As the fall wedding season progresses and the winter holidays approach, restaurant and hotel operators find themselves busy hosting events and accommodating travelers. The holiday season encompasses several of the busiest travel periods of the year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. For example, during the six days surrounding Thanksgiving, long-distance trips increase by 54 percent.1 The vast majority (91 percent) of holiday travel takes place on the road, which means a major surge in businesses for roadside operations.2
Increased volume is great for business, and preparation is key to minimizing foodservice equipment problems. Follow these steps to prepare for the season, so you can focus on keeping guests happy, meeting customer expectations and celebrating a successful end to the year.
1. Inspect All Kitchen Equipment
Many kitchens don’t use every piece of equipment year round. Fluctuating traffic patterns and changes in the sales mix mean some equipment experiences heavier use during certain seasons and may even be put into storage during others. Additionally, some equipment may break down during the off-season and stay in a state of disrepair when it’s not in high demand.
While streamlining operations and postponing repairs might save money in the short term, you don’t want to be caught off guard when the holiday rush hits. Ideally, operators should establish a regular maintenance schedule, but inspecting all of your equipment before the holidays can be beneficial as well. This is also a good time to stock up on common replacement parts. The following steps can help operators ensure their equipment is ready for the holiday rush.
- Inspect and test all equipment, especially any that has sat idle for a period of time.
- Ensure all hot-side and cold-side equipment is operating within the correct temperature range to avoid spreading foodborne illness.
- Change or clean water filters and air filters.
- Clean and sanitize ice machines, bins and dispensers.
- Service grease traps.
- Review operating, safety and cleaning procedures with staff.
- Perform any additional preventive maintenance suggested by equipment manufacturers.
- Stock up on common replacement parts and easy-to-install components to decrease downtime that can be avoided with simple repairs.
2. Put Summer Equipment into Hibernation
Despite the holiday rush, some equipment that sees a lot of use during the summer months just isn’t in high demand during the winter. To save valuable kitchen space and ensure appliances stay in good condition while not in use, it’s important to properly care for and store any equipment put into hibernation.
- Thoroughly clean and dry equipment to prevent bacterial growth.
- Prop open refrigerator doors to prevent odors from developing.
- Disconnect appliances from electric, gas and water supplies.
- Lubricate all chains, drive mechanisms and bearings to prevent corrosion and seizing.
- Drain any tanks or water reservoirs to minimize bacterial growth and corrosion.
- Apply stainless-steel polish, where applicable, to protect surfaces.
- Cover equipment to shield it from dust, grease and other contaminants.
- Store equipment in a dry environment to guard against corrosion.
3. Winterize Your Kitchen and Dining Areas
During the warmer months, having an outdoor dining space such as a patio or deck is a great way to accommodate more guests. In fact, patio space can increase a restaurant’s capacity by 30 to 50 percent. To extend patio season as long as possible, operators should consider installing outdoor heaters.
Even with heaters, however, the season for outdoor dining will likely come to an end eventually. When it’s time, close your outdoor dining spaces and put equipment and furnishings into storage or otherwise protect them from ice and snow. This is also a good time to winterize any plumbing that remains exposed to freezing temperatures and to also change all HVAC filters.
4. Simplify Your Maintenance and Repairs Strategy
You can save time and money on holiday prep by partnering with a consolidated parts provider such as Heritage Parts. With the largest inventory of Genuine OEM parts in the country, more than 99 percent parts identification accuracy and same-day shipping, Heritage Parts can help you minimize inconveniences and maximize equipment performance during the summer rush and all year round. Call 1-800-458-5593 to speak with your dedicated parts specialist, or visit HeritageParts.com to create your own personal online account and order parts anytime.
1“U.S. Holiday Travel,” United States Department of Transportation (accessed September 29, 2016).
Heritage Parts has the largest inventory of Genuine OEM parts in the country, and boasts more than 99 percent parts identification accuracy and same-day shipping from 10 distribution centers across North America. Ordering parts from Heritage is the fastest way to get the right part for your equipment, so you can make repairs in a timely manner.
Make Heritage Parts your own personal parts depot. Call 1-800-458-5593 to speak with your dedicated parts specialist, or visit HeritageParts.com to order parts anytime.