If you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen, or in this case, equip it so that you can.
During the summertime it is essential that anyone who owns or works in a commercial catering facility knows how best to prepare their kitchen for the heat.
Commercial kitchen equipment such as stoves and grills generate a lot of heat, making the workspace toasty at the best of times. Whilst there is no law for maximum working temperatures in the UK, employers must stick to health and safety at work law. This includes keeping the temperature in working areas at a comfortable level, sometimes known as thermal comfort, and providing clean and fresh air.
With temperatures rising higher than ever in the UK this year, here are our tips for commercial kitchen cooling and keeping your catering facility as cool as possible.
1.Verify all of your A/C units are running properly, and make sure filters are replaced and belts are tight.
This may seem like an obvious one, however it is easy to forget about maintaining your air conditioning unit until it is too late. Always make sure the filters are clean, or better yet replaced, and that the belts are tight and haven’t come loose or gotten frayed from overuse. By adding your air conditioning units to the list for planned preventative maintenance, you can ensure that your kitchen is always equipped for all weather conditions.
2. Clean all filters and defrost coolers, freezers, and walk-ins.
Your fridges and freezers will be working overtime in the warmer weather. To ensure they run safely and efficiently, you can defrost all chilled appliances before the heatwave hits. This helps the appliances not only reach their optimum temperature more easily, but also to maintain it.
3. Use cold towels and fans.
While this solution may seem somewhat outdated in comparison to the more modern resources we have available today, it remains to be one of the most effective ways to lower your body temperature. A cold (or better, frozen) cloth on the back of the neck can cool down employees quickly, and most importantly, keep them cool. As the water evaporates in a hot kitchen, body temperature drops in response. A lot of the heat generated by appliances will be at or below waist level, so small fans placed safely at foot level can help keep employees cool as well. Together, these two small actions can make a big difference in your commercial kitchen.
4. Make hydration a priority.
Hydration at work is always important, but during a heatwave it must become a top priority. To encourage employees to hydrate, consider providing them with spill-proof, reusable water bottles and a water cooler station. Keeping your employees fuelled with electrolytes is another way to avoid heat exhaustion and any other heat-related illnesses. Make sure you have plenty of electrolyte sources available for them such as bananas and infused waters. In a hot environment, heat exhaustion can occur quickly and unexpectedly, staying hydrated and fuelled with electrolytes will keep your team safe, even through the longest shift.
5. Adapt your work uniform for the summer months.
Whilst it is important that your team maintain a consistent uniform at work, ensure that they can adapt the basic guidelines so they can be comfortable in all weather conditions. Swapping a long-sleeved shirt for short sleeves and exchanging heavy boots or shoes for something more ventilated like Crocs will result in a happy and healthy workforce. If your restaurant or food service establishment has stricter guidelines, consider looking into restaurant supply companies that offer uniforms made from dry, venting and moisture-wicking materials to keep staff cool and comfortable.
Are you unsure if your commercial catering equipment is fit for use in the higher temperatures coming? Our team of specialists would be more than happy to make a visit and assess your commercial kitchen cooling solutions as part of our maintenance service. Get in touch to book today!