There are many established restaurant and cafe kitchens which have equipment that’s at least 20 years old.
What you might not know is that if it has been well looked after, there's no reason why it can't last for many more.
Whether you are deciding to buy new or used catering equipment, there are a few things that should be considered first. One of those factors is the average lifespan of the catering equipment you need.
Understanding the Value of Commercial Equipment
The long life of commercial equipment is related to its high initial cost.
The higher cost and value is a result of various elements:
- Performance and Productivity - you need to ensure your equipment can handle the pressures and demands of a busy kitchen, with large quantities, fast speed and little need for downtime.
- Reliability and Ease of Maintenance - your equipment should rarely fail under pressure especially if properly maintained/looked after. However, when repairs are needed, you need to ensure the equipment can be fixed quickly as well as on-site.
- Energy Cost and Saving - it’s not only important that your equipment is sustainable but it can handle all of the demands from cooking, cooling and processing efficiently.
- Warranty - a guarantee of performance which supports the longevity of the equipment.
- Health Code Conformity - easy to clean and sanitise, and safe to use
- Long Life - you want to ensure the equipment is in tough/robust construction - in other words ensure it will last for many years!
Life & Maintenance
Commercial equipment is designed for heavy duty work over years but will deliver exceptional value with regular maintenance and prompt attention to repairs. Equipment in this category is made from heavy-duty parts and when repairs are needed, you need to make sure there is easy access for replacement or repair on site.
Here are four general pieces every commercial kitchen should need and have and an outline of the most common maintenance needs during their lifetime:
The Refrigerator Fitted with parts that are built to withstand the hot conditions of a commercial kitchen as well as combating mould and rust from the moist atmosphere from steam and condensation, the commercial refrigerator plays an important role in maintaining hygiene standards. These units are equipped with compressors strong enough to maintain internal temperatures but there are some critical areas that need to be in tip top condition to support performance. For example, door seals need regular checks and, if degraded, replacement. The thermostat is essential to the compliance role and must be replaced if inaccurate (a simple piece of electronics). The motor may need more refrigerant… These could all be taken care of by a simple fix procedure from a qualified mechanic or repair service. One way to make sure the equipment takes longer to get to breaking point is to schedule a twice-annual check up. Many service technicians offer these at reasonable rates if booked in regularly and can diagnose problems before they manifest. If well maintained, you can expect your refrigerator to last 15 years or more.
The Oven - expect the oven to last 20 years or more! As with the refrigerator overview above, over the years, you may need new door seals, a replacement thermostat or control knobs, or the heat source (gas or electric) cleaned or replaced. These are all straightforward jobs for a mechanic. Consider the unit you purchase in terms of access to parts long term - because stoves last so long, most parts are kept readily available by suppliers. HOT TIP: ensure your provider has spare parts readily available for the oven you purchase and that the oven manufacturer has a history of great service.
The Fryer should easily last 15-20 years…if you ensure you stay on top of your cleaning regime! Fryers are one of the most frequently used pieces of kitchen equipment - make sure you look after the burners, thermostat and pilot light. Keeping them all free of burned and greasy residues and keeping your cooking oil clean and fresh will be key to performance. HOT TIP: There are some fryers that filter used oil so it can be reused without loss of cooking quality…
The Dishwasher Although commercial dishwashers are designed to withstand the rigours of daily non-stop operation and some pretty rough handling, the root cause of many dishwasher problems result from lack of care, such as failing to follow manufacturer guidelines cleaning and maintaining your machine. There is no reason why your dishwasher won’t last for over 20 years or more if you ensure it is looked after. However, over the years, the most likely needs would be a change of thermostat and control unit replacements. You can ensure if you purchase a Norris dishwasher machine you are guaranteed you will have access to repairs and spare equipment replacements through Norris Spares. They still have parts or equivalent replacements for many of their oldest machines still in service after 40 years!
As shown, repairs and maintenance are simple procedures that will keep high priced equipment working hard for many years. If there is ever a stress on finances, most larger commercial kitchen companies will have finance packages for their customers. Some of these include extended warranties on equipment or the opportunity to own or replace at the end of the finance period.
Regular Maintenance Guarantees a Long Life for your Equipment
We cannot stress enough the importance of cleaning your equipment regularly. The build-up of food scraps and grease need to be cleaned/removed regularly – if not, it may cause the repair of the equipment to be more difficult and more costly. Service technicians can be in and out more quickly if they can work on clean and well-maintained equipment.
Ensure you keep all instruction manuals available in the office, whether it be printed and on display in the kitchen or on your desktop and easily accessible for staff.
Preventive maintenance is less expensive than emergency repairs, and ensures your equipment is ready to handle the busy times without interruption. Norris has a warranty service up to five years and offers on-site service for machines. Norris also has a program where your warranty can be extended to five years when using their recommended chemicals on a fixed price package that also includes all repairs and maintenance.
Norris Spares Commercial Dishwasher Replacement Parts
Norris has been providing quality, commercial dishwasher replacement parts to tradesmen and businesses throughout Australia for over 60 years.
Using the highest quality materials in all components and equipment manufactured, Norris ensures maximum longevity, in keeping with our “built to last” philosophy that sets us apart from our competition.
As part of our commitment to our brand and our customers, we also stock thousands of replacement parts for some of the most respected brands in the industry such as Norris, Hobart, Madison and Eswood.
Customer satisfaction and working closely with businesses and tradesmen alike in supporting the products we manufacture is our highest priority. If you are looking for a trade account with people who know what they’re talking about and can get you the answers, machines and spare parts you need, please talk to us about the benefits of trade pricing.