OPINION: Taking care of your kitchen assets

Commercial kitchen

Operators struggling to know whether to repair or replace equipment should embrace a clear and comprehensive maintenance strategy, writes Simon Frost, chair of industry trade association CESA.

Modern quality appliances are designed to last longer. It’s not unusual to find warewashers, refrigerators and cooking appliances still going strong after 10 years or more.

Simon FrostThe critical issue is looking after the equipment, not only in terms of day-to-day cleaning and maintenance but also ensuring it is regularly serviced by professional engineers.

Of course, the longevity of equipment also depends on how hard it works. In some high street fast food chains, fryers are replaced after five years because the repair costs rise rapidly after that.

This brings up another issue: asset management. Increasingly, multiple operators are looking to service providers to take care of the equipment on their estate, with detailed reporting and advice on when replacement is more cost-effective than repair.

These days there’s also the issue of energy efficiency. An older appliance may still function, but if it’s a big consumer of energy or other resources, such as water, then it may be more cost-effective to replace it — given rapidly-rising running costs, ROI can often justify the capital outlay. An alternative is leasing, which eliminates the
capital outlay while energy savings accrue right away.

5 top catering equipment lifecycle tips

FEJ asked suppliers what operators can do to optimise the lifecycle of their equipment. Here are their top five pieces of advice.

1) Attend product training to not only understand how to use the equipment, but how to maintain it.

2) Seek out a planned-predictive maintenance plan to see equipment work for the duration of its intended operational lifespan.

3) Always use qualified engineers who have training from the manufacturer.

4) Use manufacturers’ original parts rather than cheaper substitute components.

5) When replacing equipment always look at the most modern updated models. After all, you don’t replace your old TV, mobile phone or laptop with similar models, you go for the latest versions.

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