A mixer is a major investment for any bakery or pizzeria—a heavy lifter that can thrive for decades and make or break your dough (and, potentially, other menu items). As such, choosing the right type, as well as maintaining it for maximum longevity, are key considerations for operators.

For independent bakeries and restaurants, unplanned kitchen downtime and repairs are a recipe for disaster, according to Hobart Corp. Unreliable kitchen operations lead to customer complaints and lost business opportunities. Add on the emergency service calls and repairs, and it doesn’t take long before this becomes a very costly business issue.

Choose the right equipment

You don’t want to invest in equipment that is too small or underpowered to keep up with the volume of your kitchen. If you go too small, not only will you be disappointed in the drag on your productivity, but you’ll expose yourself to repeated mechanical and material failures due to overworking the units. Undersized equipment can stop a kitchen in its tracks.

Once you determine the right size and type of equipment for your business, be sure to choose a trusted brand that offers a warranty and service solutions. Investing in high-quality and reliable products that are built to last will go a long way toward keeping your kitchen operational.

BONUS TIP: You should also avoid buying equipment that exceeds your expected output. If you buy more than you need, you may end up spending more money, using more floorspace, and inflating utility costs.

Proper training

Make sure your staff is trained on how to properly operate the equipment. Most manufacturers and distributors offer online and in-person training for equipment operators and it is definitely worth the time and effort. Improper use of the equipment can cause downtime as well as costly service issues. A well-trained staff is one of your best defenses against downtime.

Equipment cleaning

Another common-sense way to keep commercial kitchens open and operating is through the proper cleaning and sanitization of equipment. Regular practices like cleaning refrigerator condenser and evaporator coils help reduce premature compressor failures; removing grease buildups on burners improve cooking efficiency; and deliming commercial dishwashers minimizes corrosion, prevents component malfunctions and maintains overall wash quality for dishes and ware.

By using best practices and outlining daily, weekly and monthly cleaning schedules, your kitchen equipment can continue to operate safely and efficiently for years to come.

Preventive maintenance

Preventive maintenance is critical to avoiding unplanned kitchen downtime. It will help extend the life of your equipment, reduce unplanned costs, and ensure your machines are operating at optimal performance.

Consult the manufacturers recommended preventive maintenance guidelines and set up a schedule. Taking a proactive approach to maintenance will help you avoid critical equipment failure.