Restaurant maintenance: How to make your kitchen equipment last longer

Commercial kitchens have a great deal of equipment to sustain the constant workflow in the back of house. Any functional kitchen has fryers, grills, fridges or any other cooking device to have your kitchen working at full speed. However, in order for them to work properly and last for a long period of time, they need to be regularly checked and maintenenced. This begs the question, what should you do to make your equipment withstand such high-volume use?

Make your kitchen equipment last longer with these simple steps

Control Check

A regular, monthly or bi-weekly check–up is the initial step to assure everything is working accordingly. This assures you have an overall assessment of your equipment and knowledge on any irregularity taking place. Check the air filters in coolers, refrigerators, and ice machines, and see if there are any gas leaks or if your vent hoods are clean.

Furthermore, this can be useful information for any technician coming to fix your kitchen equipment because you already have an equipment status overview. This reduces the probability of any tiny foreseeable problem becoming bigger and less controllable in the future.

Cleaning and Sanitizing

An equally important job you need to do to prolong your life’s equipment is keeping it clean. Sanitization prevents food particles, grime, rust, and debris from building up, which can cause equipment failure. In order to reduce any risks of malfunctioning, doing a regular deep clean is a must.

Your kitchen equipment, vent hoods, floors and walls should be regularly cleaned as they are the core elements of the back of house – especially with vent hoods and ducts. These tend to build up grease coming from grease-laden vapors, resulting in its possible blockage. The blockage can then lead to kitchen fires that can spread rapidly to other parts of the restaurant. The presence of inflammable materials like cooking oils, gas, furniture and upholstery can trigger and spread the fire very quickly. 

Professional Planned Maintenance

Despite the fact that you successfully complete the previous basic steps for kitchen equipment maintenance, you should get in contact with professionals who can assist you. Professional maintenance and cleaning services help not only with safety measures, but also to ensure that your kitchen equipment is running at peak performance, minimizing unexpected interruptions for your business.

 

In Protech, we not only offer cleaning services, but also a wide range of remodeling services to give your restaurant a fresh new look, with brand new equipment. Protech Construction professionals can assist with analyzing or assessing different opportunities to make the biggest impact. Factors such as budget, layout, and/or time frame of the project will be considered.

Want to know more about how to make your kitchen equipment last longer? Don’t hesitate to contact us! 

Commercial Construction Trends for Restaurants

Change is a constant in the restaurant industry as business owners continuously look for new trends that yield better responses from the public in terms of popularity and sales. 

This leads to innovative designs such as open kitchen layouts, beverage rooms, separate kitchens, and outdoor dining space that meet the guests’ desire to have a complete, distinctive and appealing experience together with quality food. 

 

Some Design Ideas and Trends on 2022

Coat Check Area

This old custom has turned into a trend once again. Restaurants are able to make their guests feel comfortable and taken care of right from the start by hanging their coats in a room designed specifically for this purpose.

Open Kitchen Layout

Connecting the center of the restaurant (the dining room) to the heart (the kitchen) allows guests to feel part of the preparation process. Visitors can learn about the dishes and interact with the staff as the food is being prepared, which gives a never ending topic of conversation and a source of entertainment during the whole evening. 

Outdoor Dining Space

This trend had been accentuated due to pandemic regulations in the last years, but it stuck because of the great appeal it found among guests. Restaurants also use outdoor spaces as a way to display their unique identity with creative decor. 

Outside Kitchens

This trend goes hand-in-hand with outdoor spaces. Outside kitchens allow staff to work efficiently and serve guests outside while allowing them to have the same source of entertainment open concept kitchens provide indoors. 

Craft Beer or Wine Storage Room

Nowadays, people go to restaurants in search of a new experience. Restaurants that brew their own beverages or allow visitors to go through their wine cellar to select their drink are more attractive.

Private Dining Rooms

Select groups of people enjoy having dinner in private suites that oftentimes have exclusive dinner options and integrated technology into the design.

 

If you are looking for the best and the most reliable company in Houston to help you design and build your kitchen, put your trust in ProTech Restoration. We are an experienced company that has been offering installation, cleaning and maintenance to commercial kitchen owners for 35 years. 

Our 24/7 response team will be happy to help, just contact us!

 

Which Commercial Kitchen Layout is Right for Your Restaurant?

To work at full speed, a commercial kitchen must be designed in a way that compliments both the unique infrastructure of the building and the requirements of the restaurant and the team working there. A layout where efficiency meets safety will improve overall operations of your business while simultaneously allowing the employees to feel comfortable and safe while working. 

While looking at the blank slate of what is soon to be you dream restaurant, take these tips into account and choose the right kitchen layout:

Get the best advice from your cooking team

Trust the most specialized people on your team to select the necessary appliances and design the kitchen layout accordingly, as well as the appropriate position to maximize the work flow. The best design will be the one that allows the team to store, prepare and serve the food more easily and thus, more efficiently. 

Space is an important aspect to consider. The standard ratio for front-of-house to back-of-house is 60 to 40, depending on the dimensions of the dining room, it’s important that you plan for enough space in the kitchen to keep things running smoothly.

A complete, efficient kitchen layout must serve all the basic functions of a kitchen such as:

  1. A loading area: ample parking space to receive fresh ingredients and products.
  2. Storage space: enough to store not only ingredients (pantry for dry goods and commercial fridge for perishables), but to place cooking utensils, plates, glasses, linens etc.
  3. Food preparation areas: the amount of space allotted to these areas will depend on the type of food on the menu, and need to have appropriate counter space and room for cutting, and cooking utensils. Special preparation areas must be conditioned to prepare food for guests with dietary restrictions and allergies, and don’t forget to plan enough space for washing areas.
  4. Cooking: according to the volume and type of food prepared at your restaurant, this area may vary in space and appliances. Nowadays, a cooking station is not complete without a Kitchen Display System, which allows cooks to see upcoming orders and plan ahead to prepare the required dishes. 
  5. Service: an area designed to plate and garnish every dish before it is handed off to servers. 
  6. Cleaning: washing areas, adequate waste disposal and tools and products for the kitchen equipment.

 

Comply with safety regulations

Start your business on the right foot by going over your local health and safety regulations and the necessary licenses and permits to open your restaurant. Violation of these policies can lead to expensive fees. 

If you’re uncertain about this step, it’s always better to seek advice from the experts. ProTech has a team dedicated to demystify your doubts and guide you through all the paperwork.

If you are looking for the best and the most reliable company in Houston to help you design and build your kitchen, put your trust in ProTech Facility Services. We are an experienced company that has been offering installation, cleaning and maintenance to commercial kitchen owners for 35 years. 

Our 24/7 response team will be happy to help, just contact us!

Why customers and kitchen staff will appreciate a well-maintained vent hood

Among all the responsibilities a commercial kitchen entails, it’s easy to overlook the maintenance of the exhaust system. It requires periodic maintenance, but depending on its use, you might not look at it twice in days or even weeks. 

The consequences of dirty indoor air may vary depending on the type of particle that’s being released and can cause a variety of health problems. Preparation of food involves the release of greasy particles in the air along with smoke and vapors. Over a period of time, these particles and vapors settle on the vents, hoods and other parts of the ventilation system. This can lead to unpleasant consequences such as mold growth. While some individuals may not develop any reactions to mold spores, a lot of people experience symptoms ranging from relatively minor allergic responses to severe reactions and health complications that may endanger their life.

Furthermore, this coat of grease that gradually settles over exhaust fans represents a risk of fire that endangers the life of customers and employees and could possibly lead to very expensive material losses. Improper cleaning or cleaning after prolonged intervals can result in the blockage of the vents and hoods. This blockage will then prevent further exhaustion of the fumes released during cooking. The blockage can then lead to kitchen fires that can spread rapidly to other parts of the restaurant. The presence of inflammable materials like cooking oils, gas, furniture and upholstery can trigger and spread the fire very quickly. 

Vent hood cleaning is a necessary part of the overall kitchen hygiene. Whether is performed by your staff, yourself or hired professionals, a frequent, thorough cleaning in accordance with the National Fire Protection Association specifications is mandatory for numerous reasons, some of which are:

  • Neglecting the kitchen’s maintenance may incur penalties and expensive fines. It’s not only risky for your employees and guests but can also cause your license to be suspended.
  • The buildup grease in vent hoods and exhaust systems is a fire hazard. Grease fires endanger the life of staff and clients as well as cause material losses that can be very expensive.
  • Having a clean kitchen helps you save money. If avoiding fines and potential closures isn’t enough, keeping the exhaust systems clean also increases the lifespan of its components and saves you from buying costly replacements or making long-term repairs.
  • Letting the grease build up can lead to blockages and damage to components.

Regular cleaning is essential to ensure that there is no grease buildup in the vents and hoods of the kitchen ventilation system. Check out ProTech Vent Hood Cleaning services. We have over 35 years of experience in the field. Our experts will take care of all the exhaust systems with impeccable results. Our 24/7 response team will be happy to help, just contact us.

Commercial Construction Classifications: What else do I need to know?

Commercial Construction projects can fall under many classifications: 

  • According to the construction materials used, they can be classified from type V to type I. 
  • According to its final purpose, they can fall under medical buildings, restaurants, lodging facilities, athletic buildings, among many others. 
  • A more ample classification divides construction projects in general in three categories: private construction, state construction and federal construction
  • According to the scale of the project, it can be divided into small, medium or large scale. 

Defining your desired project in the planning stage according to all these classifications is necessary to be able to plan your budget.

After finalizing these decisions, it’s time for your contractor team to get the job done, but different projects call for different construction types that your contractor team must work around:

Renovations

Renovations are often the least demanding type of construction. Also called ‘retrofitting’, these projects involve an existing structure that must be improved. These upgrades can be aesthetic only, for example, when owners are looking to modernize their existing brand image. On the other hand, some renovations are for practical purposes – for instance, installing more efficient appliances, materials or technology. Lastly, a renovation might adapt a commercial construction to certain needs, such as making a store become more eco-friendly.

Build-Out projects

The most common examples are stores in a shopping mall, where the construction project is designed to fit a pre-existing space, usually rental or leased. In these cases, the space must be conditioned to fit the new tenant’s business needs. Depending on the project, a landlord might even contribute financially to the build-out. Learn more about these ones here.

Expansion

The need for an expansion surges when a business wants to retain its location but it’s in need of larger facilities to operate in. It’s commonly the case of growing, successful businesses that wish to upgrade their stores with the least amount of disruption to their day-to-day operations.

New commercial construction

This project starts from a blank sheet. This is a challenge that will require the entire design and construction of a building to start from scratch, limited only by your design and the size of your budget.

The type of commercial construction you have in mind and your budget will determine the whole scope of the project. What can never be up for discussion is hiring a responsible, experienced contractor team in Houston, Texas, like ProTech to bring that project to reality. 

Call us now to schedule an appointment!

Remodeling your Restaurant: An Opportunity to Grow

Food is only part of the reason why customers choose to go to a restaurant. An experience that combines pleasant aesthetics and ambiance with delicious food and top-quality service is what attracts more customers to any establishment. 

The looks of your place are fundamental to remain a leader in the restaurant business, and as all entrepreneurs know, staying relevant is the primary concern. Keeping your restaurant up to date and maintained with the latest trends in design and appliances yields many advantages that make the investment dramatically worth it. 

For example, remodeling can offer our clients a cost-saving solution to increase sales, and a reopening will always bring excitement among communities, catching the eye of new customers or renewing the interest of old ones. In many cases, this is more effective in achieving an increase in sales than just advertising. Furthermore, uplifting the employees’ morale with new exciting features and a bright, shiny, new working environment is another way in which restaurants increase their income and consolidate their internal culture and operations.

Brand recognition is a decisive part in many remodeling projects. The appearance of your store – both interior and exterior design – leave a lasting impression on all customers and allows them to recognize your brand among the crowd. Aligning the overall design of your business with your main objectives as a company is another important point to consider: using the right design to associate your brand with feelings of positivity, happiness, warmth or even hunger may boost your operations and attract more customers.

On the other hand, the appearance of a restaurant can also have a direct impact on the way your service is perceived. Worn-out surroundings, for instance, may have a negative impact on customers by associating it with low-quality food or lack of hygiene. 

By choosing to remodel, clients can custom-tailor their improvements without paying the costs of a full-blown construction project, including specific areas that need renovating, or excluding areas that don’t. When the remodel is complete, the overall look will tie in seamlessly.

Not only restaurants, but all kinds of businesses may benefit from remodeling, such as:

  • Grocery & retail stores
  • Restaurants
  • Apartments 
  • Hotels & lodging
  • Office buildings

Covering the specific needs of each type of business to boost their operations and increase their income is our specialty.

ProTech Construction professionals can assist with analyzing and assessing different opportunities to make the biggest impact for your business. Factors such as budget, layout, and time frame of the project will be considered. Thereafter, a remodeling schedule is proposed to ensure minimal interference with your operations. ProTech construction professionals will then execute the construction plan with an emphasis on craftsmanship and quality.

There is no substitute for experience. 

Contact us to find out more here.

Choosing the Right Restaurant Kitchen Ventilation System

If you are a commercial kitchen or restaurant owner, you know that keeping the ventilation system in perfect condition is not only mandatory for safety regulations but also in the best interest of your guests and employees’ health.

This involves frequent and thorough cleaning to avoid grease-clogging to ducts and fans that can later become a fire hazard. However, maintenance is not the only thing to take into account. Investing in a high-quality system – with the right type and a number of filters and proper installation carried by professionals – are the very first steps to ensure a safe and healthy working environment. This means better conditions for your employees which means better quality service for your customers, and overall a lot less investment in repairments and maintenance in the future. 

Commercial Kitchen Ventilation

A commercial kitchen’s ventilation system is a lot more than just a couple of exhaust fans. Every installation is tailored to suit the building’s dimensions and limitations, and the restaurant’s needs. 

The commercial kitchen ventilation system mainly comprises an exhaust hood, ductwork, exhaust fans and make-up air system. It is essential that all of these elements work effectively together to ensure safe exhaustion of fumes and smoke, and to allow a flow of fresh air.

Exhaust System Proper Installation

While the choice of the right ventilation system is essential, a lot can go wrong during the installation. A poorly installed ventilation system has the risk of malfunctioning, causing damage to the system’s components (leading to higher costs), clogging issues and fire hazards. That’s why it’s always advisable to leave it to a specialized company that works with:

  • Adequate equipment
  • Knowledgeable technicians
  • Appropriate techniques and protocols
  • Access to spare parts and other materials if required

Maintaining the durability and longevity of the fans depends on proper maintenance and application of adequate techniques. One of ProTech’s preferred techniques is the installation of exhaust fan hinges that allow the fan to be opened for effortless cleaning.

With this technique, there’s no damage to the system’s components during removal. Without the hinges, the fans have to be removed physically, which can lead to damages in the brackets or wall infrastructure, off-balancing of the blades and snapping of the conduits and wires of the fan.

Many factors should be taken into consideration to make the right choice. A few of the most relevant being:

  • Size of your commercial kitchen
  • Frequency of meal preparation
  • Volume of food prepared

 

Our skilled and experienced technicians work on all aspects of kitchen vent installation and ensure that the right size and right type of exhaust fans and hoods are used. Throughout the ventilation system installation procedure, we keep a very close eye on the details so that all components are taken care of well. Rely on ProTech Restoration to deliver the best results at reasonable prices in Houston, Texas. Contact us now!

8 reasons why vent hoods are beneficial for your business

Commercial kitchens often work with large volumes of food being prepared every day. That means lots of grease particles, smoke and fumes end up sticking to surfaces like walls, appliances and even on your own employees (affecting their health) if a ventilation system is not working appropriately. While having a vent hood at home is more of a choice, having one at your restaurant is a necessity.


Here is a list of reasons why vent hoods are beneficial for your business

1. Removes heat from the kitchen

While absorbing grease particles and smoke, a vent hood also pulls the hot air from the stove to outside the kitchen creating a much more comfortable temperature to work in for your employees. This, in turn, will allow them to work more efficiently since hot working conditions can be very fatigue-inducing. 

2. They enhance airflow and improve air quality

A vent hood keeps potentially toxic substances out of your lungs, and odors out of your kitchen. It also helps circulate the air in often the busiest room in the building, resulting in better air quality for your workers.  

3. They reduce the risk of kitchen fires

Your restaurant vent hood has a constant supply of dirty, greasy air flowing through it during all hours the kitchen is in operation. This can result in a build-up of grease which can drip onto surfaces creating a risk for hazardous outcomes such as a kitchen fire. 

4. They improve the kitchen’s hygiene

The use of an exhaust system prevents grease fumes from coating surfaces like ceilings, countertops, appliances and cabinets, which provide the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. By preventing this from happening, not only does the cleanliness of the kitchen improve, but cleaning up becomes quicker and easier. 

5. They can save money

Following NFPA 96 regulations is mandatory for any restaurant to run and having strict hygiene protocols is necessary to pass health inspections. Avoiding possible fines and closures is even more of a reason to keep your vent hood in perfect condition.

6. They provide additional lighting

Another point for effective work conditions – the lighting directly over the stove allows cooks to carefully monitor the progress of their dish and accurately tell when it is ready. Ensuring that employees have ideal conditions to work is imperative to having a restaurant running at its full capacity.

7. They add to the kitchen aesthetic

The most functional room in the building must be equally practical and visually pleasing. A well-maintained and well-designed kitchen enhances the employee’s experience and motivation to work, which more often than not, has a vent hood as the most notable decorative appliance.

8. They increase the kitchen value

A vent hood is always overlooked but it’s actually a very important element of the kitchen. It comprises the filtration system requiring ductwork of vast structural customization. Like all appliances, a high-quality and efficient vent hood increases the value of the building.

Keep your equipment safe and sound and your restaurant kitchen working in the most efficient way, install your exhaust hood system with ProTech Restoration in Houston, Texas.

If you are looking for the best and the most reliable company in Houston to guide you in choosing the perfect ventilation system, put your trust in ProTech Facility Solutions. We are an experienced company that has been offering installation, cleaning and pressure washing services to commercial kitchen owners across the state of Texas for 35 years now. We will perform a tailored installation of your new vent hood and take care of its maintenance including kitchen exhaust fan cleaning, click here to learn about our vent hood cleaning service. Contact us now.

 

Broken appliance: repair vs replace

Managing your own business implies always looking for the best appliances to work with and the best products to offer your clients while never disregarding your own costs and expenses. The question often rises when an appliance breaks down: “should I repair it or buy a new one?

It’s intuitive to think that repairing a broken product is less expensive than buying a new one, which is true in many cases. Buying new equipment is a greater investment, but sometimes repairing a product is not the best way to save money, especially if you’re facing frequent breakdowns that also affect your productivity, schedules and final income. 

Decisions that have a direct impact on your productivity are sensitive and a lot of factors must be taken into consideration before proceeding:

  • If you buy new equipment: consider purchasing and maintenance costs, service life, future repair costs, increase in revenue, operating costs, installation and disposal costs, training costs (if the acquired equipment is new to your employees).
  • If you choose to repair your equipment: consider market value, remaining service life, repairing costs and frequency, equipment age, current performance
  • Safety and health costs: newer equipment often provides a safer environment for employees because they meet safety standards more tightly.
  • Environmental costs. 
  • Downtime: how much time is it going to take to make repairs vs. replacing? Repairing can take less time than replacing because you don’t have to worry about arriving time, installation, new training and disposal of your previous equipment, but if repairs happen frequently, you may find you lost more working hours and profit than you should have.

Through many years of on-the-job training, ProTech Facility Service Technicians have acquired the ability to quickly compute cost-benefit analysis of different options, and help you to choose the most cost-effective solution. For example, technicians may decide that replacing an entire assembly may be more cost-effective than searching for a replacement part due to travel and labor hours involved. 

If the best fit solution can be completed under the NTE (Not To Exceed), the repairs will be completed in a timely, professional manner. If the repairs could potentially exceed the NTE, the best viable options are communicated clearly to the FSM where the most informed decision could be made. 

It is easy for any technician to recognize the most extensive, by-the-book repair solution to any given problem. However, it does not always equate to the best fit option for all situations. There are many different factors that can change what is considered the right decision. Does your solution fit within the maintenance program budget? How much time will it take to complete the repairs? What are the effects on operations or guests? Are there less invasive options that provide similar results? Is the facility due for a capital project or refresh in the near future?   

By helping clients answer these fundamental questions, the best viable solution will emerge. Once the solution has been determined, technicians will ensure that the work is completed with an invisible footprint on operations & guests. Services can be performed during the day or night, depending on the needs of the client. 

Call ProTech Facility Solutions for an appointment and get the help you need from the best technicians across the state of Texas. We have a 24hs emergency service!