Opinion: Getting into the recovery position

Steve Hobbs of Grande Cuisine crop
Steve Hobbs reports that Grande Cuisine is preparing for service calls when foodservice sites reopen.

Grande Cuisine MD Steve Hobbs continues his lockdown diary:

So, having previously talked about the importance of correctly decommissioning a kitchen prior to a prolonged period of downtime it’s time to look at what needs to be done by those operators who are thinking of re-opening in the weeks ahead, in order to bring them back to life again – hopefully ahead of a further easing of lockdown and a return to some form of new normal for the hospitality sector.

Kitchens serving the public sector have remained open in order to keep our fantastic key workers fed and watered throughout the crisis, and what a great job they have all done, but apart from these operators, and those who have kept their kitchens open as they adapted their offer to include a takeaway or dine out service, the majority of the hospitality sector has been closed with equipment laying idle pending a re-start.

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When restarting any operation it is essential to have a phased plan in place to ensure that the business is up and running as quickly and efficiently as possible, and this must include the kitchen equipment – don’t think that you can just walk back in, turn all the equipment on and expect it to be working just as it was when you last used it. In fact, the recommissioning process should start well before you turn a knob or flick a switch.

Think about any deep cleaning that could be done whilst the kitchen is empty and unused and the equipment readily accessible, think about ‘airing’ the kitchen for a few days, and think about booking a service engineer now – for a date that is probably going to be 2 or 3 weeks down the line and just prior to you re-opening – don’t leave it until the last minute.

Even before this prolonged period of shutdown we knew that catering equipment engineers were in short supply and we anticipate that the demand for their services is likely to be unprecedented once kitchens start to re-open. In fact, we are expecting that every other service call we receive will be a last-minute panic along the lines of ‘how quickly can you get an engineer out to repair my fridge/cooker/dishwasher?’

At Grande Cuisine we are already preparing for a scenario where we go from very little service work to being inundated, literally overnight. Which is why we are pro-actively talking to our clients about forward booking servicing dates that will make sure key pieces of equipment are operational and ready to go before the site re-opens.

As I was taught as boy scout all those years ago – be prepared!

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Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls

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