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Restaurant maintenance checklist

Published on Mar 10, 2021 | Last updated Apr 12, 2021 6 minute read

Restaurant maintenance checklist

Running a restaurant is a labour of love. From the labour perspective, it often involves implementing and tracking many different operational protocols, ranging from equipment maintenance and upkeep, to compliance tasks.

Maintaining restaurant equipment and building is imperative when it comes to running a smooth operation. You can help prevent unexpected shutdowns from equipment failure or an unexpected fire that could lead to costly emergency repairs by following a restaurant maintenance checklist.

We’re in your corner – in this article you’ll discover why you should have a Restaurant Maintenance Checklist, important considerations for your checklist and more.

Benefits of having a restaurant maintenance checklist

A restaurant maintenance checklist is a form used by restaurant owners, managers and head chefs to ensure that every part of their restaurant is working properly.

There are many benefits of having a restaurant maintenance checklist, including:

  • Helping maintain food quality and safety
  • Sustaining operations
  • Extending equipment life
  • Increasing resale value of equipment
  • Reducing fire hazards
  • Promoting sanitation
  • Increasing efficiency

The most common equipment maintenance mistakes

Regular restaurant maintenance may not be enough to prevent unnecessary expenses for damage and liabilities. These are some common maintenance mistakes to avoid when taking care of your restaurant:

  • Neglecting to train your employees on proper cleaning procedures
  • Not following the correct maintenance procedures
  • Failing to fill out the warranty details in time for it to be applicable
  • Not creating a regular cleaning schedule, or not sticking to it
  • "DIY" repair
  • Not using the proper chemicals and cleaning supplies
  • Failing to practice proper hygiene and sanitation

Areas to include in your checklist

Preventive maintenance is key in keeping your restaurant in great shape. Being proactive about equipment maintenance can help to avoid costly repairs and health and safety violations. There’s no one-size-fits-all checklist for all restaurants, as they are mostly unique. Here are some general areas you should cover:

Floor maintenance

When you think of restaurant maintenance, you may focus on the equipment inside the kitchen but there are more considerations, such as the foundational aspects, like the floors. Solid, clean, slip-free floors are essential to ensure safety in the kitchen. The most important step in maintaining a commercial-grade kitchen floor is by keeping it clean.

  • Ensure all floor drains are draining properly
  • Remove floor mats, sweep, and mop regularly
  • Use a degreaser to get rid of grease and soils
  • Look for cracks, holes, or bumps in the floor that could be a tripping hazard

Ranges

Kitchen ranges are one of the most used piece of equipment in the kitchen. If they break down, their failure will not only cost you money but it will decrease the efficiency of your kitchen.

  • Clean and secure burners and grates
  • Grease valve knobs regularly
  • Move range and clean behind it
  • Check that the thermostat is working properly
  • Train kitchen staff to use ranges correctly to avoid safety hazards and damages

Griddles, grills and fryers

Meals are cooked on griddles, grills and in fryers in many commercial kitchens. They are easy to use, easy to clean and help maximize space.

  • Clean burners
  • Check grease filters
  • Wipe down griddles and grills after use
  • Check for gas leaks
  • Check and clean combustion fans
  • Pay close attention to the quality of the oil you’re using in the fryer
  • Extract dirty oil regularly
  • Clean fry baskets and inspect for damages

Fridges and freezers

An important part of commercial kitchen maintenance involves keeping an eye on all the different elements of your commercial refrigerators and freezers. Careful temperature control is vital in preserving food and extending the life of cold and frozen items. When a refrigerator or freezer goes down in a commercial restaurant, it could mean thousands of dollars in lost food.

  • Check refrigerant level
  • Check and adjust defrost timers
  • Inspect suction line insulation
  • Look over door hinges and closers
  • Clean gaskets and lubricate hinges
  • Check electrical connections
  • Calibrate thermometers

Storage spaces

Dry food storage areas should be cleaned, organized, inspected and maintained regularly.

  • Temperatures in dry food storage spaces are up to code
  • Food and supplies are kept off of the floor
  • All food is properly labeled
  • Employees are trained in FIFO food storage practices (First In, First Out)

Dishwashers and sinks

Whether you hand wash your dishes or have them cleaned by a commercial cleaning system, you'll need to keep dishes clean and sanitized to maintain an orderly, clean kitchen.

  • Check chemical levels (detergent, sanitizer, rinsing aids)
  • Look for chips, dents or damages to dish racks
  • Clean the filter every 15-20 cycles
  • Inspect tank water and change regularly
  • Train employees to rinse food and debris from plates and cookware before loading the dishwasher to prevent clogs and drainage issues

Quick tips about restaurant maintenance

Common restaurant accidents

There are many common restaurant injuries caused by accidents, including:

  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Burns
  • Sprains and bruising

These injuries may be prevented by ensuring safety protocols are in place.

Ways to prevent a kitchen fire

Using the general Restaurant Maintenance Checklist can help protect your business again fires. Consider the following:

  • Check electrical connections
  • Use a degreaser to get rid of grease and soils
  • Clean and secure burners and grates
  • Train kitchen staff to use ranges correctly
  • Check for gas leaks

Clean and sanitize your commercial kitchen

It’s important to maintain a clean and sanitary restaurant kitchen by:

  • Removing floor mats and mop regularly
  • Using a degreaser to get rid of grease and soils
  • Cleaning and secure burners and grates
  • Greasing valve knobs regularly
  • Moving the range and cleaning behind it
  • Checking grease filters
  • Wiping down griddles and grills after use
  • Extracting dirty oil regularly

As your kitchen equipment and building get older, the cost of repairs and maintenance for your restaurant may grow Contact a BrokerLink insurance broker today to make sure your restaurant has the right insurance coverage to keep your investment protected for the long-term.

Get the right restaurant insurance coverage at BrokerLink

The key to restaurant maintenance involves keeping an eye on your overall facility as well as on all the different elements of your equipment like refrigerators, ranges, and freezers. However, no matter how well you maintain your restaurant and its equipment, unexpected damage and accidents are still a possibility.

Protect your restaurant from unexpected damages and accidents that can take a toll on your bottom line. BrokerLink insurance brokers can help you determine the best options for your restaurant.

For a directory of all our commercial insurance brokers across Canada, visit our Commercial Brokers page.

Restaurant Maintenance FAQs

What should I do if someone slips and falls in my restaurant?

Slip and falls, food poisoning and assaults at your business are just a few of the many possible liabilities you face. Commercial general liability insurance can protect your restaurant against claims or lawsuits. Talk to your broker to learn what’s covered under your policy.

Is it possible for me to be sued for not insuring my restaurant?

Without the proper business insurance, you are at risk of food poisoning claims, employee dishonesty, equipment breakdown, lost profits and business interruption expenses following a claim. Contact your broker to learn what’s covered under your policy.

Do I need to conduct food allergy training for my restaurant staff?

It’s in the best interest of your business to educate your employees to help protect your customers – this includes proper training. Speak with your insurance broker to understand what your responsibilities as a restaurant owner are.