Head of Jestic Technical Services, service director Neill Pearson, discusses how operators can keep their kitchen equipment in the best working order.
We all know how critical it is for a busy catering operation to have its equipment in good working order. At Jestic Foodservice Solutions, when we sell premium products and equipment, it’s just as vital for our business that we support our customers fully at all times. Which is why we set up Jestic Technical Services in 2013. We now provide nearly 50 engineers, who cover the whole of the UK, with another 13 in-house managing phone support and other services.
Jestic Technical Services has a broad portfolio of customers, and works with over 20 of the top multi-site household names in the restaurant business. Principally working on equipment we have initially sold to the restaurants, we’re there for our customers seven days a week. When you get in touch, our engineer will try to solve matters on the phone, or get someone to you as soon as possible, or at a time that suits you. While many companies offer equipment servicing, we believe what sets us apart is our first time-fix approach.
How we offer a first time-fix approach
What we mean by a first-time fix is that we’ve repaired the equipment, using original manufacturer parts if replacements are needed, in just one visit. Our first time-fix rate is high – 86% – no one else working on such a large range of equipment is achieving this rate of success. We do it by investing heavily in stock, so we have the parts available on our vans, and also by investing in engineer training to ensure we have the right knowledge.
Let’s look at some of the most common challenges we face…
The most common problems we’re called out to
Our engineers often think they’ve seen it all, but no two days are the same – which is actually a nice part of the job, always solving new challenges. Having said that, there are some very common themes. The main one is operator-level maintenance:
Operator maintenance. In recent times, this has been exacerbated by the shortage of staff and high staff turnover. When someone leaves, knowledge leaves the business, and much maintenance that should happen each day simply isn’t being done. We combat this with beginner or refresher training on daily, weekly and monthly tasks. As well as showing people how to do it, we help them understand the consequences of not doing it – for example, by ignoring a cleaning schedule, you could damage a £800 pump and prevent it working. We can walk them through the task on site, typically for two hours, but as long as it takes really, and at any number of locations. We support this with our range of training videos.
There are other regular problems, too:
Fryers. The most common issue is with filtration, and the need to clean daily – a common error is putting the filter back when it’s wet. Hot oil and water don’t mix. However, there are parts of fryers that operators can’t access, so they do need an engineer’s visit. A bad build-up of grease could result in the equipment being condemned.
Air flow. There is a common problem of cramming equipment into a space instead of venting it properly. Also when holding cabinets have vents on the top to release hot air – the vents are there for a reason, and it’s not to dry towels!
Training videos We make short YouTube videos of how to do certain tasks and why. Click here to view.
Our top tips
Use original manufacturer parts and components. This will support long-term reliability and help extend the product’s lifetime – we only use original manufacturer parts.
Understand the importance of preventative maintenance. There is a commercial gain to it, especially in increasing the longevity and safety of the equipment.
All equipment needs servicing and cleaning. Yearly service and maintenance is essential, for the reasons above.
Ensure you understand the legal requirements relating to your equipment, especially for gas appliances.
Using Jestic Technical Services
To log an issue, you can call, email or use the Jestic website – most requests are sent by email nowadays. Our engineer will call you back within half an hour, and work out if they can fix the issue there and then. If not, we’ll arrange a visit, as soon as possible, and to suit your hours of operation. Of course, the issue could be critical to your business, or the equipment may be functioning enough for you to carry on using it, in which case we will attend in its down-time.
We can also offer different types of maintenance or training – preventative, operator level and engineer level, one-off or regular. Usually we service only equipment we have sold, but for larger operators, we can discuss maintenance contracts where we support both equipment we have supplied and that from third parties.