The equipment in restaurants, cafes, bars and takeaways has to work hard! So it's no wonder that it breaks down if not properly maintained or fit for purpose. In this webinar, we covered refrigeration, freezers, Ice machines, stoves & grills, ovens, fryers, dishwashers, coffee machines and small appliances.
The lifecycle of commercial equipment - how long should it last?
Balancing quality and cost with different types of equipment - when is cheap OK?
How warranties work on commercial kitchen, bar and coffee equipment - new and used
Equipment breakdown insurance - what's the deal?
How to extend your warranty on commercial kitchen and bar equipment
Is it a maintenance or warranty issue when something breaks down?
Low-cost maintenance routines to avoid expensive repair bills
How to minimise the cost when repairs are necessary
Summary of the Webinar Discussion...
There are many ways to acquire equipment, and they all come with differences in who is responsible for the warranty, the maintenance and repair. When you're buying new equipment with a warranty, it includes parts and service, or parts alone depending on what you're buying. When you buy used, it depends where you buy it from. If you buy privately or off Gumtree, there won't be any warranty, and it's up to you for maintenance and repairs.
With SilverChef Certified Used equipment, we give a three month warranty on parts and labour. Equipment that is 'free on loan' is another category to be aware of eg for a coffee machine. The question may come up: do I have to look after the maintenance and repairs of the machine, or is that the responsibility of the supplier of your coffee beans or whoever supplied it? Check your contract.
Some equipment brands offer an extended warranty, especially if you follow their maintenance procedures and use the correct supplies eg cleaning chemicals. An increasing number can connect the equipment to online monitoring through an app, and may give up to four years of extended warranty. Or the extended warranty may be something you purchase at an extra cost.
Repairs and maintenance for refrigeration and display fridges
This is one piece of equipment that has to work 24/7 with absolute reliability - if it breaks down, there could be major stock losses and loss of sales. An average restaurant or cafe may have up to seven refrigeration units of different types.
Ensure adequate ventilation all around, and very regular cleaning of the condensers and ventilation. Make sure door seals are not damaged, so there is no loss of temperature.
The compressor (motor) and the condenser coils need to be kept clean and free of dust, so they can stay cool during constant operation.
Choose either bottom-mounted, top-mounted or remote motors - top-mounted ensure they aren't affected by hosing of floors, and if the motor is remote, it keeps the noise and heat generated away from the kitchen.
Repairs and maintenance for freezers and ice machines
Choose ice machines with care, to ensure you have adequate capacity - this is determined by total storage (eg 20kg) and the rate of production per 24 hours. Ice is often used at a few peak times eg evening service, when you might use up all the ice in a couple of hours.
Also understand the size and style of ice cubes - large cubes for mixed drinks, and small cubes for blender drinks, so they crush quickly.
Water filtration is critical, and areas with hard water eg some parts of Queensland and Western Australia, will need extra care and filter replacement.
Ambient temperature is also important eg in a hot climate, or if the service area is not air-conditioned 24/7 - make sure to specify your location when buying a machine. As with refrigeration, ensure plenty of ventilation from all sides, and drainage for run-off water from melting ice. Run-off water may also be handled by an evaporator, which will also need to be cleaned regularly.
Freezers - it's important to have constant airflow around the frozen stock, and good ventilation for the machinery.
Repairs and maintenance for dishwashers and glass washers
These are another appliance relying on a constant supply of water, so filtration will be important to avoid blocked pipes. Plus regular descaling, because of buildup from the detergents used.
Chemical dispensers will need regular attention - dispensed by your own system, or through a contact supplier.
Reverse osmosis glasswahers are becoming more popular because they eliminate the need for drying - but they are more expensive to purchase, and again quality, filtered water is essential.
Repairs and maintenance for stoves, woks and grills
Important to have adequate gas supply and equipment that provides the heat that's needed - measured in Kilojoules. Consult with a gas fitter plumber to ensure future equipment will have sufficient gas - equipment spec sheets will have information about what they use, and on the compliance plate attached to it.
Australian and Asian cooking usually relies on rapid cooking with strong gas flames - this is different to the way cooking is often done in a European context.
Some burners, pilot lights and ignition systems can be blocked by wet sauces and splashing food - daily cleaning is essential.
Gas connection hoses can kink if pushed too hard against the wall - they are good for access and cleaning , but vulnerable to this problem.
Repairs and maintenance for ovens, combined ovens and pizza ovens
Installation by experienced trades people is very important, with good ventilation and clearance around all sides. Plus adequate clearance for doors, and space for hot trays to be put down.
Electrical controls are usually on one side, so make sure this is not against a stove.
Make sure that door seals are replaced if worn or damaged, so correct temperatures are maintained.
As with other equipment that uses water, combi ovens that use steam and water for cleaning will need properly filtered water to avoid problems.
Modern combi ovens have digital access to control systems and apps, these can also assist with maintenance, trouble shooting for problems, and extended warranties.
Repairs and maintenance for deep fryers
Number one issue is cleaning! Regular cleaning for the tank, the sides and inside the hearing unit, with a regular professional clean at least every 6 or 12 months.
Filtration systems ensure clean oil for a longer life - the price of cooking oil has been rising dramatically in the last 12 months. Some fryers have filtration systems built in, and there are also systems that are top mounted or filter the oil when it is drained from the tank.
Make sure to cover the fryer at night to avoid insect contamination.
Repairs and maintenance for coffee machines
Once again water quality and proper filtration are essential for trouble-free operation. This can be a major problem in some parts of Australia, and some of the high-end European machines can be particularly vulnerable.
Inspect and replace seals regularly - there are quite a few of them, and if they don't work properly you will lose pressure. Also watch out for thermostats and electronic controls.
Repairs and maintenance for microwave ovens
Cleaning is critical, not just the interior but also at the back, and underneath where the thermostats are mounted.
Domestic machines are cheap, but do not have nearly the speed or recovery time as larger commercial machines.
Repairs and maintenance for small appliances: blenders, mixers and food processors
Once again, domestic machines will not have nearly the life of commercial machines. Commercial machines also have replaceable parts eg blades, bowls, lids and feet.
Check power cords, and have the appliances tested and tagged if that's a requirement in your State.
Repairs and maintenance for drink dispensers, softserve and ice cream machines
With softserve and ice cream machines, make sure you have the right equipment for the product you are producing - they can be temperamental. Taylors acknowledged as one of the best brands. Air-cooled for individual units and water-cooled for banks of machines and large production.
Hygiene and proper sanitising is essential, especially with dairy products being used. There are small parts involved, so keep them carefully in a special container to avoid loss.
Only use qualified and experienced professionals for the repairs, and make sure they are available in your area before purchasing. Make sure they use OEM parts (Original Equipment Manufacturer).
Transcript of the webinar: Kitchen, Bar & Coffee Equipment - Warranties, Maintenance, Repairs & Upgrades
Ken Burgin: Welcome, it's Ken Burgin here from SilverChef and great to have you on another webinar. We're talking kitchen bar, coffee equipment, all about warranties, maintenance, repairs, and upgrades. It's all expensive, isn't it? Sometimes we have to explain to our friends why the $150 microwave is not the same as the $1,500 microwave. Sometimes we're not sure, but we sure know which one is going to survive in a busy kitchen.
Please read our disclaimer about the information you're receiving from us today, and your responsibility to use the information wisely and carefully. Our guest expert Cathy Goodwin is a catering equipment consultant. There's not much she doesn't know about repairs and choosing one piece of equipment over another with a very wide experience with a lot of everything from QSRs through to large and small caterers. Steven Lee is a chef by background in equipment sales and installation. A real expert in his field, there's not much he doesn't know about this industry. Luke Gowty, cafe owner at different times, now National Sales Manager with our Certified Used department at SilverChef again he knows all about this, probably made a few mistakes that we've all made with equipment as a café owner – it’s a really important part of our business. Nikki Smith who has a long experience in hospitality. She is one of our Business Development managers and knows all the ins and outs of what customers need and like. What we want to do today is help you make good decisions, make better decisions. So before we start, I want to do a very quick poll. One is about what piece of equipment has needed the most repairs and the second one is the good one, what piece of equipment have you found to be the most reliable? Nikki Smith: No surprises there with the results. The amount of equipment that we replace is definitely more refrigeration than anything else people call with issues. Luke Gowty: Probably would have expected coffee machine to be higher on the first one there. I've worked in a high volume coffee environment so I've had plenty of problems with coffee machines and we do see a lot of coffee machines back within the certified use space as well. The most reliable machines, , I would have to agree with that the ovens and combi ovens. .
Ken Burgin We're going to concentrate on 10 different types of equipment, but let’s start talking about warranties, and guarantees. Luke, you and I had a good discussion about this the other day, do you want to give us some of the fine print on that and the things that maybe people don't understand about warranties? Luke Gowty: There are plenty of ways that we can acquire equipment. So to list a few of those, we can buy new, obviously, we can buy used, we can also finance equipment and we can get free on loan, where we have an arrangement with our supplier. And they all come with various and varied who is responsible for the warranty, the maintenance and repair. Obviously, when you're buying new warranty, you're looking at parts and service or parts alone depending on what you're buying. When you're buying used, it depends where you buy from. You can buy off Gumtree, but you're not going to get any warranties there and it'll be all up to you to maintain it and repair anything that may go wrong. Luke Gowty: Obviously, in the department that I work in, certified user and SilverChef, we give a three month and I know there are a number of dealers out there that also do a three-month warranty as well and that's on parts and service, ours is there. Probably the interesting one for me is free online. We all sign up to free online especially in a coffee environment, hey, I'm going to get a coffee machine on my bench. It's going to be owned by the coffee supplier, I'm not going to have to pay for it, but I'm not sure that many people have the conversation that does it come with a warranty? Do I have to look after the maintenance and repairs and that machine, or is that the responsibility of the supplier of your coffee beans or whatever it is that is supplying? Ken Burgin: Well, what is the usual thing? Do most coffee bean supplier give you a free "machine cover" the warranty issues. Luke Gowty: In my experience, they will look after the maintenance and repairs to certain extent, but if you are negligent in the use of that machine, you quickly foot the bill for that. Ken Burgin: And who decides what negligence is? Luke Gowty: If they have a good contract in play, it should be stipulated in there, but sometimes these deals are done on a handshake hospitality way. Usually, there is a bit of grey area. Nikki Smith: So I'll have people assume that the warranty is held by SilverChef on new equipment, whereas with the finance company, you don't phone Commonwealth Bank when your car breaks down. However, SilverChef does offer service to their customers that we will contact their equipment supplier on their behalf and let them know that there's a warranty issue and arrange that as a step to assist our customers. Ken Burgin: Like a concierge? Nikki Smith: Going above and beyond. And I agree with what Luke said before about used equipment. I used to sell equipment and the amount of people that would ring me saying, "I've purchased something on eBay or Gumtree and it doesn't work," there was nothing I could do to assist them with that equipment. There's nothing wrong with used equipment, but purchase from a reputable supplier, make sure that you're getting something that's going to work. Ken Burgin: So a question from me about what's with the extended warranty? Is it worth the price tag? I mean, what sort of extended warranties are available, Steve? What sort of things beyond a year or three months or a year can I get? Stephen Lee: The extended warranty will be for example, a pizza oven, or burners and stuff like that in a gas piece of equipment. A lot of the time the end-user, the cafe owners, don't think about that future plan of extended warranty, they normally go with what's standard, and then when you try and explain to them, "Look, it is worthwhile for investment," they'll start thinking about it. It's a hard thing to push, even when I was at working for Rational, we did extend the warranty with X amount of dollars. It's always a battle trying to convince them to do that, but the value is in there in the long run. Cathy Goodwin: I think there are s a few companies that offer extended warranty and they back that up with maintenance plans. So if you choose to buy the maintenance plan and you get the extended warranty and they also do it with connectivity to data. So for example, if I'm going to go with Unox, and you connect to the internet and you have your maintenance done with them, you get an extra 4 months on the warranty. If you use the app and you're logging everything, and using the right chemicals and things like that. I was very impressed.
What about equipment breakdown insurance, those restaurant packages that people sometimes sign up for, is this worth the money or anyone got opinions on that? Luke Gowty: I think it's a real case by case depending on your circumstances, what you've signed up for. I had breakdown insurance in my cafes at times, but more often than not, I wasn't in a position where the premiums would allow me to do it. Ken Burgin: Steve, your comment that selling the extended warranty. Like you buy a new iPhone, do you pay the extra $200 for the three years Apple Care, or something like that? Cathy Goodwin: I think with that sort of thing, Ken, that's where the manufacturer is taking an educated risk on charging a little bit more for a product and hoping that the bulk of them are not going to break down so they're collecting a little bit of cash from somebody else, that's like an insurance policy. But I think that when you buy a maintenance, you're going to get better value for your money.
Understanding repairs and maintenance with refrigerators and display fridges
Ken Burgin: Let’s talk about different types of equipment. First I want to talk about refrigeration and we've had a few comments about that already. I guess that my first question is they all look shiny, the glass and all that lovely stainless steel at the beginning, but one fridge is $2,000, one is $3,000. How do I decide is that extra $1,000 worth it? Cathy is it worth it? Cathy Goodwin: With refrigeration, there are many, many different categories and when you liken it to cars, I think people understand, well, you have Toyota Yaris, so you have Toyota Lexus and you've got Toyota Prados and there's lots and lots of different varieties in the Toyota range and we could use Skope as an example for that, they've got different tiers in their range as well. I think primarily the difference between them is how robust they are physically. So the quality in the actual materials is a higher grade or quality and also the hinges and the why that they fix things. So your ventilation accessibility is easier and the quality of the cost is there's so many fixtures and fittings that are a higher quality and build that make a big difference to the price of the piece of equipment that you're purchasing. Ken Burgin: Steve, what are some questions you think new buyers should be asking or don't think to ask about refrigeration? Stephen Lee: Probably the most common question again is warranty and where is it made as well, that's quite important. I get a lot of people asking where this fridge is made. We do get a lot coming from overseas market. There are not many fridges made in Australia market. One thing I get asked a lot is the capacity of the fridge. Some of this depends on the shelves and how wide it goes, does it go across by shelves or there's a middle column where you lose your space. They want to maximise the capacity when they buy a fridge as well. Top compressor or bottom compressor. That's getting asked a lot as well. Personally, I prefer a top compressor. In the kitchen, you do get a lot of water, moisture, you get hoses. The water will get in, whereas with a top compressor, you get more air circulation as well. Cathy Goodwin: I'll add to the bottom mounted option. Bottom mounted motors are very good for visual display. So if you've got a drinks, fridge, bottom mounted is better because it lifts the drinks up. If you've got a top mounted, those bottom drinks are right down near the floor. So bottom mounted motors have a very good place in visual merchandising. Ken Burgin: So Luke, you have a lot of used equipment come through, used refrigeration, which is refurbished, and then we sell it as certified use. What are some of the issues, what are sort of common fixes or things that people usually neglect, that sort of thing. Luke Gowty: . I think we get black fridges and fridges that aren't maintaining temperature, it's a common thing that we get. Condensation on sidewalls and doors and things like that, also thermostats that are playing up. With fridges, I like to get them back before they're two years old, ideally. makes them already marketable especially if you get them back two years, do a whole lot over on them and get them back out in market. Luke Gowty: Something else that we probably haven't talked about here is the ambient temperature when you're selecting a fridge. I think it's really important if you've got a cafe up in Cairns, and you got open doors, you're going to buy a fridge that's going to have to work a lot harder if it doesn't have a high ambient temperature. It’s really important to know the quality of your fridge and to make sure that that the freezer is going to be suitable for the environment, and has plenty of ventilation around it as well. I find if the fridges don't have ventilation around them, they have to work so much harder to put in, especially on the counters and things like that. Ken Burgin: We’ve got Mark Minnis on the webinar as well, he’s a refrigeration expert. Ken Burgin: What's your take, Mark? Have you got anything else you'd want to add to getting the best out of refrigerator? What about things like display fridges too, because I've seen so many display fridges which look like the display window is running with water. Mark Minnis: The waterfall effect. That's a component of a number of things, but the best way to void that is by having display refrigeration with treated glass, like the demisters that you have on the car, they are heated wires. Now there are some brands coming out with more like an induction wire in them. You can't actually see the wire, but it is there and it vibrates the glass to key away the condensation. They are new ones that the Europeans are doing. Regarding the ventilation, that's absolutely critical with refrigeration of any type. I agree with what was said about the bottom mount and the top mount. Bottom mount for display, top mount for kitchens and that's what I've always been told, but you've also got to watch again, a top mount can be a problem in some kitchens where they have a very low ceiling and you're going to block off your air circulation. Mark Minnis: Remote motors should be considered more and more because it takes a lot of the noise of the refrigeration outdoors so you're more pleasant in the venue, but it also takes our the heat. And it seems pretty obvious the compressor builds heat up and you're trying to cool the air around, so that actually adds to the ambient temperature automatically. Cathy Goodwin: In kitchens, people tend to store things on top of top mounted fridges as well. This is a big no, no, because you'll block all the ventilation. Do not put anything on top of your fridges, they're not meant to be for storage. Ken Burgin: Good point. We spent a bit more time on refrigeration because it is such a mission critical part of your equipment. It's the only piece of equipment that you expect to work 24/7 and never ever let you down. Nikki Smith: I think the average kitchen has seven fridges when you consider coffee, the milk fridge for your coffee, your on the counter, your display fridge out the front, food storage fridges at the back.
Understanding repairs and maintenance with freezers and ice machines
Luke Gowty: I don't like ice machines. I don't think I've ever had one that's performed really well. They've probably been in environments that were quite hot and I think the key with the ice machines for me is that I've been caught out with the ones for your filters, look after them and replace them regularly. I can't stress that enough about anything that has a filter on it, spend the money on it. Do not scrimp and save, because it's an easy place to save a few bucks, but you will end up paying for it long-term. Luke Gowty: And I think too, with ice machines, knowing the capacity that you want it to actually to produce and it's melting, and things like that, do your research because it's not something you want to be upgrading all the time and, definitely do some preventative maintenance on it, have it regularly looked at. Ken Burgin: Steve, when I'm buying an ice machine or a freezer, what are the things that I should be asking about that most people maybe don't know to ask? Stephen Lee: Most of the time, when you buy an ice machine, there's a specific location where it tells you how much you'll produce at a certain temperature of the water that goes in. So if you've got in a warm environment like for someone in Queensland, the water is a little bit warmer, it will take longer to produce ice than it says on the specification. Stephen Lee: So you've got to be very aware of that. Again, the water filter is really important. Sometimes for example, if you go to Queensland, WA or SA, the water is a lot harder, so it does have a big effect on the production of the ice. Ken Burgin: Interesting. So that's an ongoing expense too, isn't it? Filter cartridges and changing them, another thing we don't want to spend money on, but... Stephen Lee: It's not an expensive filter. If you were to spend that money regularly, your machine wouldn't have any issues. Ken Burgin: Nikki, any warranty issues or any particular things that come back to you? Nikki Smith: Ice machines, I guess the main thing I come across with ice machines is people don't get bins large enough because an ice machine might say produces 20 kilos in 24 hours, doesn't mean it can store 20 kilos, and so it might only be able to store 10 kilos. That's not really a warranty issue, but they're not getting the product that suits their needs. Ken Burgin: This sounds very familiar to me back from my cafe days buying the Hoshizaki, the top of the range ice machine, but I could only afford a small one. And you use all your ice on Friday night between 6:00 to 9:00 and it's never enough. And issue is the ice cube size, the shape whether you're doing them in mixed drinks or in blended drinks, they need different types. Nikki Smith: That's right, different types of ice for different types of products. I was visiting a customer down the South Coast, that's a cocktail bar and they were having exactly this issue. The ice machine didn't have a bucket, big enough to store all the ice and the venue was too small for them to put another freezer in that they could store the produce ice when they were busy. So they were resorting to nipping out and buying ice from the petrol station. Luke Gowty: The other thing that's really crucial about ice machines too, is the drain point and making sure they're set up correctly because the ice machine won't function properly if it's not draining away, and obviously you'll get water build up in your bucket and all kinds of stuff. So make sure the drain point is set up correctly. Cathy Goodwin: I've wrapped those things up, Ken, into a couple of things. The ice makers have got a compressor, a condenser, and an evaporator. All those things need to be serviced and on top of that it's food so it needs to be kept hygienically clean. So that drain that goes to the drain pipe will build up sludge and slime, it needs to be cleaned out. Cathy Goodwin: The evaporator will build up scale so it needs to be cleaned off, and the condenser will collect dust on the condenser coil while it's trying to cool the compressor. So all of these things need to be maintained. The water filter is part of that as well, because that's removing the minerals that come into the ice as it goes over the evaporator. Ken Burgin: Let’s talk about best practice with water filtration systems, Steve or Cathy, what are you seeing? What do you recommend? Cathy Goodwin: Well, you've got reverse osmosis or standard water filter cartridges, it depends on what building you're in, what water quality you've got, an RO system takes a lot of maintenance so you need to make sure that if you're going to investigate in an RO system, you know what you've got to do with it ongoing. Luke Gowty: And it's very expensive. Cathy Goodwin: It is. It's very expensive, but it's necessary, it could save you a lot of money if you're in a very hard water situation. Ken Burgin: Expensive to buy or expensive as an ongoing expense? Luke Gowty: Both. Cathy Goodwin: But it's less expensive than replacing your evaporator coil if that rusts because of the water quality or your boiler goes in your combi, so that's a very important. Ken Burgin: So would I have one filtration system from a freezer or from an ice machine and a coffee machine, could I have one central point for that, or do I need separate ones for each? Cathy Goodwin: You can put an RO system into your kitchen. I have a client that did that in a very, very hard water area, so they invested a lot of money in water treatment, it's water treatment for their kitchen. So the water going into their kitchen is now very good quality, whereas if you've got a standard normal kitchen in Sydney where we're blessed with wonderful water, you can put a water cartridge filter onto your piece of equipment, but make sure you can access it because often people put them in places that you can't see them, dark dingy corners, and they don't even remember to replace them unseen and... Ken Burgin: They're pretty gross when they get replaced. Let's talk about something else that uses water and I guess filtration might be a bit of an issue here as well. Dishwashers, glasswashers. Steve, what don't people know to ask about these when they purchase them.
Understanding repairs and maintenance with dishwashers
Stephen Lee: I see a lot of customers, and when you pull the dish rack out and all you can see is all white and it's not been maintained, it hasn't even been scaled. That's one thing I do see a lot. And then you ask them, "when's the last time you de-scaled scale the unit?" And they say, "What does scaling mean? What do you need to do?" It's a little bottle of chemical that you can buy from your supplier where you add into your dishwasher, clean it out, flush it out and it brings the whole thing back to life. That's one thing I do see a lot. The other thing I do see with dishwashers is especially with new builds, they say, "I need to put a condense hood on top." At the moment right now on the market, there's self-contained unit, good recovery units which you don't actually need that hood on top of the dishwasher anymore. These are great. They do save your money and also when they buy a dishwashing piece of equipment, when you are on a budget, they don't have a chemical pump within the unit, so you end up having to engage a chemical company and then get them to put a dispenser. Cathy Goodwin: When the dishwasher breaks down, whose fault is it, chemical company or dishwasher's fault? And you end up paying for two call-outs. Ken Burgin: And the drum of chemicals is empty over a weekend because it's over dispensing! A question that Kyle dropped in and we did flick over – how is freezer maintenance different to ice machines? Cathy Goodwin: Don't overstock freezers. You need to have adequate airflow around the product. I see upright freezers where people have taken the shelves out and stacked chock-a-block full of boxes. Get a chest freezer if you want to do that, because that's what a chest freezer is for. Upright freezers need to have adequate ventilation, a lot of them have got bars at the back to stop you from pushing that product right up to the back. Ken Burgin: So why would I go to the expense of an upright instead of a chest freezer which is usually a domestic product? Cathy Goodwin: Chest freezers aren't always a domestic product, they definitely have their place, but they need to rotate stock. It's more difficult to get things in and out off, but you can store more in it. You get a cool room and freezer rooms for storage, you have upright fridges and freezers for easy accessibility of what you're doing right now. So there's a flow of the way that you take delivery, store it, move it onto the next prep area, move it onto the ready to dispatch area so it's all about the flow in the kitchen. Stephen Lee: Exactly what Cathy said, there's nothing worse than going to the kitchen where you see the chef asking screaming, "I need the bag of chips and it's in the chest freezer," and the kitchen would rush and take everything off the chest freezer. Ken Burgin: A question here from Mia about glasswashers as well, the reverse osmosis ones, which you don't need to polish quite a bit more expensive, is it worth paying more for those? Are you use seeing them as being as reliable and as good as they're made out to be? Stephen Lee: I think they're fantastic. A lot of my client’s bigger venues, they use them. If you calculate the amount of time that you see, your staff, team member standing there, they do save a lot of time and labour. And you have to maintain them. It doesn't work by itself magically, you've got to service it and maintain it. Luke Gowty: And glasswashers, the pressure is lower, so it actually protects your glassware as well, rather than putting it through a the dishwasher. Understanding repairs and maintenance with stoves, woks and grills Ken Burgin: Let's jump on to stoves, woks and grills, and thanks for all the questions that are coming into the chat, they're really useful. Steve, your advice about choosing the right equipment and the maintenance issues and all those sorts of things? Stephen Lee: Again, depends on the end user. I lot of the time people buy on price. We got a cheaper version where they look at it, it's the same piece of equipment, but they don't look at the performance of it. For example, the burner on the left-hand side that's a Waldorf, is a great piece of equipment, then you've got the cheaper version where the furnaces is only be 22 megajoules in each burner. Stephen Lee: So imagine being in a kitchen where you're trying to put a pan down and the chef gets something from the fridge. Checking on the pan, it's going to cool down so quick because there’s not enough power, not enough heat. Ken Burgin: So we’re talking technical stuff now, megajoules for gas and kilowatt hours and all that sort of things. How do I find out that? You’re highlighted something I didn't know there about the difference between the cheap stove and the more expensive one is the actual heat that's available. Stephen Lee: Most of the time when you do purchase that piece of equipment, you ask the supplier for a spec sheet that tells you. So for example, the middle one, which is a wok burner that produced about 35 megajoules of heat, it's like a jet engine for a quick cooking in an Asian restaurant. So it cooks half the time than when you're using a lighter wok, it's called high-pack wok compared to a standard wok. So you really need to know what you're cooking and what you're doing in your establishment. Luke Gowty: I see a lot of equipment come back that we've never seen before and you get on the web, there is a lot of information about equipment, and there's a lot of information about maintaining your equipment as well. And a lot of that information does come from the manufacturers. So we do have that luxury. If you're inquisitive and you want to find out a bit about equipment, there is a lot of information out there. Ken Burgin: How do I find out what is a good amount of megajoules for the gas burners I've got or what's enough or not enough or whatever? Do I go to YouTube? Sometimes people feel if they ask the salesperson, they’re going to say, "no problem” to whatever my question is. Stephen Lee: Generally, within the equipment, there's a serial plate that tells you the megajoule writing of the unit. One thing I want to add is when you buy whether a second-hand piece of equipment or a brand new equipment is to have the right installer. So when I say that, you want to a plumber, a gas fitter that knows what they're doing. When they put the piece of equipment in with the gas hosing, they have to make sure the pressure going into the piece of equipment is right. There's nothing worse, if you don't have enough, you're going to get yellow flames, you're also not going to get enough gas coming through and then the next thing you know, the customer is going to go, "Well, I bought this piece of equipment, it's not performing. Why is that?" Reality is, the installer who's not putting it in right. Nikki Smith: You got to make sure that your gas supply is right. And also, I don't know about gas megajoules being as important as the efficiency of the burn of the gas that's coming in so that would come with pressure as well. Stephen Lee: I had a customer install all these pieces of equipment. We didn't do it but we gave them on a spec sheet, the dealer said to me. "It's not the right pressure, everything's right, there's enough gas." We found out at the end that he didn't have the right meter to accommodate all the gas required for this equipment. Nikki Smith: Is there a maintenance schedule that you should have for this type of equipment? Stephen Lee: We'll come in, and organise our technicians to do a general check. A lot of time it's the end user, the chef or the cook, whoever doing it is looking after their piece of equipment. One thing, for example, the burners on the right-hand side, they've got a pilot. If you're working in a place where they use a lot of sauce, like an Italian restaurant with pasta, they toss the pan, the sauce goes everywhere, they potentially can block the pilot. When the pilot is blocked, the first thing they're going to blame is not the chefs, it's the equipment. And then we'll get all these service calls and stuff like that. And then when the technician go out there and go, "Ah, it's been blocked up with all the sauces. Give it a clean, works straight away." It's a daily cleaning schedule that each establishment should have, and then they should have a six months schedule maintenance to do a general check on the gas cap, the gas valve, hoses. Cathy Goodwin: Hoses can kink sometimes, and flexible braided hoses are very, very good to install your equipment because it makes it easier to move it out, to clean around walls and floors and all of that sort of thing, but sometimes they get pushed back into position and they get cramped and kinked and then you've got a pressure problem again.
Understanding repairs and maintenance with Ovens, Combi Ovens and Pizza Ovens
Nikki Smith: Can I jump in, because we had a question from Zachary. He wants to know how I can find out how much gas is available for his kitchen. That's too technical for my... Stephen Lee: The plumber for the gas normally will find out. So if you're going to put in experimental piece of equipment, they'll add in all the gas required and then they'll check it against the meter. Ken Burgin: So you add up the gas requirements from three or four bits of equipment, and then see if the capacity of your meter is sufficient for that. Ken Burgin: Ovens, combis, pizzas. Cathy what are some of the common pitfalls here, the things that people neglect or the things that they're not aware of? Cathy Goodwin: Installation is really important for all of these things and good ventilation and clearance all around, making sure that you've got somewhere to put your trays when they come out of the hot oven, making sure that there's adequate bench surface area between each cooking points to be able to put hot things down. Door opening, which hinge should I have? Often it's on the wrong side, they put it into a kitchen, they I haven't considered that. And also making sure that if you've got combi ovens, check the water quality and water treatment before it goes in. Yes, water again and on some ovens there are door seals. So door seals perish quite quickly, and that's a regular maintenance. As long as you've got to an inadequate door seal, you're wasting energy, you're losing the heat. Ken Burgin: What do you see coming through our sort of used warehouse Luke, and what are some issues you identify? Luke Gowty: There's a real appetite for used combi ovens and pizza ovens. They move quickly. So if you are going to spend some money in your kitchen, spend it on this knowing that you will get a good return on the other side. Electric are the ones that that people are after. Of the gas, the LPG, there's also a bit of a demand for them as well. We don't really see a lot of problems with these when they come back as such and a lot of the time we'll outsource some of this work eg Rational are quite technical. Stephen Lee: With convection ovens, it depends on where you install them as well. With a combi, if you put a stove right next to it, you've got all your wiring on the left hand side so be very mindful where the heat source is. So you can get things like a heat shield or put a 30 centimetre bench in between so the technician can get in there and do any repair work that he needs to do. Kitchen footprints are getting smaller, but this is one thing you have to remember.
Understanding repairs and maintenance for Deep Fryers
Ken Burgin: There are little bench top ones and a larger ones, what should I know? Cathy Goodwin: Well, included in all the gas equipment and fryers, I think that every 12 months you should have a professional cleaner come through and clean away all the grease that you can't get rid of, because there is a constant buildup. If you open up that door underneath and you'll see all that muck that collects over time. If you have someone clean that professionally once a year, it's going to stop things breaking down, it's going to save you fire risk, and save you money in the long run. And you're going to have a nice shiny clean kitchen once a year. Luke Gowty: I think that's the biggest thing with them coming back to Certified Used, the cleanliness, the buildup of oils and things like that's there. It's the dirtiest part of our job. Cathy Goodwin: Plus the floor at the back. That floor at the back where the carbon builds up inside it, that's something that should be cleaned at least every 12 months, probably every six months too. There are cleaning companies that will do this. They're fully insured. Also think about filtration. Stephen Lee: If you do a lot of frying in your shop especially fish and chips or your burger shop which pumps through a lot of chips, you'll pay yourself back in no time with good filtration. There are many brands: Frymaster and Pitco, plus a whole lot of filtration systems. I had a client in Canberra who bought a filtration system and within 18 months, it's all been paid for – it cost $35,000. Ken Burgin: There's filtration that's underneath or built in, and there's some that sit in the top, Cathy, I think you showed me one of those ones? Nikki Smith: Feedback that I've got from people is make sure you cover them at night, use the covers and look at the ease of cleaning them when you're purchasing them because some of them are definitely easier than others. Cathy Goodwin: And having them so you can pull them out and clean down the sides as well like all the fat and drips and greases and keep things clean. Luke Gowty: That's the place the health inspector is going to go.
Understanding repairs and maintenance with coffee and espresso machines
Ken Burgin: We've talked about water and filtration, what else beyond that, Luke? You have a lot of coffee machines coming through your heads, what are some of the issues that you see? Luke Gowty: I can't emphasise enough about water, it will kill a coffee machine very quickly. And in particular, Perth and Brisbane have water issues. Other things with the coffee machines, the importance of regular maintenance. Every week. As well as once a week, professional service in a high volume environment. A coffee machine is not something that you want to break down, because it's an integral part of their business. And it's even more important with some of the high-end coffee machines as well that you treat the water with respect, because they're very susceptible to water issues, probably more so than some of the warehouse coffee machines. Plus the buildup of scale in your boiler and things like that and after a period of time, they need a full rebuild. Ken Burgin: Full rebuild, that sounds like a pricey operation. Cathy Goodwin: And the seals. Seals in the grip cups, seals all over the place. Without seals, you lose your pressure and without the pressure, you don't draw the water through the coffee properly, horrible coffee.
Understanding repairs and maintenance with microwave ovens
Ken Burgin: Let's talk microwaves and speed ovens. Any particular repair and maintenance issues here, Steve? Stephen Lee: Again, I'll refer to customers of mine, they would prefer to buy a cheap $200 microwave from Kmart over a commercial microwave. Now, if you compare the performance on both, they'll heat something up in four minutes or they can heat something up in half the time like a commercial microwave – they are there for purpose and they are much better. Ken Burgin: Any maintenance issues we need to be aware of, apart from cleaning the interior? Stephen Lee: Keep the back quite clean as well. You see the microwave in the front, that's your ventilations, keep that nice and clean. And there are thermostats underneath. Understanding repairs and maintenance with small appliances: blenders, mixers and food processors Ken Burgin: Cathy, I know this is one of your specialties in the bench top stuff. Cathy Goodwin: What I see with countertop appliances is a lot of people don't know that it needs to be tested and tagged according to your local legislation in New South Wales, it's every 12 months. And there are always seals, blades, something that needs to be sharpened or replaced. There are usually consumable parts on top of parts that all need to be replaced. And lids get dropped and broken, . With seals, check the lids and the power cord often, that's why the test and tag is very important to make sure it's safe and also cracked jugs, cracked lids, missing feet which make it not stable, all those things. Nikki Smith: When I sold equipment, the number of people who were buying cheap blenders every three weeks. The beauty of buying the commercial equipment, is the fact that it's designed for heavy use and you can buy all those little bits and pieces, so you don't have to buy a new blender every time because you can buy the gear mechanism. You can buy a new lid, and have multiple jugs so you can just keep going. Cathy Goodwin: And… turn the appliance up side down to clean underneath!
Understanding repairs and maintenance with drink dispensers, soft serve and ice cream machines
Ken Burgin: Nice. . So our last equipment category, drink, dispensers, soft-serve ice cream. Luke, I know sometimes you tear your hair out a little bit with this equipment. What are some of the big issues that can frustrate people with these? Luke Gowty: With ice cream machines, make sure you have the right machine and there are lots of them out there on the market and they all had different capabilities and capacities. Be aware of what you're buying, is it an air cooled or a water cooler? Generally the air cooled ones have individual units, the water-cooled ones will be for banks of them in a high volume outlets. And the automatic wash cycle, things like that - you do pay for what you get in the ice cream space in particular. And Taylor, that's one that we do see quite a lot of. Ken Burgin: So what makes it more reliable? What are the issues? What is the advantage with Taylor equipment? Luke Gowty: I think it's the build - they've been doing it for a long time. Stephen Lee: General cleaning is very important. What Luke said about Taylors are good. They are a fantastic machine, they use good quality parts, not cheap parts. And have a manufacturing technician to service machines is very important, rather than someone who thinks they know what they're doing - then you could put a non-OEM part in it. Luke Gowty: I think that's something to be aware of, making sure that you have someone who's capable and able to look after these machines within your area because they're few and far between people who service ice cream machines. You need to have access to professionals who understand the equipment. Cathy Goodwin: With these machines, hygiene, hygiene, hygiene. Really, really important. Make sure to pull things apart, sanitise them, put all your seals back together again and there's lots of seals to have little containers to put them in and not leave them on the sink.
Well, we're sort of steaming to the end of our time now, and we've gone through our 10 different categories. I want to remind you on the SilverChef website, we've got 12 terrific Buyer’s Guides on how to choose refrigerators or coffee grinders or ice machines, all different types of equipment, plus more to come.
Final tips on equipment maintenance and repairs
I'm going to ask each of our guests for any last tips or last maybe a couple of things that you wanted to mention before. Cathy, what would you emphasise and double emphasise at the end of the webinar? Cathy Goodwin: Either way you're going to pay. You can pay upfront, pay now or pay later or pay sometime during the ownership of your equipment. It's making you money. It's your vehicle to earn an income, so look after it. Nikki Smith: What I said before, nothing wrong with secondhand equipment, make sure you're getting it from a reputable supplier. And upgrading is sustainable, so rather than throwing away equipment, by upgrading it, we've got something at the moment where a customer is upgrading his seven kilo coffee roaster to a 12 kilo coffee roaster, and that seven kilo is going straight into another customer who wants to upgrade his 2.5 kilo into a seven kilo. We're working with our customers to make sure that this equipment is getting refurbished. So if anyone hasn't looked at the Certified Used website, talk to some of the equipment suppliers out there who have used SilverChef certified use, because comments that I've is that they're in shock of the quality of it. I know I was when started working in the warehouse. Ken Burgin: Steve, any more advice for people? Stephen Lee: Have a scheduled maintenance and plan when you want to get your equipment serviced and looked after. Plus daily maintenance by all your staff and your team, that's very important. Luke Gowty: For me, probably the big key thing for me is preventative maintenance is less expensive than emergency repairs every day of the week. So invest in it, make it part of your business, that's the key take away from me. Ken Burgin: So that directs us to Zachary's question: does one company do maintenance for most equipment or do I have to keep contacting different people for different brands? Cathy Goodwin: I can make a disclosure there, I worked for a company called BevWizz for 19 years and BevWizz has that capability Australia wide. You won't necessarily get one technician for each of the jobs, but they'll coordinate those technicians for you so that you get the right people. Because often when you own a business, you only need one or two service calls a year, you don't have a relationship with a contractor to do all these things. Sometimes outsourcing to an organisation that knows all those people, it could pay you to have a look at that. Ken Burgin: Thanks to our experts, really appreciate your wisdom and all the stories, and years and years of experience you've shared with us today.