Kelowna Restaurant Equipment

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Prevantive Maintenance for your Kelowna Restaurant Equipment

The Importance of Preventative Maintenance

By Bill Hagar, President, Hagar Restaurant Service -- Foodservice Equipment & Supplies, 12/15/2009

During the past 12 months, the concept of scheduled maintenance has become more popular among foodservice operators. This is likely due to the challenging economy, which has operators from all industry segments trying to maximize the service life of the foodservice equipment in their kitchens. While the renewed interest in scheduled maintenance is good, it’s equally important for the operator to see this as a value-added program and not a necessary evil.

If handled correctly, scheduled maintenance can actually reduce a foodservice operator’s service costs. We had a customer who spent $15,000 on maintenance the year prior to signing up with us for a scheduled maintenance program. In that company’s first year with us, their scheduled maintenance costs dropped to $11,000; last year the amount they spent with us on maintenance and service dropped to $7,000. Once foodservice operators understand the actual value of a scheduled maintenance program, the conversation begins to move beyond price.

That’s because a scheduled maintenance program allows foodservice operators to focus on what they do best, which is to serve customers, prepare food, and the like. There can be a bit of panic within a foodservice operation if staff has to move large amounts of inventory from one walk-in to another. This can decrease productivity, food quality and even result in loss of inventory if product cannot be held at proper temperatures. Scheduled maintenance can keep to a minimum the number of costly emergency calls the operator has to make to their service agent to repair a piece of equipment that unexpectedly malfunctions.

One of the biggest mistakes foodservice operators make is ignoring the need for scheduled maintenance. Operators might schedule what maintenance their budget allows, but that’s not always enough to ensure that the equipment continues to function properly and efficiently. Under optimal conditions, many pieces of equipment need cleaning and service once a year, which might fit into the operator’s existing budget. But due to environmental conditions such as poor water or air quality, more frequent service is necessary for some equipment. Cutting back on maintenance in this instance will eventually affect the performance and service life of certain pieces of equipment.

To remedy budget constraints, some foodservice operators will try to cut corners by going with a cheaper service option. What they don’t realize is that this could cost them more in the long run. For example, an incorrectly sized filter can introduce contaminants into a system, having an adverse effect on a condenser or evaporator. Operators across all foodservice segments often don’t realize this until they’re faced with a large repair bill.

It is important that operators are educated as to what a scheduled maintenance program entails. Sometimes service agents will position their scheduled maintenance program as simply changing the filter or wiping off the compressor. But there’s more that goes into good scheduled maintenance and every situation is different.
Scheduled maintenance is a wise investment because it allows for consistency and continuity within a foodservice operation, which is critical to meeting consumer needs time and again.

Kelowna Restaurant Equipment
Clifford Pierce
Phone : 250.979.8631
E-mail :
Commercial Kitchens Kelowna Restaurant Equipment

Friday, November 13, 2009

Blast Chilling in Kelowna

The Secret Benefits of Blast Chilling

November 11, 2009
At a recent educational seminar on blast-chilling, I learned quite a few things about the decades-old technology that continues to grow in popularity among larger-scale, high-volume non-commercial foodservice operations such as schools, colleges, and hospitals. Most interesting; however, was learning about the number of other uses for blast chillers, aside from just adhering to food safety regulations.

So much more goes into the process of blast chilling and shock freezing other than quickly cooling foods to safe temperatures. Blast chillers are also useful for reducing waste, saving on labor, maintaining higher food quality, and creating a better work-flow in the kitchen. All of these underlying benefits of blast chillers equate to a more profitable bottom line for the foodservice operation using them.

I’ll get into each of those bottom-line enhancing benefits of using blast chillers, but first let me back-up and start with a basic run-down of the technology.

Blast chillers are refrigeration units with circulating, forced air that are capable of safely reducing the temperature of hot foods from more than 145 degrees to less than  40 degrees Fahrenheit within two hours, in accordance with HACCP guidelines.  Functioning in a manner similar to blast chillers, shock freezers have the ability to lower food temperatures further.  In any case, both help prevent foods from entering that danger zone of 140 degrees to 40 degrees where harmful bacteria can grow and cause foodborn illness outbreaks.

While blast chilling technology has generally remained unchanged over the years, modern units are faster than their predecessors. Many units can take food at a cooking temperature of up to 194 degrees and lower it to 37 degrees in no more than 90 minutes. Not only does this bring the food through the danger zone quickly, but it also stops the cooking process even more rapidly.

The difference between blast chilling and shock freezing is also a time and temperature issue.  Shock freezing is the process of lowering the  food’s core temperature to 0 degrees from 194 degrees in 4 hours or less. That said, there are many other benefits behind blast-chilling other than just food safety uses. Here are a few of them:

Better food quality. When not shock-frozen or blast chilled, the water content of food form macrocrystals, or larger ice molecules, that actually break down the cell structure of the food.  During blast chilling and shock freezing microcrystals form and these smaller ice molecules prevent the cell structures from deteriorating. A perfect example of this is if you were to pull a steak out of your freezer at home and let it thaw on the counter at room temperature. A lot of liquid forms as a result of this, which is a direct result of food cells breaking down. As more of this liquid escapes the product, so does weight, aroma and consistency, all elements that make-up higher quality food.

Waste Reduction. Foods that are blast chilled can be stored in the freezer for longer periods of time without going bad, thereby reducing the amount of food that needs to be thrown out because of product degradation.  If the product was shock frozen compared to blast chilled the product can be held longer with no loss in quality.  Spoilage occurs at a much slower rate when food cells remain intact, which cuts down on waste.

Labor Savings. Blast chilling and shock freezing give foodservice operators the freedom to prepare food days in advance without a loss of quality.  Banquets are perfect examples of how operators can capture these savings.  For example, the chef could prepare the meal for a banquet using a skeleton staff a few days before the actual event.  Then, on night of the banquet, only a few staff members would need to be available to re-thermalize the frozen, prepared meals for on-time delivery, thus eliminating the need for a fully-staffed kitchen during the event.  Being able to forecast and prepare days in advance allows for a better process workflow as it allows the kitchen staff much more flexibility in terms of preparation time and place.

Menu Flexibility/Better Purchasing. Being able to blast-chill or shock-freeze products and store them for months at a time allows operators to buy and store larger quantities of foods while prices are lower. The longer-storage capability of this equipment, for example, can store summer food items, such as fresh produce and vegetables for use on menus during the wintertime without the added costs of shipping warmer climate products cross-country or overseas.

Sustainability. A continuing hot topic in the industry, part of the sustainability movement has included a focus on creating more seasonal menus, using fruits, vegetables, and other products at their natural peak times. Chefs can certainly create more seasonal menus thanks to blast-chilling technology’s capability of storing those seasonal foods over longer periods of time without quality loss. In addition, there has been an added push to serve local or regionally-grown foods. This is where the longer storage capability of blast chilling comes into use as well. Those living in colder weather areas such as the Midwest and Northeast know the challenges that come with storing farm-fresh foods from the summer for use on winter menus. With blast chillers, operators can buy products from a local famer in July, shock freeze them, and serve them on menus in December. In addition to cutting down on shipping costs as previously mentioned, this also cuts down on the operator’s carbon footprint by reducing C02 emissions that would occur with that cross-country shipping.

For more information on blast chillers, visit FE&S’ online Product Knowledge Guide.

Canadian Restaurant Supplies
Clifford Pierce
Phone : 250-979-8631
E-mail :
Commercial Kitchens Kelowna Restaurant Equipment

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Maintaining Your Restuarant Equipment

Foodservice Equipment Maintenance Tips
-- Foodservice Equipment & Supplies, 9/29/2009 8:45:00 AM

According to FE&S’ 2010 Industry Forecast, dealers anticipate fryers, ice machines, ovens, ranges, refrigerators and prep tables to be among their biggest sellers in the year to come. Collectively, these workhorses represent the backbone of most any foodservice operation. As a refresher, FE&S would like to offer the following maintenance tips for these pieces of equipment.

Please note that the information listed below contains general maintenance information and should not be substituted for the manufacturer’s requirements and recommendations.


Maximize a fryer’s useful service life with regular and thorough
cleaning. Regularly boil out fryers to eliminate acidic or caustic oil
buildup on the metal. Change frying oil weekly. Foodservice operators
should try to avoid temperature shock caused by dumping frozen product
into fully heated oil, scorching the frying medium and stressing heating
elements. Self-cleaning burner systems perform daily preventive
maintenance and keep fryers running at peak efficiency levels.

                                         Ice Machines

Controlling the temperature of water flowing to ice-making equipment is
important because the lower the water temperature, the greater ice-making
capacity will be. Generally, temperatures should never exceed 90°F. Most ice
machines require regular cleaning, and operators should check them frequently
or loose wires or leaks. Keep lines clean by purging with water. Water filters
that prevent mineral buildups can reduce the necessity for frequent cleaning.
Since cleaning ice machines is a time-consuming task that requires the
storage bin to be emptied, operators should make sure a service agency will
properly handle this.

Gas and electric deck ovens each come with flue vents in the rear that must be maintained. With convection ovens, maintenance challenges can come from solid-state, touch-pad controls, since employees may use too-long fingernails or even sharp implements to punch numbers into the keyboard, which is a problem. Caustic cleaners such as scouring powders should not be used to clean the inside of a convection oven. Such cleaners are tough to remove, and their buildup will eventually damage an oven. Instead, staff should use a mild detergent on the exterior. Caustics can't do any damage on the outside, of course, but can mar an oven’s appearance.


When it comes to ranges, staff can clean ordinary grime
by using soap, water and a cloth, sponge or fiber brush. To
clean baked-on food, staff should use a scouring pad or
stainless-steel wool to rub on a paste made of water and
ammonia, magnesium oxide, powdered pumice or French
chalk. Avoid cleaning with wire brushes, files and steel
scrapers. One maker offers a full-width crumb tray to catch
minor spills and provide easier cleanup. Lift-off burners
also facilitate easier cleaning.

Reach-in Refrigerators and Freezers
Staff should thoroughly and frequently clean and sanitize reach-ins, inside and out. And here are a few other maintenance tips for reach-ins.

Refrigerated Prep Tables

Prep tables are known as one of the most neglected pieces
of equipment in the kitchen, since they are high-use and can be difficult to
move for cleaning. Food debris should be removed from in and around
the unit. Keep clean evaporator coils, fan blades and condensers.
Change air conditioning filters and check the prep tables for fan failure
and leaks. Units also need to be regularly cleaned and wiped down,             both inside and out. Regular cleaning ensures optimum efficiency and can lower energy costs.

Walk-in Refrigerators and Freezers

Walk-ins are subject to a tremendous amount of operational abuse, and quality of construction and materials will affect maintenance requirements. Outer construction of stainless steel is the most durable and easiest to maintain. Aluminum outer construction is cheaper, but dents easily and is more difficult to clean. Compressor/condenser units should be in easily accessible areas, and multiple remote units should be grouped together to ease maintenance and servicing. Preventive maintenance for walk-ins' refrigeration systems involves ensuring proper air flow and ventilation in condensers' areas and routine cleaning of condenser coils by a certified technician.

Kelowna Restaurant Equipment
Clifford Pierce
Phone : 250.979-8631
Commercial Kitchens Kelowna Restaurant Equipment

Friday, September 18, 2009

Is Buying used Restaurant Equipment a Good Idea?

By Clifford Pierce

Is it a good idea to buy used restaurant equipment? That mostly depends on: does that particular piece fit your needs, what is the history behind it, and how good are you at repairs?

When buying a used piece of equipment you need to be careful. Just because it is cheap does not mean it’s a good value. In the long run it can end up costing you a lot more money, so your need to be careful.

First and foremost, just like when buying new equipment, will the output of this machine match your current needs and planned growth? I see this often when ice machines are purchased for existing needs (or based on a cheap price), only to fall seriously short of ice needed when business increases.

Where did the machine come from and how old is it? If you are buying an old mixer, and it came from a pizza shop, there is probably a good reason that they getting rid of it (such as the motor is worn out)! If the unit is within a couple of years old, and possibly came from a bankruptcy, you are probably pretty safe. Just know what the prices are new before you go buy used so you can negotiate the best deal.

Before you buy a used piece of equipment, have an idea if it is a popular brand name.You don’t want to be buying an old unit that you can’t get parts for as the manufacturer no longer exists or does not have any Canadian representation (for faster service on parts). If you aren’t a handyman, then don’t buy an old piece of equipment either, because whatever you might have saved on buying used can quickly end up costing you more by having constant repairs from a professional technician.

A lot of time and effort should go into purchasing a piece of restaurant equipment. The decision you make will be a big commitment and will help you to determine the success or failure of your operation. Build good relationships with your suppliers and ask a lot of questions, and they will help guide you into the right fit for your present and future needs.

As a general rule, new is better, particularly in the area of refrigeration. You don’t want to take any chances with equipment failure scenarios. New equipment has no history behind it of overuse or neglect. New equipment generally holds up very well and the warranties alone can often make the difference in the decision making of buying new vs. used.

Clifford Pierce
Phone : 250.979.8631
Commercial Kitchens Kelowna Restaurant Equipment


Friday, September 4, 2009

Microwave Ovens for use in Kelowna Restaurant

Foodservice Equipment and Supplies, 9/1/2008

• Types: Commercial microwave ovens can be one of the most indispensable tools in a kitchen. These units differ significantly from their residential counterparts in terms of durability, technology, controls and capacity. Newer microwaves feature technology that allows for better energy penetration into the center of food, which helps prevent overcooking.

• Capacities/Footprints: Cabinet sizes on most commercial models range from 130 to 250 wide, 130 to 250 deep and 130 to 190 high. Usable cavity space generally ranges from .8- to 1.56-cu.-ft. Larger-size cavities can hold a 130 platter or two 40-tall full-size steam table pans with covers.

• Energy Source(s): Smaller microwaves operate on either 115V or 120V; larger, heavy-duty ovens require 208V to 240V. Microwaves' power output is measured in watts. Most low-volume operations will receive enough performance from a 700-watt oven.
Busier outlets are more likely to require 1800- to 2200-watt ovens.

• Manufacturing Method: The units' case typically features stainless-steel construction with a ceramic interior on the bottom. Adjustable legs are commonly chrome-plated, but powder-coated handles are also a popular feature. Heavy-duty hinges are designed to withstand the wear and tear of repetitive door-slamming.

• Standard Features: These include programmable memory pad selectors, multiple-portion touch pads, manual operation capabilities, a cycle counter to track oven usage, electronic timers with digital displays, see-through doors and lighted cavities. Removable or easy-to-clean air filters help reduce the effects of grease-laden air on oven components. Most microwave ovens come equipped with an automatic shut-off device to prevent overheating. Doors have two independent but interlocking systems that automatically shut off the oven when a door is ajar. Doors also come with seals and absorbers to eliminate the chance of radiation leakage.

• New Features/Technology/Options: Microwaves are available with top- and bottom-feed technology for more consistent heating. While some units are capable of storing up to 100 cooking programs for easier preparation of best-selling menu items, other models provide stage cooking, allowing users to program specific cooking times and microwave power. Some microwaves automatically adjust the cooking time for pre-programmed menu items when multiple quantities are being prepared. This feature not only prevents overcooking on the edges and surfaces of food items, but also results in more consistent food temperatures and textures.

• Prime Functions: Microwave ovens cook, defrost, self-steam and reheat foods. Operators mostly use them in concert with other types of cooking equipment to speed production and help keep ambient kitchen temperatures low.

• Key Kitchen Applications: Many types of operations, including bars, quick-casual restaurants, banquet halls, hospitals, nursing homes and hotels, use microwaves to defrost and rapidly bring foods back to the proper serving temperature.

Convenience-store foodservice operations commonly use microwaves to prepare frozen packaged products. Some end-users also use microwaves to steam seafood and vegetables. In general, microwave ovens tend to work well with any foods that have more moisture, such as vegetables, pastas and certain grains.

• Purchasing Guidelines: Before choosing what size microwave is needed, the cooking vessel size needs to be determined. End-users should also consider how they intend to use their microwave ovens and determine the appropriate wattage. For example, if the intended application is bulk-defrosting, operators should consider a higher wattage. If a menu warrants a microwave that can store cooking programs, a model offering stage cooking or a multiple-quantity option may be necessary.

• Maintenance Requirements: Microwave ovens are considered electronic devices and as such they require cool air to keep them from overheating and functioning properly, which can pose a challenge when positioned above a fryer or steamer. By the same token, keep air intake filters clean to allow proper airflow and both grease and moisture to evacuate the oven cavity. Never turn on a microwave oven if it is empty, since the unit needs to emit energy through product absorption. A clean microwave cavity enhances the unit's operational efficiency. Debris inside the oven's cavity may burn or catch fire and will prevent uniform heating patterns, compromising cooking consistency.

• Food Safety & Sanitation Essentials: Use of a food thermometer or an oven's temperature probe to verify that foods have reached their safe temperatures is recommended. When defrosting food in a microwave, it should be cooked thoroughly after thawing.

Kelowna Restaurant Equipment
Clifford Pierce
Phone : 250.979.8631
E-mail : Clifford Pierce
Commercial Kitchens Kelowna Restaurant Equipment


Not All Slicers Are Created Equal: How To Tell The Difference & What You Should Buy

Posted by The Back Burner

A commercial slicer can quickly turn many of the products in your walk in into uniform, perfectly sliced pieces ready to serve, making your staff’s job very easy and improving the efficiency of your operation. Slicers are usually used to cut meats, cheese, and eggs, among other things. A commercial slicer consists of an electric motor, a metal base, and a feeder tray that moves product past a metal blade to produce a thin slice.

What Do You Want To Slice?

While the slicer itself is a pretty simple device, not all slicers are created equal, and you need to be careful when purchasing a slicer to avoid getting the wrong one. It all comes down to what exactly you intend to slice. That’s because different slicers have different capabilities, and if you try to slice something that’s too heavy for your slicer, you’ll end up with a burned out motor.

The problem is that you’ll almost always be tempted to get a standard or light duty slicer because they are significantly less expensive than larger, heavier duty slicers. That’s perfectly fine if you just need to slice up some deli meat. But if you need to slice any kind of cheese or frozen product, your poor slicer is going to bog down and burn out very quickly.

Here’s how to decide which kind of slicer is right for you based on the type of product you want to slice:

Standard Duty Slicers are not recommended for slicing cheese
Medium Duty Slicers can slice cheese at most for an hour or two a day. They are not recommended for frozen product
Heavy Duty Slicers can slice any amount of cheese or frozen product

Heavier duty slicers also tend to have a larger blade, which allows you to slice larger product. Make sure you size the blade diameter to the size of the product you want to slice. All slicers allow you to adjust the thickness of the slice and should be NSF certified and have safety features like a knife guard.

Manual vs. Automatic Slicers

A manual slicer requires one of your staff to operate the feeder tray back and forth to run food product past the slicing blade. Some manual slicers also feature a gravity fed feeder tray, which ensures the product is in the proper position to slice on each pass.

Automatic slicers feature an electrically powered pusher for independent operation. If you’re slicing large amounts of product all at once, an automatic slicer is more convenient because it can slice continuously without constant staff assistance.
Slicer Cleaning & Maintenance

Slicers should be sanitized on a regular daily schedule using a properly mixed commercial sanitizing concentrate and water. Many slicers have a built in sharpening stone that will keep the blade consistently sharp. Of course, whenever your staff is working around an ultra-sharp blade whirring at a high speed, they should have cut resistant gloves on.
There are several moving parts in the feeder tray and carriage assemblies on a slicer that should be lubricated regularly to ensure smooth operation and improve the lifespan of the slicer. Always use a food-grade lubricant for these tasks. Over time and lots of use, parts of your slicer are going to wear out, most commonly the slicing blade and the drive belt (if applicable). Fortunately the parts that most commonly wear out are also relatively easy to replace. Search for slicer parts by manufacturer here.

Kelowna Restaurant Equipment
Clifford Pierce
Phone : 250.979.8631
E-mail : Clifford Pierce
Commercial Kitchens Kelowna Restaurant Equipment


Friday, August 28, 2009

Choosing Tableware for your Restaurant Equipment in Kelowna

Choosing Tableware for your Restaurant by Gail Leith

FIRST IMPRESSIONS COUNT: Much of the valuable first impressions that diners get about your establishment comes from your food presentation style and tabletop settings. Food presentation is key to the operational concept. Tableware anchors the aesthetics of the presentation and becomes the canvas for stylish dishes. The dining experience is more than just eating; it is a visual experience as well. The style of presentation and choice of tableware contributes to overall perception of the meals and your entire establishment.

SIZES AND SHAPES: There are ways to create a personality for your table that help you stand out with the variety of new shapes and sizes available. Adding extra touches in the various pieces you use can liven up the presentation. Using unique shapes can take your establishment to the next level. Even the simple square shape can inspire the chef as it provides a lot of space for the imagination, and room for varied creativity.

COLOUR: White plates are always in vogue with chefs. They provide a clean bright canvas to present beautiful food without distracting from it. Colours and patterns may go out of fashion, but white is always classic and sophisticated. With white, your pieces are almost guaranteed to never go out of style and will always be in stock. In this sense, white is very economical because it is easier to replace when breaks occur. Colour can be used however - but consider using colour and decorative items mainly for unique show pieces or special seasonal dishes, instead of heavy use.

USAGE: For tableware that gets heavily used throughout the day, certain shapes and durable commercial materials are best to avoid breaks, chips and scratches. Classic round shapes and shapes with reinforced edges usually have least breakage, while other shapes, particulary unique shapes and pieces that don't easily stack may be more prone to chipping and damage. Pieces that have uneven sides or delicate forms may be more suited for special presentation or showpieces rather than for heavy use.

ADAPTABILITY: When considering shapes and sizes of tableware, look also for pieces that possess the adaptability for presenting different menu items. Not only does this provide creative ways of presenting dishes, it is also very economical. Pasta bowls can also be used as salad bowls, martini glasses can be used traditionally or for more creative presentation of entrees and side dishes. Investing in good tableware is important so it is always best to make an intelligent and adaptable buy.

About the Author
For over 20 years FEI - Food Service Equipment International have been suppliers of commercial quality tableware, buffet and banquetware. Visit
for more expert advice and products to serve all your foodservice needs.

Posted by:
Kelowna Restaurant Equipment
Clifford Pierce
Phone : 250.979.8631
E-mail : Clifford Pierce
Commercial Kitchens Kelowna Restaurant Equipment