6 Real-Life Examples of Major Food Service Equipment Irregularities (And How to Fix Them)
Date Posted: September 26, 2018
With today’s smart technology, we have more insight into our lives than ever before.
Now, by simply using our smartphones or tablets, we can immediately calculate many steps we take in a day, set the temperature in our homes, and monitor our pets’ food consumption anywhere we have internet access.
This also applies to the food service industry.
In the past, restaurants, catering companies, and cold chain logistics firms didn’t have as much line of sight into the state of their freezers, coolers, and refrigerators – and consequently, their perishable assets – as they do now.
It used to be that people wouldn’t know they had a problem until it was too late.
But with today’s asset monitoring technology, you can monitor your equipment in real-time to catch issues before they turn into catastrophes.
When it comes to major food service equipment irregularities, there are a few the Hitachi HiQ eSystems team and our clients have discovered that have proven to be common ones throughout our industry.
It’s very possible that some of these issues may have happened to you before, or could happen in the future.
Check out eight real-life examples of the irregularities that our customers’ equipment experienced to see what might happen to you in the future (and how you can fix it!).
1) Cheese and Bacon Cooler Equipment Failure
A Top 100 restaurant installed one of the HiQ eSystems in their equipment. Over a 30-day period, the restaurant manager discovered that their cheese and bacon cooler was experiencing an equipment failure.
With our asset management system, the restaurant was alerted to the fact that their temperature levels were off before their assets were damaged. They speedily moved the inventory into a different cooler, saving several hundred dollars.
2) Salad Prep Cooler Equipment Failure
Over a five-day period in May 2017, the HiQ eSystems system caught another equipment failure just in time to prevent a top 100 restaurant’s assets from perishing. This time, the restaurant discovered that their salad prep cooler had equipment irregularities.
Once the restaurant knew their salad prep cooler wasn’t working correctly, they moved the inventory into a different cooler. They were able to save their assets and ensure their inventory met food safety requirements.
3) Door Not Properly Closed
Besides equipment failures, some of the most common equipment irregularities stem from simple human error. Even something as seemingly innocent as not properly closing a walk-in freezer door can have disastrous consequences.
On one day in June 2017, another top 100 restaurant was notified by HiQ eSystems that their walk-in freezer’s temperature had gone up steeply in a short amount of time. The jump in temperature by nearly 20 degrees, it turned out, was caused by an employee not properly closing the freezer door.
The moment the restaurant caught this irregularity, they were able to alert their staff to close the freezer door before any issues occurred.
4) Cooler Compressor Failure
When a cooler compressor fails, the temperature can skyrocket to temperatures that can cause serious facility damage. But with automated food temperature monitoring systems, you can catch a problem before it escalates.
“The Hitachi eSystems actually helped prevent a kitchen fire in our building,” said Kris Davis, the director of business resources at Sysco Colombia.
On January 30, 2018, the compressor in a sandwich prep cooler at Sysco Columbia Culinary Center started to fail.
“The chef had left for the day, and the Hitachi app alerted him to a cooler on the line that had suddenly gotten warm,” Davis states. “By the time he turned around and came back to Sysco, the cooler was smoking. He was able to unplug it before we had a real disaster!”
5) TMS Tracking/Hot Pad (Too High)
While monitoring their TMS, a major restaurant chain was quickly alerted to the fact that their TMS was too high by their HiQ eSystems sensors.
The temperature sharply increased over six hours. After being notified, the restaurant sent their TMS hot pad off to get repaired.
By catching this issue in such a timely fashion, the restaurant protected the health of their employees and saved an estimated $500 on their TMS.
6) Freezer Compressor Failure
Restaurants and catering companies aren’t the only industries that use freezers and other food service equipment. Many religious institutions and facilities have kitchens, freezers, and refrigerators where they keep hundreds of dollars’ worth of assets.
The problem is that unlike food service industry companies, their freezers, refrigerators, and coolers aren’t used or monitored on a regular basis. That’s where having a remote monitoring system can come in handy.
On October 12, 2017, Lee Robinson, the facility director of Prince Avenue Baptist Church (Bogart, Georgia), received a text message and an automated phone call from Hitachi’s remote monitoring system notifying him that the walk-in freezer at the church was over 25 degrees for over 30 minutes.
“Since there was no activity in the kitchen that day, I went and investigated and found that indeed, it was not running,” Robinson said. “I immediately called for service, and the monitoring company found that the condensing fan motor was bad on the roof, and the system was not running.”
“The unit was repaired, and he got it up and running before we had any loss of inventory,” he continued. “I have no doubt that had the system not alerted us, we would have lost the entire contents of the freezer over the weekend.”
Equipment failure, compressor failure, sudden drops or increases in temperature, freezer doors not being closed properly – these are just some of many issues that plague restaurants, catering companies, and religious facilities.
You can’t always prevent them from happening, but with tools and asset monitoring systems, you can take a proactive response to asset management and food safety to protect your assets, your brand, and most importantly, your customers and staff.