a weekly basis and follow the appliance manual’s instructions. The general steps to boil out a fryer are as follows:
-Remove the oil
-Scrub away any oil buildup
-Add water and a grease-cleaning solution
-Boil the liquid for 5-10 minutes
-Remove the liquid once cooled
-Scrub away any remaining oil using water and baking soda if necessary
-Repeat the cleaning process until all oil remnants are gone
Countertops and hard surfaces
Commercial fryer exteriors, countertops, and other kitchen surfaces should be cleaned with a degreasing cleaner or vinegar solution.
4. Turn off or dial down unused equipment
In the afternoons, between lunch and dinner, kitchen personnel should be especially mindful of using minimal energy and limiting the number of appliances running simultaneously.
5. Optimize the quality and lifespan of fryer oil
Avoid loading fry baskets near the oil vat and use a fryer oil filter to remove food particles and other foreign matter. When the fryer is not being used, decrease the temperature to 250℉ and place a cover overnight.
6. Purchase energy efficient appliances
Visit energystar.gov for tips and steps to choosing energy efficient appliances.
Running a restaurant business is a full-time job. Don’t let kitchen maintenance make you fall behind.