A plan to ease lockdown #3.0 is due to be announced on 22nd February. And if you work in the food and drink industry, no doubt you’ll have your fingers crossed – hoping that your café, restaurant or gastropub will be allowed to reopen its doors and start serving once again.
Of course, reopening your business after a period of closure will require some extra checks, particularly if you run a commercial kitchen. And now is the time to start preparing.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has released a comprehensive ‘Reopening checklist for food businesses during COVID-19’, which is available to download online. This is a fantastic tool to help you plan your reopening and definitely worth a look. But to get you started, here we’ve summarised just a few of the key things that you’ll need to do before welcoming customers.
1. Perform a deep clean
First things first, you’ll need to ensure that your premises are clean.
If you think you can tackle this job yourself, great. Just be sure to use suitable cleaning and disinfecting products and always check the ‘contact time’ required for them to work effectively. Any cleaning products that were prepared or diluted before closure should also be thrown away.
If a professional deep clean is required, book this in as soon as possible. Lots of businesses are likely to need the same service and, if you wish to re-open your kitchen on-time, it pays to plan ahead.
2. Check catering parts
After being switched off for many months, your commercial kitchen equipment may need a little TLC – particularly if it wasn’t ‘mothballed’ or decommissioned correctly at the time of closure. And many establishments are likely to encounter problems with their catering parts and fittings.
So, don’t wait until the day before opening to turn everything back on.
Detailed guidance on how to recommission commercial kitchen equipment has been provided by the FEA (Foodservice Equipment Association). And it’s worth reading this carefully before you begin.
Do a visual check and treat each piece of equipment as if it is new – following the user manual to run through the start-up procedure. Electrical and gas appliances, including ventilation and interlock systems, need to be examined very carefully. And if anything doesn’t look quite right, or isn’t working as it should be, be sure to contact a qualified foodservice equipment engineer.
Here at Under Control Instruments (UCI), we also stock a wide range of catering spares and gas parts. These are all high-quality, affordable and available for next day delivery. So if you’re in need of an urgent replacement, we can help and will have your equipment back up-and-running in no time.
3. Introduce COVID-secure measures
As we come out of lockdown #3.0, it’s likely that restrictions will be lifted very slowly, and dining rooms will only be allowed to open with reduced capacity and social distancing.
After reopening last summer, the chances are, you’ll already have the necessary COVID-secure measures in place. But it can’t hurt to review the latest government advice. Do you have a sufficient cleaning rota for staff to follow? Have you installed signage that reminds customers to comply with rules? Are tables positioned at least two metres apart? Is the dining room well ventilated?
You may also wish to extend your business’ capacity by creating an outdoor area, with patio heaters to keep customers warm during the winter months. Further information on this, and the patio heaters available at UCI, can be found in our previous blog ‘Staying warm whilst dining al fresco’.
Get in touch with our experts
Reopening your commercial kitchen may still feel like a distant dream. But things will eventually start to improve and, the key to opening your doors as quickly as possible, is to be prepared.
If you would like additional advice on how to re-start your kitchen, or have any questions about the commercial catering parts and spares available, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We have detailed knowledge of the products in our store and always strive to provide an efficient and professional service. To discuss your commercial catering requirements, either give us a call on 0121 238 2795 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of the team will get back to you.