Commercial Kitchens

Tips on lowering energy consumption and improving safety in commercial kitchens.

Effective business management reduces costs and increases profit. Because gas provides the most heat per energy dollar, your kitchen already has an efficient energy resource—and effective management of that resource will make it even more profitable. The following tips will make efficient energy management easier.

An ounce of prevention

  • Make a list of all equipment to be included in your equipment evaluation.
  • Develop data on each piece of equipment. Include energy source, input, purchase date and warranties.
    • Record this in a book, on cards, or in your computer.
    • List maintenance tasks that can be done by regular staff and those that should be referred to a qualified agency.
  • Determine exactly what maintenance needs to be done on each piece and the frequency with which it needs to be done.
    • Certain functions such as "check for loose parts, grease or oil leaks and malfunctions" should be carried out each time the equipment is used.
    • Others need to be done daily, weekly, or even once a year.
  • Equipment checks performed each day should be incorporated into cleaning instructions and mounted beside or close to each piece.
  • The various maintenance tasks to be performed should be placed on a master monthly or yearly schedule and indicate how and by whom each function should be done. The master schedule should be referred to regularly.
  • Always list repairs, costs and dates completed on the records. As equipment ages, keep close check on repair costs.
    • Although the replacement point will vary somewhat between types of equipment, a good rule of thumb is to replace when costs in one year total one half the original purchase price.
  • From time to time analyze the nature of repairs to determine if procedures should be changed.
    • Frequent part(s) failure indicates that the part(s) should be replaced before they malfunction. An example of this practice is putting new door gaskets on refrigeration as soon as signs of wear are noticed.

Solid-top ranges

  • Solid-top gas ranges will reach the proper cooking temperature after 10 to 20 minutes of preheating. Additional preheating wastes energy.
  • Cooking utensils should make flush contact with the cooking surface. Dented pot bottoms increase operating costs.
  • Grouping cooking utensils will require fewer burners and uses less energy.
  • Always turn down the flame when the proper cooking temperature is attained. The required heat may vary for different sections of the unit, which eliminates the need for maintaining the entire cooking surface at its peak heat.
  • While the surface is still slightly warm, clean the range with a heavy burlap cloth or steel wool. Remove grease or dirt lodged under flanges, lids, rings or plates. Never pour water directly on the range.