Preparing Your Restaurant for Winter Weather
Even though it’s only the beginning of January, we’ve all seen our fair share of winter weather this year. Although there is no foolproof way to guarantee an accident-free winter, there are several ways you can prepare your establishment and your team to ensure your customers’ safety and continue to operate your foodservice equipment efficiently throughout the season. With temperatures predicted to hit the fifties on Friday, this weekend could be a great time to catch-up on the winter preparation you should have done but never got around to completing. Below are five ways your restaurant can prepare for a successful and safe winter.
1. Have a Plan
One of best ways to prepare your team for unpredictable winter weather is to have a plan in place ahead of time. Make your employees aware of the plan and its location for quick reference. The plan should include a list of emergency contact numbers and shut-off valves in the event of a power failure.
2. Prevent Pipes From Freezing
When pipes freeze it can result in a complete loss of water to your establishment, and they can eventually burst, causing damage and potential flooding. The best way to prevent pipes from freezing is to be proactive. Make sure all of your pipes are properly insulated. If you are not sure if your pipes are protected and you have little time to prepare, you can allow your faucet to drip slightly; this will prevent pressure from building up and minimize the chance that the pipe will burst.
3. Be Prepared for Power Outages
Power outages can turn customers away and lead to large quantities of spoiled food which ultimately means lost profits. Investing in a backup generator is a great way to fuel refrigeration units, emergency lighting, and essential kitchen equipment in the case of a power outage. Educate your employees of temperature danger zones so food can be appropriately handled, and have additional thermometers on hand so your team can monitor the food temperatures in your refrigerators and freezers throughout the outage.
4. Keep Parking Lots and Walkways Clear
Slips and falls are the number one cause of restaurant accidents, with about 70% of them occurring on flat or level surfaces, like in your parking lot. Even if you hire a contractor to clear lots and walkways, plan ahead and keep snow removal essentials like shovels, ice melt, and stiff bristle brooms on hand.
5. CONTROL THE HEAT
As the temperatures go down outside the heat is turned up. Increased heat in the kitchen can cause potential problems for open display coolers, cold tables, and your kitchen staff’s comfort. Cover open display coolers and cold tables when they are not in use to conserve energy and increase efficiency when your heat is turned up. Consider installing a zone heating system or investing in portable air conditioning units for your kitchen to keep your staff cool and comfortable.
No matter what winter weather situation comes your way, the most critical factor to consider is the safety of your staff, customers, and yourself. Educate your employees and carefully weigh the risks when deciding whether to remain open or not. Remember if you are experiencing food service equipment problems this winter we will be there. We offer emergency service 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. Our technicians are trained to handle winter weather situations. The weather may be unpredictable, but Clark Service Group is not. Schedule service with our team today and notice the Clark Service Group difference.