How to Reopen Your Kitchen Without Breakdowns

By Phil Scoble

Introduction

Very few professional kitchens are shut down for longer than a few days in normal times – but these times are far from being normal.

This means that as the country begins to reopen, many kitchen professionals will be reopening kitchens after an extended period of closure for the first time in their careers. 

This can reveal issues with equipment, as these heavy duty machines are not designed to be shut down for long periods of time. This means that when the time comes to reopen your kitchen, you need to take some simple, but methodical steps to protect your equipment and your business.

Below we outline a few of the essential checks and practices that we advise customers follow if they are opening up after a long period of downtime:

Water supply/ Water-using Appliances

  • Turn on water supply and check for any leaks 
  • Open all hot and cold water taps to flush through any standing water for several minutes
  • If any appliance has a water tap or spray gun, turn on to flush water through the system
  • Run dishwashers/glasswashers through a minimum of 3 fill, run and empty cycles to flush water through the system – we recommend 5 to be sure
  • Flush water softeners and filters – check with manufacturer’s instructions for how to do this as each system differs.
  • Run combi ovens on steam cycle for approx. 30 mins

Gas supply / Gas-using appliances

  • Gas supply – IF YOU SMELL GAS, IMMEDIATELY ISOLATE THE GAS SUPPLY AND VACATE THE PREMISES. Call your gas supplier
  • Turn on gas supply/gas bottles – Make sure LPG bottles are not empty
  • Turn on extraction system if you have one – open windows when first running gas appliances 
  • Light gas equipment and test all functions. Combi ovens may require resetting a few times whilst the gas is pulled through the system

Refrigeration

  • Deep clean all refrigeration units before turning on
  • Turn on and let the appliance come down to the correct temperature before loading
  • Don’t load a freezer completely with non-frozen items: it will cause the unit to ice up making it less efficient

Electrical items

  • Clean all appliances using manufacturers’ guidance for new appliances e.g. season griddles
  • Turn appliances on low power to warm up, after approx. ½ hr turn onto max for a further ½ hr. The unit will then be ready for use

Conclusion

Opening after a long shutdown should be a methodical and straightforward process. Simple things like heating up appliances slowly, turning on the extraction and deep cleaning your premises can help to avoid major issues. 

Take each of the steps outlined above and contact the relevant organisation or company if you run into any problems – especially if the problems involve gas, electricity or water supplies.

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