The Covid Planned Maintenance Hangover

Soccer player kicking the Covid virus out of a commercial kitchen
By Jerrid Metcalf – Field Service Technician

If there is one thing I and my fellow technicians see as a difference in commercial kitchens between now and pre-Covid times, it is maintenance or should I say the lack of it. When you think about it, less maintenance makes sense, Covid was a super tough time for the restaurant and foodservice industry and spending cuts were needed for many businesses to survive. We call this the
Covid hangover.

Those cutbacks though have created a new problem, and that problem has reared its head in the food service equipment repair industry, and that problem is technician capacity. The capacity issue is twofold, we like most of the foodservice industry are working with less employees because not everyone has returned, and alongside that, we are seeing a significant increase in unnecessary breakdowns. By unnecessary, we mean a breakdown that could have been avoided, meaning the unit stopped functioning as normal or stopped functioning completely because of a lack of maintenance rather than a failure of a part within the unit.

So, what can be done about this? The obvious answer is to start doing maintenance again as soon as possible. Talk to your existing service company and ask them how they might be able to customize a plan to your budget. Most service companies can be flexible when creating a plan. For example, you could have some equipment maintained quarterly, some twice a year and some just once. You could even look after some of the equipment yourself and take it out of the plan all together.

Maintaining your own equipment is always an option if you have the time. My tech tip here is to always remember that your equipment needs to breathe. This is especially important with refrigerated equipment and HVAC, so remember to clean those coils and change air filters. On top of that, remember to check all your equipment doors to make sure the gaskets are sealing properly, think refrigerators, walk-ins, and ovens! Lastly, water filters, these are so important to good equipment function and are super important if you have ice machines and combi-ovens. If you are unsure about how to start your own maintenance plan, you could have your service company do one extended visit and have them train your kitchen crew at the same time. Your technician will be able to tell you what you should and should not do, to keep both your equipment, and employees safe!

The good news is more and more technicians are being hired by all major service companies every week and our capacity is growing accordingly. We at General Parts Group believe we are not just your service company but your partner, we are dedicated to helping our customer get relief from the Covid hangover. If you need advice about the ongoing maintenance of your equipment, please call your local GP branch on the following number, (888) 498-1238.