With the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19, the foodservice industry is probably one of the largest and most significant industries to take a hit. Restaurants, casual dining operators, fast food chains and hotels have, amongst others, been left with no choice but to temporarily close their doors until the situation improves and it is deemed safe for businesses to reopen.
However, during this unprecedented time, when there is very little requirement for food to be prepared within a commercial kitchen environment, many foodservice operators are unaware of the fundamental processes involved in temporarily closing kitchens in a safe and compliant manner.
Understandably, foodservice or hospitality operators are eagerly awaiting the day when they are informed that they can reopen their doors and kitchens can return to normality once again. But before that happens, there are several decommissioning procedures operators should be completing to ensure that their premises are well-prepared for a reopening. These measures will prolong the life of your equipment, ensure it is safely decommissioned, save operators time and cost and ultimately lead to a quick and successful reopening. These measures are:
- Firstly, remove and dispose of ALL perishable foodstuffs from fridges and freezers. Ambient shelf stable products will be OK to leave in storage
- Remove safely and compliantly ALL existing food waste from the premises
- All fryers should be drained of cooking oil
- Fridges and freezers should be defrosted and left to “air”. Fridge doors should be left open. Walk in freezers locked.
- ALL equipment and food preparation areas, including preparation surfaces, walls and flooring should be deep cleaned
- For sanitization we would suggest steam cleaning
- Isolate all gas, water and electrical services at the mains and disconnect individual appliances
- Inspect premises at regular intervals
We hope that operators find these tips useful. For more detailed advice and equipment specific information surrounding how to effectively decommission your commercial kitchens during the outbreak, please visit the FEA’s Equipment and Systems Preservation Guidance on their website here