Inspection Time: 5 Ways to Ensure Your Restaurant Meets Food Safety Standards

When you run a restaurant, you know the hard work and long hours you need to put in. There are so many things to take care of, so many things to worry about and you really don’t need a monkey wrench thrown in the works. In a busy kitchen, you’ll need different kinds of equipment and machinery to run the business smoothly. If anything goes wrong with any of your equipment, it could cause delays, disruption and also inconvenience customers. That’s the last thing any business wants to do. Keeping your restaurant equipment in good shape is critical, so here are several tips on restaurant equipment maintenance that will prove helpful.

1. Educating Staff

By educating your employees who use the equipment, you will reduce the chances of the equipment malfunctioning or giving trouble and not performing optimally. Misuse and abuse of equipment is one of the reasons why equipment can fail to perform the way it should. New employees need to be trained. Sometimes, an experienced employee may also be at fault because they’re so used to the equipment, they may cut corners or take things for granted. This complacency could cause machinery to fail, which in turn, could cause an injury. Staff need to know how to clean and take care of their tools, especially if the warranty has run out and will cost you money to repair it.

2. Daily Cleaning

Every time the equipment is used, the employee has to clean it and sanitize it according to a standard set of rules. Failure to do so could lead to injuries and malfunctions. By sanitizing, you help to ensure that customers won’t get sick either. Without proper cleaning, food particles and grime may build up and eventually jam components. Occasionally, food inspectors will pay a visit and this is something they’ll look for. You cannot have equipment that has built up gunk and expect inspectors to believe it happened overnight!

3. Regular Inspection

This ties in with cleaning as well. By cleaning daily, it gives the employee the opportunity to look for issues that could turn into bigger problems. Catching anything early is always a bonus. Look for wear and tear, moving parts, leaks, connections and other things like this and report it immediately. If caught early, it can be repaired with minimal problems, otherwise the alternatives may be a huge repair with a huge repair bill or a total replacement. If you have a service agreement with the supplier, it’s even better, since they come by once in a while to look at equipment and deal with issues, if there are any.

4. Check All Manuals

All equipment will come with a manual. Make sure these are kept in a safe and easily accessible place for reference. It’s a good idea to summarize important maintenance procedures onto one page and perhaps stick it onto the wall of the employee’s workstation. For specific problems, the employee or manager can reference the manual and know what’s needed to make an informed decision.

5. Using Chemicals

Make sure that when using chemicals, it is the right (or exact) chemical that is approved for use with that particular equipment. Do not use another chemical or something you feel is similar. This could have dangerous consequences. Using the wrong chemicals could not only cause damage to the equipment, which perhaps may not be covered by a warranty, but there’s also the possibility of an employee getting hurt. For example, if a chemical has run out and an employee used another similar type, but non-approved, there could be dangerous gases emitted due to residual chemical mixing with the new one, which could cause an employee to be overcome by fumes.

Look for worn out parts so that these can be replaced before a major problem arises. Be careful with trying to fix things on your own. This could cause shock, injury or by doing so, you may void the warranty. Certain repairs must only be handled by authorized technicians, not the guy in the back who makes the pizza!