3 Ways to Avoid Commercial Kitchen Chemical Hazards

July 30th, 2015 by Amanda | No Comments »

In a commercial kitchen, it is always very important to keep employees and staff members informed about possible hazards and their causes at the workplace.
This is because a hazard can occur at anytime, and the reason behind it could be negligence of warning signs. In order to prevent hazards in commercial kitchens, training should be given from day one.
By sharing plans, information, and processes with consistency, a transparent environment will be established from the very first day at work. That transparency will help employees seek the aid of one another, and it will help them have a better understanding of what to do in a certain situation.
To avoid chemical hazards in a commercial kitchen, a hazard communication program should be carried out. This program includes training in which all employees are familiarized with chemicals. This includes the chemicals which are used, ordered, or currently present in the kitchen. They are also taught how to maintain a safe distance, and if needed, how to evacuate the premise. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has provided standards for food serving operations in order to develop a preventive program. There are three parts to this program:
1. Written Hazard Communication
Although it may not be needed, it is always wise to write labels in bold fonts and highlight them so that they are easy to see. This includes signs, warnings, stickers, or any such label which will tell the next person that there are chemicals in this container so you must be very careful.
All chemicals should be properly labeled, spelling should be accurate, and all employees must know which chemical is used for what. Charts and posters can be hanged up on walls with pictures to make things for easier.
The following chemical types fall under hazardous and must not be taken lightly:
• Agents causing temporary or permanent damage to the lungs, eyes, skin, or membrane (mucous)
• Corrosives
• Neurotoxins
• Irritants
• Carcinogens
• Toxic Agents
• Reproductive Toxins
2. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)
For every hazardous chemical which is present in the premise, there must be MSDS. When the chemicals are ordered, the sheet will be provided by the supplier which contains the following information:
• The manufacturer’s name
• The exposure limit
• The common and chemical terms of the substance
• Primary means of entry (inhalation)
• Precautions for safe handling (regarding storage, use, and disposal)
• Physical hazards (such as combustibility)
• Physical and chemical characteristics of the hazardous ingredients (odor, appearance, pressure)
• Health hazards
• First aid and emergency procedures
• Date the MSDS was prepared
• Contact information for the chemical manufacturer
MSDS are not needed for the following:
• Articles (plastic chairs)
• Drugs (solid form)
• Personal food
• Retail food, alcohol, and cosmetics
• Tobacco products
• Used consumer products (pencils)
• Wood or wooden products (excluding saw dust)
3. Employee Training
All employees must be familiar with all the chemicals, their side effects, purpose, etc. They must also know how to use MSDS in a tensed situation and read the information provided on it. They must also be able to identify the different chemicals, and point out according to their warning sign and labels which is which. Lastly, proper and detailed demonstrations must be done in workshops to brief the employees on how to manage these situations professionally.

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Investing in Green Appliances for your Commercial Kitchen

July 23rd, 2015 by Tim | No Comments »

Commercial kitchens use up a lot of energy. In fact, the food service sector spends up to $10 million only on energy bills. But, because of inefficient equipment, 75%-80% of it goes to waste as it is consumed for no purpose at all.
Changes, such as using green appliances, help save important resources like energy and water, while proving to be beneficial for the business. This situation can be described in a simple phrase, “Think about tomorrow before you buy today.”
Most appliances found in a commercial kitchen have a life expectancy of somewhere between 10-15 years. Along this time frame, its energy consumption, amount of efficiency, and output vary due to many different factors.
Savings on utility bills are shown in a simple chart right below. Based off results, it can be established that energy efficient appliances save up to 25-27% in overall utility savings.

Equipment Type Standard Equipment Energy-Efficient Equipment Amount of $ Saved (annually)
Reach-in Refrigerator $200.00 $97.00 $113.00
Reach in-Freezer $34.00 $25.00 $9.00
Steamer $1,169.00 $806.00 $363.00
Toaster $406.00 $182.00 $224.00
Fryer (gas) $767.00 $438.00 $329.00
Convection Oven (gas) $325.00 $163.00 $162.00
Water Heater $3,539.00 $22,882 $657.00
Ice Machine $7,657.00 $6,425.00 $1,232.00

As seen, it is very easy to save a lot of money through energy efficient equipment. In this case, it added up to a little over $3,000. This money can now be utilized towards other needs and resources.
These are results from just eight appliances. Just think about how much you would save when all appliances are energy-efficient.
But results wouldn’t just come in. It is very important that all employees are given training in how to use these appliances. Asides employee training, it is important that proper maintenance is adhered to.
Tax Breaks
Tax can be a huge pain, but, if you decide to settle on something like an appliance which is saving you more than it is costs, then your pain can be somewhat eased. Under the act of 2005 Energy Policy, those who installed energy saving appliances get extra credit on their taxes.
Healthier Environment
Greener appliances can make a huge difference to the health of your staff, the hygiene of the food, and to the health of your customers too. Since these energy saving appliances do not consume a lot of resources, their impact is less harmful. They produce less carbon dioxide, harmful gasses, and chemicals.
Durability Guaranteed
Since these appliances are green, the materials which have been used in their making are lighter, and more cost effective. They are of better material, with high quality. They last longer than standard appliances which aren’t as durable.
Go green and you can save a lot more than you had expected.

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Tips to Manage Fats, Oils, and Grease in your New Kitchen

July 16th, 2015 by wp | No Comments »

According to researchers, commercial kitchens in US restaurants utilize an estimated 25 billion gallons of cooking oil every single week! What’s left over is a combination of fats, oil, and grease (FOGs) which are dumped in to lines, pipes, sewages, even our water systems. This causes clogs, massive blockages, and leads to overflows which are extremely unhygienic.
Caused overflows not only cause health concerns, they also cause environmental damage. However, with proper management and care, you can easily minimize your expenses and the amount of pollution caused.
Clogs and trouble due to FOG causes concern in four departments work, health, water, and environment. The bursting of pipes can cause severe damage to other pipes underground. It costs a lot of money to replace the pipes.
Minimize Production of FOG
There are precautions and necessary steps which you can take in order to reduce the amount of FOG produced every week. This can be done in three ways:
• Reusing Clean Oil – Oil does not have to be thrown away right away from the skillet. If the oil is clear, with no extra sediments, and no smell, it is reusable.
• Baking Instead of Frying – As compared to fried food, baked food is much healthier, and produces less amount of oil waste. Not just that, baking is energy and cost effective when compared to frying.
• Preventing Spills – Spilt fats and oil can cause problems, someone can fall and hurt themselves and the spill can escape in to the lines and pipes. Ask all staff members to be careful when they are going about their work.
Proper Disposal of FOG
Now that you know how to minimize the production of FOG, it is time to know how to dispose of it properly as well. There are seven different ways in which you can dispose the substance, they are:
• Reuse and Recycle – There are grease handlers who recycle and reuse grease and oil instead of throwing it away. In fact, grease which is of yellow color can be sold for a profit.
• Grease Traps Cleaning – If there are drains or any platforms on which oil or grease fall on, they should be connected to a grease trap or grease separation device. In order for the trap to work efficiently, it should be cleaned weekly so that it does not overflow and lose its efficiency. You can, if you want, sign a contract with a grease handler to take care of the cleaning for you.
• Dry Clean – Using water to clean grease will make it go down the drainage, instead, use food grape paper to help with the grease.
• Properly Dispose of Scrape – A rubber scraper can be really helpful in removing food scraps from dishes before they are placed in the sink to avoid any FOG from being able to pass the grease trap.
• Awareness – Hang signs, pictures, or posters above drains which do not have a grease trap.
• No Garbage Disposal for Grease – Remember, you should never get rid of fatty food or oil through garbage disposals, even if a grease trap is present.

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Safety Tips for Commercial Kitchen Employees

July 9th, 2015 by Tim | No Comments »

Working in a commercial kitchen means handling knives, being exposed to high temperatures, and working with many electrical appliances. Although it’s not likely, but there are always chances are that someone may get hurt or injured.
Even in a professional commercial kitchen, there are chances of accidents, injuries, and burns. This is why it is always best to be safe than sorry. Here are some safety tips for commercial kitchen employees:
Always be prepared for Emergencies
In a world full of knives, flames, and spices, it is always wise to implement emergency plans for natural disasters, fires, accidents, injuries, and all possible situations. The plan should be shared with all employees, old and new, and should be posted on the walls so that all employees can see it.
Furthermore, emergency exits must be easy to find and reach. There should be at least one fire extinguisher on each wall, working sprinklers, first aid kits, and a proper protocol to keep the situation under control.
Handling Chemicals in a Kitchen with Care
Though chefs may not have any interactions with chemicals, the rest of the staff may. Many cleaning agents found in households and commercially, contain high levels of chemicals which are quite volatile. If those chemicals were to be used in a commercial kitchen near flames or in an unsuited temperature, an explosion can occur.
In order to make sure something of this sort does not happen, make sure the staff buys cleaning material made especially for commercial kitchens. While they do so, they must also keep an eye out on the labels upon the bottles for their own wellbeing.
Practice Proper Lifting Techniques
Often, your kitchen staff will have to lift and shift many boxes from here and there. These boxes can be as light as a feather to as heavy as an elephant. In order to avoid strains and sprains caused by heavy lifting and usage of bad posture, proper training should be conducted. Make sure that all employees know the right methods of lifting and placing before they are given the task. This is highly important as they can suffer from serious injuries if they are not careful enough.
Minimizing Body Aches
Standing for hours, running from here to there and dealing with customers can be very stressful and tiring. Many employees get strains, sprains, and body (head) aches from working long shifts while being on their feet for long hours. In order to avoid such a situation, fatigue mats should be used. Not only that, employees should get a 15-minute break every now and then to rest up. They should be forced to have a drink of water, and regain their energy before they start again.
Using Sharp-edged appliances with Caution
Using appliances like knives, machines, dealing with broken glass every day, significantly increase the likelihood of sustaining an injury. In order to avoid such a situation it is best to use safety gear like cut resistant gloves to protect the employee.
Which safety precautions are used in your commercial kitchen?

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Why Choose Green Cleaning for your Commercial Kitchen?

July 2nd, 2015 by Tim | No Comments »

Everyone wants to be able to save money, resources, and the environment – after all, Earth is our home. Today, almost all commercial kitchens are doing everything possible in order to save.
Green kitchens result in healthier customers, increase in employee productivity, reduction in liability, and there are many other benefits associated with going green.
Protection from Diseases and Conditions
It is hard to believe, but, the products which you use to kill germs and bacteria to keep your commercial kitchen clean are actually killing you. The products contain hard chemicals which pollute the indoor air to at least 2-5 times more as compared to the air outside of the restaurant.
That’s not all, according to The World Health Organization (WHO), 30% of buildings and restaurants face problems with indoor pollution. Another study by WHO states that almost 80% of cancer causing chemicals and toxins are found in the solutions which are used to clean kitchens.
1/3 of such products have chemicals which hurt our health. They even contain chemicals which release toxins at dangerous levels. The toxic vapors which are released can cause several diseases and conditions like:
• Fatigue
• Nausea
• Headaches
• Burns caused by chemicals
• Eye(s) irritation
• Skin irritation
More Benefits
There are several more benefits as to having a cleaner and greener commercial kitchen, like you pay less and get the same results, or even better. Additionally, green products do not have a negative impact on the environment.
To be able to clean perfectly, you can choose several methods for green cleaning. You can even make your very own products as well. Try to avoid single use of items. For example, go for a cleaning cloth which can be recycled or is reusable, like a sponge. Prefer microfiber, unlike normal cleaning rags, these have less chemical usage and they consume a lower amount of water, while giving the same result. Microfiber rags have been designed especially for picking up nasty bacteria even in hard to reach places. By using such materials, and rags, you save water, a resource which can be utilized. The same goes for energy like electricity, instead of being wasted, it is preserved, stored, and used when it is most needed.
If you are unsure of which products are the best, you can always buy certified products. These products are made from environmentally-friendly chemicals and are extracted from minerals and plants. This makes them toxic-free, as well as biodegradable. Such products have been made with a combination of fragrances, wetting agents, emulsifiers, and surfactants. These allow the product to remain chemically balanced without causing any harm to the environment.
All in all, green products are very helpful in a commercial kitchen, as the owner, you may be looking for methods to improve employee productivity along with customer satisfaction. By using these products, your employees and customers benefit, so do you.

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Getting Maximum Efficiency from Fryers

June 25th, 2015 by Tim | No Comments »

Your fryers can actually be more efficient than you might think. To use appliances to their full efficiency, you must work smart, not hard. This will not just save you energy, time, and money. It will also result in your appliance lasting longer.
Be Smart
There are many energy smart solutions which are applicable on appliances like your commercial fryer.
As a commercial kitchen owner, you know that fryers are on for almost 75% of the day. By cutting back during idle hours, you can save up to $250 annually on gas bills. You also save up to $350 annually on your electric bill.
Remember to always check and adjust the thermostats if needed. With time, thermostats become inaccurate. This can cause a lot of problems. As a result, the oil becomes either too hot or too cold. Customers will not be happy because the food will be negatively affected because of hot or cold temperatures.
Turn off unneeded and unwanted fryers when there are fewer amounts of customers in the restaurant. A fryer that’s unnecessary on will only cause you to burn more gas, use more electricity, and waste resources. Remember, a fryer can only take so much at one time, so never overload it. This is because it has a certain capacity. If you do overload it, then the food might come out undercooked.
Maintaining your Fryer’s Efficiency
In order to maintain your fryer’s efficiency, you can apply the following tactics:
• Check and maintain oil temperatures – Most fryers have a built in temperature gauges. They help the individual in charge to constantly check and maintain the temperature. To double check, it is recommended that you get a second thermometer. Since the thermostats lose their efficiency over time, you may want to have one on backup that you use from time to time.
• Degreasing the unit on a regular basis – Grease build-up is essential when fryers are used. However, they decrease the efficiency of the fryer unit, and may cause a breakdown.
• Cleaning and maintaining the heating unit – The cleaning element is a very vital part of the fryer. It helps in running the fryer without any problems and maintains the temperature which you want.
• Monitoring recovery time – Your unit can be in need of replacement if the recovery time is longer than which it previous was.
Remember, fry efficiently for best results.

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Go Green with your Commercial Kitchen in Just 3 Steps

June 18th, 2015 by Tim | No Comments »

Commercial kitchens going green are increasing becoming popular. This is because not only does it help contribute to the environment, it also helps saves money, increases customer loyalty, and does wonders for brand reputation.
However, many commercial kitchens still hesitate when they consider this option as they do not want to compromise their quality or name. Nothing of such sort happens, as a matter of fact, customers appreciate people who care for the environment. More importantly, quality of the food put out is not affected whatsoever.
There are three steps you can take to transform your current commercial kitchen. They are:
1. Conduct a Complete Kitchen Assessment
The first important step to convert your kitchen is to have an assessment conducted. This will help you determine where you need to spend money. Based off the results, you can take cost effective decisions. Assessments are divided in four sections: habit, water, energy, and waste assessment.
Habit assessment places helps you identify daily practices that may require change. This will help you save resources which can be utilized elsewhere. This assessment will also help you save money through most effective utilization of resources.
Water assessment helps ensure there are no leaks in the kitchen. If there are leaks, or if there are possibilities of leakages, it can be taken care of before costly damage is incurred. This will save you money from future major incidents and bills.
Waste assessment helps eliminate excess waste. This includes the amount, quality, and the type of material (waste) which is disposed regularly. When you have a better idea of what is being wasted, you can then manage unnecessary waste reduction. Recycling is the best option to go for, as it is safe for the environment and it gets the job done.
Energy assessment helps in determining if needless energy is going to waste. This includes the possibility of utilizing energy saved. Preserving energy will massively reduce the amount you pay in utility bills.
2. Know that Commitment Matters
It is very important to be able to fulfill a commitment after it has been made. To maintain the green initiative and to bring a positive change, dedication towards the kitchen is essential. This makes it more important to be able to experiment solutions with the help of your staff. It also helps to narrow down which is the most effective solution. Time and sincerity are key.
3. Make it Happen
Now that commitment has been made from both sides, there is only thing left to do. Make things happen. Start with the small changes. Change the light bulbs so that you consume less and save more. Consider re-arranging the kitchen to make it more convenient. Similarly, work on things which impact the commercial kitchen as a whole. Work your way to the bigger changes that will help maintain the flow.
This way, everyone will be on the same page. Subsequently, you could expect less chaos and high productivity.

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How to design your mobile kitchen

June 2nd, 2015 by Amanda | No Comments »

Mobile kitchens are becoming increasingly popular with the rise in the food and catering business. A mobile kitchen is basically a kitchen-on-wheels. Designing one can be a tricky task since you are working in a limited space and need to fit a wide variety of things. We have gathered a list of things that you can keep in mind while designing your mobile kitchen.
A Truck
You will need a truck to set up your mobile kitchen. It must meet strict food service guidelines, exactly as a restaurant would. An extended roof van also makes a nice mobile kitchen. If there are any carpets and seats inside the vehicle, you will need to remove all of them.
Burners and Broilers
You will need to fit in gas burners to be able to cook food. Depending on what you will be cooking, make a list of all the cooking equipment you might need. This may include broilers, grills or hot.
You might also need a heating unit if you are planning on catering a lot of people at the same time. This way you can just heat the food that you had cooked earlier and serve without wasting time.
Refrigeration Unit
Make sure you buy proper refrigerators for your mobile kitchen. You should also install a thermometer on your refrigerators to make sure that the food is being refrigerated at the desired temperature. This will keep your food from rotting and will prevent illnesses.
Water Supply System
No mobile kitchen is complete without a water supply system. A mobile kitchen requires good water supply so that it can be used to prepare food and drinks, wash and clean utensils and to also allow the cook to wash his hands. Companies that sell mobile kitchen truck also sell water supply systems to go with those trucks. These systems have sinks and waste water tanks that have drains for used water disposal.
Maintenance and Safety
Exhaust fans are highly recommended for mobile kitchens because the mobile kitchen can get really hot and at times can get filled up with smoke. Grease traps and fire extinguishers are recommended as they help in maintaining the kitchen and prevent damage caused by fire. Some people install propane tanks and gas shutoff valves to get a sufficient supply of heat for cooking purposes.
Arrangement
You should arrange all your equipment in a way that makes it easy for you to reach everything without hassle. This saves time and if you are using your mobile truck for business purposes. It is also recommended that you have propane bottles with you because at certain places it might be hard for you to get electricity.
Miscellaneous Equipment
You may or may not need a lot of different things to go along the basic cooking utensils. Keeping the purpose of your mobile kitchen in mind, you equip it with ice bins, beverage dispensers, cabinets, aluminum foil, plastic utensils, paper napkins, plastic wrap etc.

Always remember not to clutter your mobile kitchen with unnecessary items as it might take up place that you can utilize for other purposes and do not forget to make a list of all the things you might need according to your menu and the type of people you will be catering to.

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How to get Rid of Stubborn Stains

February 12th, 2015 by Amanda | No Comments »

Getting rid of stains is not always an easy task; sometimes it requires a lot of strenuous work, and even chemicals, but wait, you cannot use toxic chemicals around food and utensils, so what do you do? How about some organic approaches to clean your commercial kitchen of stains?
Tea & Coffee Stains
For any chef or cook, coffee and tea stains leave unwanted brown and round, ring like marks which are just unbearable. These stubborn stains are hard and stubborn to get rid of especially if they are old. Luckily, there is an easier way to get rid of them, a natural and organic way that is.
Squeeze lemon juice from half a lemon onto the stained area. Then, use a damp cloth to scrub the stain; this may require a bit of muscle work. The acid, present in the lemon will help you work your way through the stains. If the stain is on a table cloth, soak it in hot water with vinegar and baking soda overnight. Another method which you can use is placing about 1 tablespoon of sugar on a stained mug to make the stains go away; after doing so, take a damp cloth or use a sponge to get rid of the stains while running the stained cup or mug under hot water. The fastest and labor-free method is to add vinegar to your dishwasher and wash the dishes from there.
Food Staining
Food stains are no less when it comes to annoying; they also are very stubborn, and seem impossible to get rid of, especially those red colored ones. But, like any problem, there is a solution. All you need is a solution of water, and vinegar, soak the dishes in the solution and leave them over night. Vinegar plays an important role in keeping white dishes clean and stain-free. If you want more power, add some baking soda in vinegar; you will get a powerful cleaning agent then. Sunlight is also a bleaching agent that works really well; leave the dishes out in the sunlight for a couple of hours, maximum of 5. The best part about the method is that it also eliminates any bad odor which is coming from the dish.
Water Spots
Water spots can be hard, and very bad looking too, which is why getting rid of these water stains from your commercial kitchen is important. Need help? Here is a simple solution, in order to remove these water stains from dishes and glasses, soak them for a few hours in vinegar and water. Another thing which you can do is squeeze lemon juice on the marks, leave them for a couple of minutes, and then rinse them thoroughly. In order to prevent water stains, you can add a bit of vinegar to each dishwasher cycle; this will help you get rid of water stains.
Stains and blotches can make any surface seem unsightly but the above mentioned tips can help you tackle them with ease.

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Limited Budget, Big Kitchen

February 6th, 2015 by Tim | No Comments »

There are a couple of things which all commercial kitchen owners have to take into consideration, before they decide to make their kitchen, or before they decide to re-model. With a specifically limited budget, you have to be a little more careful and conscious on where and how you spend your money. Here are the things all owners, with a limited budget, and big kitchen should know.

Know your Investment Amount
The first thing you need to do is divide the investment into different sections, so that you can keep your actual budget in mind. Lets us assume you have $100,000 only. Divide this amount into sections, such as, equipment, cutlery and utensils, fixtures and work, orders, etc.
This will give you a precise amount of money, which you can manage on wards. Remember, your main purpose is to save as much as possible, while getting what is best for your commercial kitchen. Making compromises will only be detrimental, which is why you must manage everything within certain limitations.
Your Location & Kitchen Size
The location of your kitchen matters, as well as its size. If you decide to change locations, or if you settle into a big one, you will have to work accordingly. You will need to manage the budget with a tighter grip, especially if you are already low on it. The location will also have its effects on the lighting and the plumbing of your kitchen. If you are located in a place where the lights and plumbing are already good, and need no extra fixtures, you can use the money for that department in another, like ordering more supply items.
If your kitchen is located underground, you will need to have your pipes looked at regularly and make sure they are maintained. Pipe clogs can cause unwanted floods after all. Plus, if you are near or in a unhygienic building, you and your kitchen staff will be open to various health hazards. Your kitchen may even be shut down. To prevent this from happening, you need to get a proper inspection done to receive a certificate of approval by the Department Of Health.
Design & Materials
A lot depends on the design you go with, and the materials you use. Keeping your kitchen simple, will give you an average cost, and will remain your budget. Making a kitchen using unique designs, will cost you more, and adding new features, like an extra island, wall fixtures, etc, will add more to your list of expenses. Buying the best for your kitchen will obviously be expensive and buying designer materials and using expensive designer fixtures will also cost a bit more than you can allow.
Contractor
Your contractor plays a huge role in all of this; whether you are re-modeling, or shifting, the contractor can get you the best deals and the most expensive ones as well. This is why you need a good one. The contractor will help you cut back on extra money as much as possible by letting you avail the most you can with extra work space. Using storage solutions will save you money and space as well. So, choose the contractor you decide to work with wisely.

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