8 Things You Need to Consider Before Purchasing a Commercial Oven

There’s no competition. Your oven is the most important appliance in your kitchen. It impacts the quality of your food, your staff’s productivity, customer satisfaction and the overall efficiency of your kitchen. 

That’s why searching for the right oven is as critical as headhunting new staff. You need to spend quality time researching your options. You also need to think strategically to make a sound business decision. 

We’re here to help. Below are 8 vital elements you need to consider to aid your search for the right commercial oven. 

 

1. Space

Obviously, you’re going to measure your space to ensure a new oven will fit perfectly in your kitchen. That also means considering maneuverability – think about whether your staff can easily and safely move past the oven without being obstructed. 

Also, consider the long-term plan for your business and what sort of oven will accommodate your growing needs. You might not need a convection or combination oven now. But can a standard oven keep up with your growth? Eliminate the need for a future replacement by purchasing an oven that can serve your business for years to come.

2. Cost

When budgeting, go beyond the question of ‘How much does a commercial oven cost?’ You also need to factor in cleaning, maintenance, training and repair costs. 

The best way to keep costs down is by cleaning your oven daily, scheduling in deep-cleaning sessions and reading the manufacturer’s manual to make sure your staff can clean it properly. Learn more about cleaning commercial ovens in our article. 

3. Make

Shopping for commercial ovens can be quite overwhelming because there are so many different makes and models to choose from. For quality ovens, we recommend Hobart and Maidaid

Hobart, which manufactures its products in Germany, is renowned for efficiency. If you’re looking to speed up cooking times without compromising on food quality, Hobart is a safe bet.

While Maidaid is at the forefront of research and development in the foodservice industry, always looking for innovative ways to improve its products. If you want a high-tech, long-lasting oven, you can’t go wrong with a Maidaid model.

4. Functionality

If you’ve read our article, The Definitive Guide to Commercial Ovens, you’ll know that there are lots of different types of ovens to suit different functions. For example, seafood restaurants would benefit most from a steam oven since steam is the best way to retain flavour and evenly cook fish.

Read the article if you’re unsure which type of oven would be best suited for your catering business. It might even inspire you to pursue different niches in the future, such as a pizzeria or carvery.

5. Ease of use

It can be fun to buy a commercial oven that has all the bells and whistles. But that also equals more training for your staff so they can use it effectively and safely. Sometimes the most sensible option is sticking with an oven that has basic features so it’s easy to operate by all staff members.

Then again, you might want to invest in an oven that uses smart technology to help you drive energy efficiency and save money. If you do buy an oven with complex features, it might be worth writing out instructions and sticking them to the wall (in addition to training your staff) so your team has a constant reminder on how to use it properly.

6. Cleaning

As we discussed in The Definitive Guide to Commercial Ovens, there are lots of different types of ovens with various capabilities. And with each variation comes new cleaning requirements. 

For example, a high speed oven will need to be deep cleaned more regularly than a convection oven since food is much more likely to splatter when cooked at very high temperatures. 

Whereas conveyor ovens have lots of different parts that need cleaning separately, such as crumb trays and draft diverters. As a result, you’ll need to set some time aside to train your staff on proper cleaning protocols. 

Consider if you can keep up with the cleaning demands of your oven before making a purchase, as this will greatly affect its efficiency and lifespan. 

Learn more: How to Clean Commercial Ovens.

7. Frequency of use

Is your kitchen extremely busy at certain periods of the year? Or perhaps your customer intake is steady all year round. Either way, you need to consider how hard your commercial oven needs to work to keep up with the demands of your catering business. Because standard ovens can only do so much. 

 

8. Power

It sounds obvious but so many business owners forget to consider their power supply when purchasing a commercial oven. This isn’t a big problem if you’re purchasing an electric oven – most, if not all, kitchens have an electrical power connection. But not all kitchens have a gas connection.

Purchase a gas oven without one and you’re looking at a very costly and complex installation. Keep this in mind when shopping to avoid major headaches further down the line. 

To recap, you need to consider these 8 factors before finalising a purchase:

  1. Space
  2. Cost
  3. Make
  4. Functionality
  5. Ease of use
  6. Cleaning
  7. Frequency of use
  8. Power

Then you’ll know for certain that your oven will serve your catering business effectively. 

Got another question about commercial ovens? We cover a lot of information in our definitive guide. You can also call us on  0113 833 1234 or email us at info@northerncatering.co.uk – we’re more than happy to answer any questions. 

 

How to Clean Your Commercial Oven

Your oven is a workhorse, operating around the clock to put perfectly cooked food on customers’ plates. 

With all that works comes grease, grime and other debris that – if left unchecked – can cause major headaches including:

  • Flavour changes
  • Smoke
  • Unpleasant odours
  • Fire hazards
  • Badly cooked food
  • Downtime 

To avoid these problems, you need to clean your commercial oven properly. We teach you how.

The following tips can be applied to most commercial ovens. However, keep reading to learn individual cleaning requirements for different types of ovens.

1. Create a daily cleaning schedule

We get it, cleaning your oven at the end of a busy day is the last thing you or your staff will probably want to do. But see it like this – daily cleaning will save you a lot of time and anguish down the road. And it doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking.

Concentrate on cleaning the hob and interior – these are the areas that cause the most problems if dirt and grime is left to build up. And clean in the evening so you can leave the oven doors open to dry overnight. 

2. Disconnect electrical power

Before you clean your commercial oven, remember to switch it off at the power source! Especially if you’re using water. And if you decide to clean early, make sure the oven and its hob has cooled off before you get to work. 

3. Curb crumbs

Just think about how quickly crumbs accumulate after a few midnight snacks in bed! Your oven is continuously being fed food that will no doubt leave crumbs, especially if you’re cooking things like pies, pastries and breaded produce. 

If you forget to clear away crumbs, they could cause a fire or smoke hazard the next day. Particularly if you’ve left crumbs to amass over a few days. Clear away food debris from the interior of your commercial oven after every shift. 

4. Remove racks

Your oven might not have racks but if it does … food will accumulate there. No worries! Just remove the racks so you can clean them separately. The best way to clean them is to dunk them in hot soapy water and wipe them down with a clean cloth. For stubborn stains, you could try using a stainless steel scouring pad, but be gentle to avoid leaving marks. 

5. Clean the walls and doors

Grease and grime will stick to your oven’s walls and doors over time. Left unchecked and it can cause a major fire hazard. To keep your commercial kitchen safe and hygienic, take the oven racks out (if you have them) and use warm water and a damp towel to clean your oven’s walls and doors. 

You might need to use an industrial-grade cleaner for tough stains. If you do, use it at night so the smell is gone by the morning. Also, pay careful attention to the areas with fans that promote airflow to boost your oven’s efficiency.

6. Create a monthly deep cleaning schedule

Daily cleaning will ensure your oven has its basic needs met. But over time, there will be areas of your oven that need some extra TLC. For this, you’ll need to create a monthly deep cleaning schedule. 

Hiring a professional cleaning service to deep clean your oven is smart. Especially when you’re busy, it can be difficult for your staff to maintain the level of deep cleaning needed.

A professional cleaning service will be able to tackle hard-to-clean places, such as the grease trap and exhaust fan. This will help to keep your oven in optimal condition, ensuring it’s 100% efficient while increasing its longevity. 

Cleaning tips for specific ovens 

Not all ovens are the same, as we talked about recently in our article: The Definitive Guide to Commercial Ovens

Below are some cleaning tips for a variety of ovens which should cover your needs. However, always refer to the manufacturer’s manual for cleaning and maintenance best practices. For example, the manual might tell you which soaps are okay to use.

1. Convection ovens

Give special attention to cleaning the intake fan as food particles can get stuck there. This should be removed and cleaned every week. Also, check for loose hinges and low oil levels regularly.

2. Conveyor ovens

Remove different parts of your conveyor oven, such as crumb trays, draft diverters and the conveyor belt for individual cleaning. 

3. High speed ovens

Since food tends to splatter more in high speed ovens, you’ll need to clean messes as soon as they occur to avoid grime build-up. Make sure the oven has cooled down before cleaning! 

4. Combinations ovens

Remove the fan and clean it daily. And like standard ovens, take care of spills and food debris as soon as possible. You’ll also need to empty the steamer and delime it every week. 

5. Cook and hold ovens

Clean the fan blades daily as well as the heat transfer shelves to allow for maximum efficiency. You can use a scouring pad for harsh stains but never use steel wool. If you use a cleaning agent, remove all traces afterward with warm water. 

6. Steam oven 

Clean as you would a standard oven. But you’ll also need to clean the water drawer with a descaling agent. Your manual will show you how. Your steam oven might also have a water drawer cleaning function on the menu to help. 

Get the best out of your commercial oven 

Use these cleaning tips and enjoy the benefits of a fully operational and highly efficient commercial oven. Your catering business will thank you for it! Looking for more information on kitchen appliances? We’re more than happy to help. Call us on 0113 833 1234 or email us at info@northerncatering.co.uk.

 

The Definitive Guide to Commercial Ovens

A good commercial oven is the difference between a satisfied customer and an unhappy one. Because your business relies on feeding lots of people efficiently and effectively. This can only be achieved with an oven that:

  • Cooks the food you serve at the right temperature
  • Fits into your space without obstructing staff 
  • Is easy to use even when you’re rushed off your feet
  • Suits your budget and growing needs

Pick the wrong oven and your reputation could take a hit. But with so many options to choose from, it’s easy to make a mistake.

That’s why we’ve created this guide. Understand all the different types of commercial ovens and how they can serve your business. Also, learn what features to consider when making your purchase.

What are the main types of commercial ovens?

Below we list the main types of commercial ovens, what they’re used for and how your kitchen can benefit from them. 

  1. Standard oven

The simplest type of oven, standard models contain a heating element at the bottom. Because of this, heat isn’t distributed evenly throughout the baking chamber, which can result in food cooking at different speeds. 

Despite this, standard ovens are popular due to their affordability and ease of use. A safe option for new catering businesses, but if you’re well established, it’s worth paying extra for a more advanced oven.

  1. Convection oven

Convection ovens are equipped with fans that circulate hot air into the baking chamber, reducing cooking times for higher yields. They also prevent meat shrinkage. While a consistent temperature cooks food evenly, no matter which shelf is used. That’s why convection ovens are preferred by bakers – they brown baked goods better than standard ovens. 

  1. Combination oven

Also known as combi oven. It uses steam, hot air or a combination of both to cook food. And you can adjust moisture levels using a climate control feature, enabling quicker cooking times while also minimising the chance or dry or burnt food. 

Combination ovens are around 30% more efficient at cooking than standard ovens, which makes them more expensive but a better choice for busy kitchens. Note: as they generate lots of steam, most models require a mains water supply connection. 

  1. Conveyor oven

Conveyor ovens, known also as pizza ovens, use a set of rollers to steadily pull food past powerful heating elements. Thanks to a consistent speed, food is cooked the same every time. This makes them great for cooking pizzas, burritos, pies and the like. Which is why conveyor ovens are often used in takeaways and food halls. 

  1. High speed oven

High speed ovens are, you guessed it, fast at cooking food. Make that ultra-fast – nothing compares for speed. They are 20 times faster than traditional ovens! That’s because high speed ovens combine multiple heating methods to cook much faster. They can also cook any type of food, making them a great all-rounder upgrade if you’re looking to reduce waiting times for your customers. 

  1. Cook and hold oven

Caterers have been using cook and hold ovens since the 1970s! Because they’re great at cooking large portions of food at low temperatures over many hours. Plus, by holding food at the ideal serving temperature, you eliminate the need to check on your food so it doesn’t overcook, saving on time and labour while maintaining quality. 

Cook and hold ovens are ideal for carveries, canteens and buffer restaurants that rely on serving tender meat to keep customers happy. 

  1. Steam oven

Any good chef will rely on their steam oven to cook succulent fish, vegetables and rice. Cooking via water vapour ensures you retain nutrients while reducing food shrinkage. It also eliminates flavour transfer. However, you can’t brown or crisp food with a steam oven, so you might need another appliance to finish off your dishes. 

  1. Potato oven

Everybody loves a potato. Especially one cooked to perfection: crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. You can rely on a potato oven to achieve this every time. Not only that but they can cook large batches quickly and efficiently. 

As a portable oven, these models are great for mobile catering businesses when jackets are on the menu! They also make for mouth-watering displays to attract hungry customers. 

What features of commercial ovens should you consider? 

You should have a better idea now of the type of oven (or ovens!) your kitchen needs. But there are still a few more things to consider before making a purchase.

1. Size

Save yourself from the agony of buying an oven that’s too big for your kitchen by measuring your space first! Also, make sure staff can easily and safely navigate around the appliance. 

Do you have plans to grow in the future? Save money in the long term by buying a larger oven so you don’t have to replace it in the future. 

Also consider how many dishes you’ll need to cook at once to keep up with customer demand, as that will affect the size you’ll need. 

2. Power 

Ovens either use gas or electricity for power. Whether you should buy a gas or electric oven depends on your kitchen’s needs, your budget and your current power connection. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of both power supplies to help.

Gas

Benefits:

  • Cheaper running costs
  • Heats up faster than electric
  • Also cools quicker 
  • Gives you better heat control

Drawbacks:

  • Difficult and expensive to install a new connection
  • Requires more safety precautions 
  • Higher risk of uneven cooking if not monitored properly

Electricity 

Benefits:

  • Cheaper to buy upfront
  • Easier to install
  • Cooks food more evenly
  • Easier to clean 

Drawbacks:

  • Takes longer to heat up
  • Requires lots of electricity
  • Not as good heat control  

Keep these facts in mind when shopping for your commercial oven and you won’t go wrong.

3. Plumbing and water

You’ll likely need a mains water connection near your oven if you plan to purchase a steam, convection or combination model. Also, consider fitting a water filter as part of the installation to protect your oven against limescale and validate its warranty.

4. Extraction 

Purchasing a canopy (also known as a chimney or cooker hood) with your oven will keep your kitchen safe and comfortable to work in. That’s because it channels and filters smoke, grease and heat out of the kitchen. Canopies also help to keep unpleasant cooking odours out of your kitchen. 

Nobody knows ovens like you do

Not now that you’ve read this guide! Of course, there’s always more to learn. So go on and read our next article: How to Care for Your Commercial Oven. 

Need more advice around choosing and installing the perfect oven? Call us on 0113 833 1234 or email us at info@northerncatering.co.uk.

Which Commercial Dishwasher is Best?

Discover the best undercounter and pass through dishwashers for your catering business. We reveal a range of high-quality dishwashers to suit your various needs so you can buy with confidence. 

The 4 Best Commercial Undercounter Dishwashers

Undercounter dishwashers are perfect for catering businesses that are small and moderately busy, such as independent restaurants, cafes, bars and takeaway outlets.

They are designed to fit under the counter to take up as little space as possible. 

Despite their small size, they are much more efficient than domestic dishwashers, washing up to 500 plates per hour.

Below are our four favourite undercounter dishwashers to suit various budgets. 

1. Classeq Commercial D500

The Classeq Commercial D500 has an impressive capacity for its price tag, able to clean up to 18 full-size dinner plates per three-minute load. Great for caterers that need a rapid turnaround of fresh dishware to keep their service running optimally. 

It’s made from stainless steel (learn how to clean stainless steel properly) and weighs around 44kgs. 

The D500 has a double-skinned door to reduce heat loss and noise. It also has energy-saving modes and the same three wash programs with a temperature range of 55°C to 82°C. 

Score: 7/10

Cost: £1,500 – £2,500

2. Hobart Ecomax F503

If we can rely on any manufacturer for highly-efficient catering equipment, it’s Hobart. Its Ecomax Plus F503 dishwasher is super-fast, with 80 to 180-second cycles that can clean up to 40 500×500 racks per hour.

The Ecomax F503 is designed to help you save money with a low volume 10.8 litre wash and 2.5 litre rinse, providing exceptionally low running costs. While an automatic drain down and self-flushing cycle ensures excellent hygiene standards. 

Score: 8/10

Cost: £2,600 – £3,500

3. Hobart Profi FX 

Got a bit more cash to splash? A Hobart Profi FX dishwasher will serve you well. 

Enjoy Visiotronic-touch control (a single touch button operation) and a WiFi module that allows you to connect to the WashSmart app. 

Through WashSmart, you can see information about your dishwasher: the machine’s status, a hygiene report, utilised capacity and an operating costs calculator.

Included with the dishwasher is a 1 x plate rack, 1 x open rack and a 1 x 4 cutlery basket. It can wash up to 40 racks per hour. 

Score: 9/10

Cost: £4,000 – £5,000

4. Winterhalter UC 

The Winterhalter Undercounter Dishwasher comes in various sizes, from small to extra large, so you can pick the right dishwasher for your catering business’ growing needs. 

It harnesses cutting-edge technology to deliver spotless, cost-efficient washes. For example, each UC is fitted with a clouding sensor that monitors the tank water and ensures fast regeneration if it’s too dirty. 

Add that to a quadruple filtration system, automatic variable water pressure regulation and WiFi connectivity for the ultimate smart wash. 

Score: 9/10

Cost: £3,300 – £5,000

The 4 Best Pass Through Commercial Dishwashers

Pass through dishwashers are larger than undercounter dishwashers. They’re usually purchased with two dish tables: one for dirty dishes and one for clean dishes. This helps the user pre-rinse and load dishware easily. 

They are also highly-efficient washers, cleaning up to 1200 plates per hour

If you own a medium-sized catering business or are looking for a dishwasher to accommodate future growth, pass through dishwashers are a great option. 

Here are four quality pass through dishwashers, each with their unique benefits. 

1. Sammic X100C Passthrough Dishwasher

An excellent entry-level pass through dishwasher, the Sammic X100C model washes up to 60 500 x 500mm baskets per hour and has three cycle options: 120, 180 or 210 seconds.  

It’s hood operated with an auto-cycle start and comes with a booster pump and constant rinse temperature system. 

Also included is a WRAS Approved Break Tank, rinse aid dosing equipment and a thermal cycle delay option, guaranteeing a minimum final rinse temperature of 85°C.

Score: 8/10

Price: £2,500 – £3,000

2. Classeq Pass Through Dishwasher P500A-16

Classeq’s P500A-16 model is a powerful and reliable machine, cleaning up to 720 plates per hour. 

With a 28 litre wash tank, water consumption is reduced helping to minimise running costs.

Easy cleaning is ensured via its continuous hood clean and removable front panel.

Note that this model is designed to be used with an external detergent pump. It does not include a built-in pump. 

Score: 8/10

Cost: £3,300 – £3,500

3. Hobart Ecomax Pass Through Dishwasher H603

Ideal for busy, growing kitchens, the Hobart Ecomax Plus H603 model washes 60 500 x 500mm racks per hour through 60 or 90-second wash cycles. 

Downtime is minimised through intelligent built-in features such as auto rinse down and pump intake protection. While running costs are minimised with a low volume 21 litre wash tank and an efficient 2.5 litre rinse.

Choose the H603S model for an integrated water softener and digital temperature display.

Score: 8/10

Price: £4,000 – £5,000

4. Winterhalter Pass Through Dishwasher 

The Winterhalter Pass Through models are expensive but it’s worth it if you can afford it. You’re paying for a high-quality machine that will last you a lifetime if you take care of it properly. 

Designed to cope under pressure, the PT series can wash up to 55 large 500x600mm baskets per hour. 

VarioPower technology allows you to change the strength of the wash, giving you more control and flexibility. While economical washes are ensured through intelligent energy-use functions. 

Score: 10/10

Price: £7,000 – £10,000

Make the right choice for your kitchen 

With all of these quality commercial dishwashers to choose from, you should feel more empowered to make the best purchasing decision for your business. 

Got a burning question we haven’t covered? Call us on 0113 833 1234 or email us at info@northerncatering.co.uk for a speedy answer!

The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Commercial Dishwasher

It’s painful to imagine running a kitchen without a commercial dishwasher. Far surpassing domestic models, they are designed to get your dishware sparkly clean at record speeds, saving you precious time and money. 

But which commercial dishwasher is best for your business? 

Use this guide to make the best possible purchase and keep your dishwasher running optimally through quality care. We cover:

  1. Three main types of commercial dishwashers
  2. Other commercial dishwashers 
  3. Four dishwasher features to consider 
  4. Installing your dishwasher 
  5. How to care for your dishwasher 

Keep reading to learn more.

Three main types of commercial dishwashers

1. Undercounter dishwasher 

Undercounter dishwashers are designed to fit (you guessed it) under your counter. This ensures they take up as little space as possible, making them a popular choice for small caterers. 

Much more efficient than domestic dishwashers, they can wash up to 500 plates per hour. Each cycle usually takes around three minutes.

With front-loading capability, they are easy to access which is especially useful for cleaning. 

Suitability: good for small, moderately busy kitchens such as independent restaurants, cafes, bars and take away outlets

Cost: £1000 -£6000

2. Pass-through dishwashers

Pass-through dishwashers are large units that often come with two dish tables: one for dirty dishes and one for clean dishes so you can pre-rinse your plates easily.

They are highly efficient dishwashers, cleaning up to 1200 plates per hour

Quick loading capabilities also make for a super-fast dishwashing process. 

Unlike undercounter dishwashers, pass-throughs require the user to pull down on the hood. This makes them somewhat ergonomic since the user doesn’t need to bend over. 

Suitability: good for high-volume medium-sized kitchens, such as large restaurants, residential home canteens and hotel kitchens 

Cost: £2500 – £13500

3. Rack dishwashers

Rack dishwashers are the Ferraris of commercial dishwashers. Using an automated conveyor system, they can wash between 1700 and 2300 plates per hour. 

Bigger than pass-through and undercounter dishwashers, they require a lot of space with room for two dishwasher tables on either side. 

Some premium rack dishwashers also come with a drying chamber to speed up the cleaning process. 

Suitability: good for large kitchens such as school and hospital canteens 

Cost: £12,000 – £20,000

Other dishwashers

1. Glasswashers

Glasswashers are usually quite small and can fit under a counter. They have been specifically designed to clean glassware quickly without risk of damage. They can cost anywhere from £700 to £5000.

2. Utensil washers

Utensil washers can clean very dirty pans and pots in ways standard commercial dishwashers can’t. This makes them useful for caterers who don’t use much cutlery and rely on larger utensils. They can cost anywhere from £5000 to £30,000.

Four dishwasher features to consider

Now you should have a better idea of the type of dishwasher your kitchen needs. The next step is understanding the different features of commercial dishwashers so you can make a more informed investment. 

1. Size and capacity 

When thinking about the desired size of your commercial dishwasher, consider:

  • The size and height of your kitchen
  • How many dishes you need to clean per load

If you’re looking to buy a pass-through or rack dishwasher, remember that you might also need to buy two dishwasher tables to go on either side, increasing the space you’ll need.

Do you have plans to expand your kitchen in the future? If you want to save money by avoiding getting a replacement (and currently have the space for it), it may be worth purchasing a dishwasher that can handle the extra work. 

2. Temperature

Commercial dishwashers typically operate at high temperatures and low temperatures.  

High temperatures sanitize dishware using heat at around 150 to 160 degrees. While low temperatures use chemical sanitising agents instead. Both methods of cleaning have their pros and cons.

For example, you’ll save energy using a low temp dishwasher but the chemicals used might tarnish your dishware. While a high temp dishwasher uses a lot more energy but is gentle when it comes to cleaning. 

3. Cost

If your dishwasher uses hot water for cleaning, you might be spending more on energy than a low temp dishwasher. Saying that, you’ll have to continuously buy sanitizing chemicals when cleaning your dishes with cool water.  

It’s worth sitting down and calculating these predicted costs when considering different dishwashers. That way you can pick the option that saves you the most money. 

You can also save money by buying a good-quality dishwasher. Go cheap and it’s you’ll likely have to pay more money on part replacements and repairs.

Learn how to care for your catering equipment to reduce maintenance costs. 

4. Energy efficiency

The two main resources used by commercial dishwashers are energy and water.

If you’re looking to make your kitchen more environmentally friendly, consider a model that has optional low energy settings.

A government-run agency called Energy Star rates commercial dishwashers for their energy efficiency. Look out for the official certification – it means that the machine uses 40% less water and is 40% more energy efficient.

Installing your dishwasher 

Before you purchase a dishwasher, carefully assess the space it will use. Consider if it will cause any obstructions. For example, will using the door during loading and unloading block the path for staff?  

Most dishwashers require a direct mains water and power connection as they consume large amounts of water and power.  

For large appliances like dishwashers, it is usually worth investing in professional installation to ensure your appliance is set up safely. Site surveys before installation may be required for pass-through and rack dishwashers that require a lot of space.

How to care for your dishwasher 

The manufacturer’s guidelines will stipulate how to properly care and maintain your dishwasher. 

Following these guidelines will save you time and energy – effective care for your dishwasher will prevent mechanical issues and grime build-up which can become costly problems. It will also drive cleaning efficiency, helping you get the most out of your dishwasher.

Here are some handy cleaning tips to keep your dishwasher in great condition:

  • Remove food residue from dishes before washing
  • Use the recommended detergent
  • Wash the inside of the dishwasher
  • Drain the dishwasher after cleaning
  • Empty the filter to clear it of debris
  • Clean the rinse arms and jets
  • Rinse aid compartments
  • Air out the dishwasher to prevent bacteria buildup

For a complete guide on caring for your catering equipment, read our article.

Is there something else about commercial dishwashers you’d like to know? We’re happy to help. Send your questions to info@northerncatering.co.uk or call us on 0113 833 1234.

 

6 Essential Maintenance Tips for Commercial Catering Equipment

Your catering equipment is a member of your team like any other. It needs time and attention to do its job properly. Give it the bare minimum of care and you will find yourself losing time, money and staff morale.

We get it, though. Managing a kitchen isn’t easy; you’re always short on time.

That’s why we’ve created 6 simple tips to make caring for your catering equipment painless. Put them into practice and benefit from:

  • Huge cost savings
  • Faster operations 
  • Better food quality
  • Health and safety compliance
  • Improved staff morale

1. Learn how to treat stainless steel 

dishwasher catering equipment

Most catering equipment is made of stainless steel because it’s resistant to corrosion and oxidation – it produces its own oxide film that coats the metal, helping it repair itself. 

But as you probably already know, that doesn’t make it invincible. 

The film breaks down over time, resulting in pitting and corrosion. To slow degradation, you need to clean your stainless steel appliances properly. 

To clean stainless steel effectively, you’ll need:

  • A soft cloth
  • An alkaline washing detergent (pH over 8)
  • Warm, clean water

Daily cleaning is essential to really make an impact. Already got stains? Removing rust, grease, coffee stains or salt marks requires a cleaning paste like Cif Cream. Spread the cleaner with a soft cloth then let it sit for 15 minutes. Afterward, rinse with warm water and wipe dry. 

To remove lime stains, a 25% vinegar solution should do the trick.

Pro tip: avoid using soaps containing citric acid with a pH under 6. And try not to leave wet cast iron pans or other metallic utensils on stainless steel appliances for long periods as this will encourage rust.  

2. Create a cleaning schedule

Cleaning should be habitual when it comes to your commercial catering equipment. Regular cleaning keeps your equipment in good health but also your staff and customers too as you maintain a safe and hospitable working environment.

Creating a cleaning schedule makes this task much more manageable while ensuring those responsible stay accountable. High Speed Training offers a cleaning schedule template here

Equipment that should be on your cleaning checklist includes:

  • Combi Ovens
  • Hobs and ovens
  • Coffee machines
  • Boiling Kettles
  • Microwaves
  • Refrigerators 
  • Freezers
  • Hoods, vents, and exhausts
  • Floors
  • Sinks, taps and draining boards
  • Drains
  • Waste disposal units
  • Grease traps
  • Dishwashers, and cutlery and glassware cleaners
  • Hand washing stations 

A few items on that list may require special attention. Learn more in our next tip.

3. Invest in deep cleaning services

Sometimes deep grime and dirt get into places you can’t reach, such as extractor systems and grills. Left unchecked and this can lead to safety hazards. 

It’s instances like these where hiring professional cleaners is a must. 

But you don’t want just any old cleaning service. Hire a cleaner for commercial kitchens with experience working in catering environments. That way you can ensure the job will be done efficiently and your money is well invested. 

A deep cleaning checklist can include:

  • Structural deep cleaning (ceilings, walls, floors)
  • Equipment deep cleaning (cookers, fryers, grills, griddles, refrigerators, freezers and more)
  • Worktop and storage deep cleaning (worktops, trolleys, shelving)
  • Extraction cleaning (canopies, filters, ducting, extractor fans)

Pro tip: when it comes to hiring cleaners for extraction systems, look out for members of the National Association of Duct Cleaners (NAAS) that adhere to TR19 standards. ISO 9001 quality assurance certification is a bonus too. 

4. Know the manufacturer’s guidelines 

There are two types of people – those who file their manuals in dedicated draws and those who toss them in the trash faster than you can say “Adios”. 

If you belong to the latter type, you’re going to have to fight that urge the next time you purchase new equipment. Because contained within that boring manual is information critical to preventative maintenance, including:

  • Cleaning and maintenance schedules
  • Instructions on use
  • Warranties to activate
  • Service records
  • How to claim in the event of issues

These essential details help you maintain and use your equipment properly, ensuring you can get the most out of your investment. 

Pro tip: following the manufacturer’s guidelines is key to keeping warranties valid. 

Missing a manual? You should be able to find a digital copy online by searching for the manufacturer and item code. 

5. Schedule routine inspections

Just as you need to maintain regular cleaning for all your catering equipment, you need ongoing maintenance inspections. So you can address small problems before they turn into expensive headaches.

Generally, equipment that needs routine inspections include:

  • Deep fat fryers
  • Automatic extinguishing systems 
  • Gas appliances
  • Pressure cookers 
  • Ventilation systems
  • Electrical plugs, cables and appliances
  • Gas appliance controls

Some inspections you can do yourself with a manual, such as calibrating your cooking equipment. Anything that feels too technical, bring in the professionals. For example, you should hire a Gas Safety engineer for gas equipment.

6. Train your staff on proper care

catering staff

Staff training on cleaning and maintaining equipment should be an essential part of your onboarding process. Otherwise, your kitchen might suffer from longer preparation times, ineffective cleaning, a drop in hygiene standards and rising energy costs. 

Training in these areas is also key to getting the most out of your equipment and ensuring valid warranties. 

It’s up to you to decide how you train your staff. You can do it yourself, use instructional videos online provided by the manufacturer or send staff on a private course. 

Pro tip: avoid training staff on the job. Otherwise, they might be too stressed to learn effectively. 

It’s all about the prep 

Proper cleaning and maintenance of your commercial catering equipment can feel like an overwhelming task. But not if you prepare properly.

Use these tips to plan your maintenance and cleaning schedules. And study your manuals in advance to make staff training and regular inspections hassle-free.

Got a question about caring for your equipment? We’re here to help. Call us on 0113 833 1234 or send us an email at info@northerncatering.co.uk.