When we look at a kitchen behind a glass wall or when we are seated in a restaurant with its kitchen attached, we seldom think of what is done to keep the heat out and what is necessary to ensure that we leave the restaurant with good thoughts and not the smell of our food on our clothes.
Exhaust systems are detrimental to a commercial kitchen as explained in page 60 of our equipment highlight. It is an equipment that many do not understand its actual contribution to making your restaurant a pleasant visit for the customer or to an employee, a necessity to creating the right working environment.
Many restaurants are equipped with an exhaust system but as a restaurant owner, do you know how often you should clean them?
As Mr Gunalan Ganesan of Halton Group Asia explains “A busy kitchen is running constantly for at least 8 – 10 hours daily. A lot can be trapped by an efficient system and it is your duty to look after your investment best.”
Similarly like before, there are steps that should be taken on a daily basis where others are implemented from time to time.[hr]
For your everyday cleaning, you should look at the following:
A. THE FILTER -
Your filters’ function is to trap grease and allow the oil to drain to your grease tray while allowing smoke and heat to go through. Having one that is coated with grime will not do its job and is definitely a big turn off to a display kitchen. Taking the filters out to clean them with soap and water daily will ensure its effectiveness,
B. THE HOOD -
Wipe down your hoods. Often neglected during the daily clean up by operators, wiping the hood daily helps to preserve its façade and also your exhaust systems - especially in specially designed hoods with corners and especially its lighting and fire suppression nozzles (if there are any),
C. THE GREASE TRAP TRAY -
“I have seen some trays filling up within an hour!” comments Mr Ganesan. This is something that has to be cleaned daily and must be monitored closely during the day in a very busy kitchen.[hr]
For periodic cleaning or checking, it is recommended that you commission a service company to help you manage the part that is hidden – its duct.
Unlike installing a fan to blow the heat away from the chef as what many Asian kitchens or stalls normally practice, a restaurant in a shopping mall or building would require a duct system. It is important to your kitchen staff and also your restaurant that smoke or plumes are removed from the premises as discreetly and effectively as the presence of smoke or greasy air into an air conditioned or closed environment would be bad news.
Ducts are narrow and in some cases, snakes through intricate turns to accommodate the building structure and the force of the suction is dependant on the size of the motor and also the distance. And sometimes due to miscalculation, some operators have gone to the extent of removing the filters completely to “feel” the force of suction to ensure that smoke and plumes leave the kitchen completely.
However, what this does is allow your duct to trap and later be trapped with grimes and grease internally. As it travels through the duct, grease particles stick on its surface and accumulate. In some exhausts, a built in UV light system helps dissipate the grease particles inside the ducts. However, bear in mind that if the filters installed are not efficient or removed completely, the UV light built in might be overwhelmed by plumes and fail in its effectiveness.
Therefore work with a service professional to have your duct cleaned at least 6 months once. There are many professionals out there who can provide their services but before anything, ensure that you have the right system installed – calculated to per form with the demands of your menu and kitchen.