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Top food waste sources and how to prevent them: Equipment Failure

By Robb White, CEC CCA AAC; Executive Chef & Food Waste Prevention Catalyst  ///  August 23, 2019


As Leanpath's full time Executive Chef, I've trained and coached hundreds of chefs and managers on preventing food waste in their operations. When you spend this much time with frontline foodservice workers, hearing their food waste successes and horror stories, valuable trends emerge. One of the most aggravating food loss reasons I hear about all the time is equipment failure. As chefs and managers, we trust our kitchen tools, sometimes too much. Here are a few questions to ask your staff to prevent food waste due to equipment failure.

Is there a routine maintenance plan in place?

Chefs should be vigilante about monitoring the equipment both for food safety issues and to make sure cooling and freezing equipment is working at its optimum level. Looking at the temperature log can often give indicators that the equipment needs to have some preventive maintenance done. A successful preventative maintenance plan requires working closely with your facilities crew to assure that all equipment is maintained, cleaned, and inspected so that equipment failure is rarely a reason for food waste.

Is there a protocol for temporary cooling or freezing equipment in case of an emergency?

When your lowboy, standing cooler or walk-in goes, it often goes quickly. You have to act fast. Make sure you have arrangements with your vendor to have a refrigerator truck delivered if necessary and understand how long you can expect to wait for it. Plan that now, so you can act quickly if needed. Having a back up plan in case equipment does go down is a crucial step in avoiding a financial loss and food waste.

Are logs in place to monitor cooler and freezer temps?

Chefs are good about keeping temp logs. But make sure logs are monitored for unusual variations that might call for preventive maintenance. Do a daily check of all your coolers and freezers so you’ll be able to spot if a cooler or freezer is possibly in need of maintenance before it’s too late. Being proactive is really the way to go. Follow these 11 tips to up your freezing game today.

Learn more about top food waste sources and how to prevent them in Leanpath's latest whitepaper.


Topics: Kitchen Culture, Food Waste Strategies