The National Restaurant Association’s Manage My Restaurant has articles in categories such as Marketing and Sales, Workforce Engagement, Food and Nutrition and Operations. Visit Manage My Restaurant here for this and other helpful tips.
Restaurant personnel often lack proper knowledge of the equipment they use each day. Whether it's programmable fryers, high-tech combination ovens, or sophisticated video order systems, equipment designers have put more emphasis on ease of use rather than comprehension of how it works.
Nevertheless, managers and kitchen managers should have a working knowledge of how each piece of equipment works, how to properly clean it, and how to perform periodic maintenance.
Common sense plays a role when it comes to preserving equipment longevity. For instance, refrigeration equipment relies on airflow to remove heat. Staff should be trained not to stack boxes so close that it could cut off air circulation, causing the compressor to work harder.
Likewise, staff should be instructed to turn off equipment not in use. Or, let's say you use a char broiler that has two or more burners. Turning off one side during slow times not only saves unnecessary wear and tear, it also reduces the amount of heat.
Consider providing new managers with basic information on how to maintain and clean equipment to provide longer use. This includes an overview of the common parts, such as coils and condensers, etc. Potential corrective issues they can check before calling a repairperson also should be offered.
Managers should know the location of breaker panels (each breaker should be clearly marked), gas shutoff valves, quick disconnects, water shutoff valves, and grease traps. It can give them more confidence about how to handle repair issues when they are running the store.
Whether you're in the startup phase or if you've been open for years, it's never too late to improve your training. Even a simple addendum containing copies or excerpts from your equipment manuals can prove to be valuable training material that can save you money in the long run.