15 things you need to check before reopening your kitchen


The Foodservice Equipment Association has launched a recommissioning equipment guide as the foodservice industry plans for the easing of lockdown.

After a long period of being switched off, commercial kitchen equipment will need “a bit of TLC” before it can be up and running again, according to the association.

It has published a guide entitled ‘Recommissioning Foodservice Equipment After Prolonged Closure’, which lists some of the key points to consider to ensure that commercial catering equipment is working safely and efficiently.

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This new publication follows on from the FEA guide to decommissioning equipment, which was published as the lockdown began.

“Foodservice operators are making plans for life after the lifting of restrictions,” said John Whitehouse, chair of FEA. “This guide will help them protect their appliances, hopefully avoiding any nasty equipment-related surprises when they start opening up.”

The advice covers a variety of specific areas, ranging from coffee machines and refrigeration to food waste systems and combi ovens.

It also gives general pointers and tips that apply to the kitchen as a whole.

Key points to consider include:

1. Clean and sanitise everything (equipment, surfaces, walls, floors, etc.) thoroughly before you start. (Caution: make sure the cleaners and sanitisers you use are suitable for the surfaces you are cleaning, e.g. stainless steel).

2. If you’re unsure about any appliance’s operational status, get it serviced. Similarly, if anything doesn’t feel right – for example, a button that won’t push – then don’t force it, call an engineer.

3. As much as possible, check everything is in good order (for example, do a thorough visual check) before switching on.

4. Treat equipment as if it was new – follow the user manual, run through the start-up procedure, do a dry run, then start it up and run the machine.

5. Note that many manufacturers will have instructions and advice online – if the answer isn’t there, give them a call.

6. Gas equipment: check the appliance as well as the ventilation and interlock systems.  If in any doubt at all, call in an engineer.

7. Electric appliances: again, if they’re not working, and you’ve checked the supply is switched on and that they are switched on, then call an engineer.

8. Water: for any appliance using water (beverage systems etc.) run water through the system to flush out any standing water. Thoroughly clean the system.

9. Refrigeration: after cleaning, turn on and check that it reaches the correct temperature before loading.

10. Warewashers: give them a run through on empty.

11. Light equipment: where possible and safe to do so, dismantle and give the appliances a thorough cleaning.

12. Grease management systems: recommission according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  With external grease traps, if they were not emptied at lockdown than get in a contractor to empty them. Fill up bio dosing systems.

13. Waste management systems such as FWDs: recommission according to manufacturer’s instructions.

14. With all appliances, cupboards, etc., check for any presence of dust, insects, pests, etc. and act accordingly.

15. Remove any results of pest control measures.

Tags : coronavirusFEAkitchensrecommissioning
Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour


  1. You missed a big one and it should be made as one of the points. Fire precautions and Fire Suppression systems! Are they serviced and operational? There is a greater potential to experience fires as appliances and extracts are started up and worked on after this lengthy period of inactivity. Have extract canopy and extract fan units been cleaned and serviced? Have you an up to date certificate of test for your fire suppression system, is it operational? If you have a fire and your fire precautions have not been checked and tested will you still be insured if you have a fire?

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