When you first open your restaurant, you will, of course, want to stock your kitchen with the best equipment you can. Not only will this make the process easier, but it will also make the kitchen more efficient and cost-effective. However, when you and your kitchen staff first start using the new equipment, it is important to not only know how to use it to its fullest but also how to maintain it. When it comes to your kitchen, do you take catering equipment training seriously? Here are some of the reasons why you should.
A New Business
If you are starting a new catering business, then there are many things you need to think about. While you need to make sure that you are ready for the opening and ensuring everything runs smoothly, there is no room for missing something that might be vital later.
The kitchen area is the heart of any good restaurant, and it needs to be in the best condition to work effectively. As well as all the food safety requirements that need to be met, there are also areas like maintenance and training that are equally important.
That is why this is the perfect time to set standards that can be maintained. This includes comprehensive training on all the equipment in the kitchen including a cleaning and maintenance schedule.
Take Advantage of Instructions
New pieces of equipment will come with instructions or a manual on how they are to be used. These are designed not only to show you how they work but also to ensure the equipment works to its optimum level. While you and your staff may think they know how it works, there may be features you are unaware of that could save you time and money.
If you are inheriting an existing kitchen and there are no instructions relating to a piece of equipment, then it is a good idea to search online to see if you can find a copy. You can also approach the manufacturer and see if they have a copy they can send you.
Training New Staff
Commercial kitchens can have a high turnover of staff, which can make training difficult. You might feel that it is a waste of time training people who may then leave after a few months, but this can be a mistake.
All of your staff need to be fully trained to keep the kitchen working effectively, and that includes how to use the equipment. If this level of training starts to drop, then you may find your preparation times getting longer and your energy costs rising as a result.
As well as training new staff, you also need to ensure all existing staff take refresher courses.
Modern equipment will often have software that may be updated with new functions that your staff will need to know.
Devoting Training Time
While it might seem like a good idea to train staff on the job, this can cause problems. Trying to teach someone to use a piece of equipment during opening hours will slow down the preparation time and the member of staff may be too stressed to learn effectively.
Another issue is that there may never be an opportunity to show them a particular function during opening times. This means if they need to use that function in the future, there might not be anyone around to show them.
All new pieces of equipment will come with a manufacturers warranty. This warranty will have specific details regarding what it does and does not cover.
In most cases, the warranty will only be valid if the appliance is used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. However, if it can be shown that it was used incorrectly because of a lack of training, then any claim will be invalid.
The same may also be true of any insurance that you have taken out on the appliance, so it is always best to ensure the training is comprehensive.
Food safety legislation and guidelines around food hygiene for businesses are quite specific about the way food should be stored and prepared. This legislation prevents not only the contamination of food but also seeks to ensure the food is prepared and cooked properly to prevent illness.
Part of this process is the way your staff use the equipment in the kitchen. They need to know that the food will reach the right temperature for the required amount of time so that any bacteria is killed. If they have not had sufficient training, then this process may not be completed correctly.
Another part of the food safety process is effective cleaning routines. Staff must know how to take apart and clean all the equipment correctly to prevent bacteria from growing and oils and fats from collecting.
When it comes to ensuring your staff are trained correctly, there are many avenues open to you. Which ones you choose will depend on the type of machine and whether it is available.
Some manufacturers such as Unox and Rational who specialise in combination ovens, offer on-site training as part of the set-up process. This training is ideal because they will be able to visit your location and show how to use the equipment actually in your kitchen setting, with functions specific to those your staff will need. Plus, all of your staff can attend training at the same time. This means you won’t have to send your staff away on a training day that may impact on the operation of your business.
In some cases, you may find that there are instructional videos online that can help you train your staff. These may be created by the manufacturer, or they could be created by other companies that sell the equipment. They can be great source of knowledge when you need answers quickly.
In some cases, it may be necessary to send your staff to a college or private course company to learn how to use the equipment and maintain it. In this situation, you may want to send one member of staff and have them cascade the training to the rest of your workers. It is important, however, to allow sufficient time for all staff using the equipment to be trained.
With effective training along with appropriate cleaning and maintenance, your kitchen appliances should have a long service life and ensure that you get the most from your investment. This will make them more efficient during use and in the long-term, increase your profits.