Rational has detailed its servicing demand has grown in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, due to some operators choosing to delay cleaning in order to save money.
Trevor Lath, national service director of Rational UK, said: “We are already seeing an increase in service call-outs arising from this. It’s a problem that will be affecting all combi steamer brands.”
Typically combi steamers should be cleaned every day as part of the kitchen routine. Most machines have self-cleaning programs to make the process easier. On Rational’s new iCombi Pro the iCareSystem tells operators when they need to run the programme to clean the combi, so it is designed to minimise the use of chemicals, as it only asks for a clean when it’s necessary.
The iCareSystem also deals with scale, so there’s no need for a separate water treatment system, or for professional descaling. “The problem is that some operators are ignoring the iCareSystem’s alerts, on the assumption that delaying a clean and descale will save them money and won’t really do any harm,” said Lath. “This is not the case.”
Rational says that deferring cleaning routines will lead to the build-up of dirt and scale, which may compromise cooking results, increase energy consumption and running costs, and ultimately lead to equipment breakdown. If a descale becomes necessary it could cost hundreds of pounds.
Lath explained: “At the very least, you’re looking at unwanted costs and unwanted downtime. Worst case scenario, you could block drains, flood the kitchen and damage the appliance permanently.”
By making the equipment unsafe, not cleaning the combi may even compromise HACCP. “The answer is simple,” says Lath. “Follow the machine’s alerts, or the manufacturer’s guidelines, and run the cleaning program when it’s required.”
HACCP data available from the iCombi Pro combi steamer and via Rational’s ConnectedCooking platform should give the operator a summary of the combi steamer’s daily operation, including the number of cleaning programs that have been run during a specified period.