How to Maintain Your Commercial Garbage Disposal



Garbage DisposerDisposals provide a convenient way to deal with food waste, while improving sanitation in your kitchen. In the name of spring cleaning, here’s a closer look at how to maintain your commercial disposer, thanks to our friends at FES Magazine.

Commercial garbage disposals haven’t changed much since their initial design. Most basic commercial disposals are scaled up versions of residential types and range from 1/2 to 10 HP. While disposals require minimal maintenance, proper use will lengthen the system’s service life. Disposals are simple to maintain, and feature and easy-to-clean corrosion resistant finish.

Some things to keep in mind when utilizing your disposal:

  1. Do not use these systems to dispose fat, oil and grease.
  2. Flushing the drain after use will help prevent clogs. Some controls do this automatically.
  3. Periodically check your grind plates to help prevent clogs.
  4. After feeding waste through the disposer, run cold water for 10 to 20 seconds to push all of the particles to the main sewer line.
  5. While some systems just need to be wiped clean, others may include automatic cleaning flush systems that need to be activated on a daily basis.
  6. Use cold water to flush waste, since hot water can melt fat and allow it to solidify and block the drain line.

So how do you know when it’s time to replace your disposal? Depending on running time, the type of waste being processed, and drain plumbing conditions, a typical disposal can last an average of five years or as long as 20 years.

Here are five signs a disposal has reached the end of its service life.

Excessive Noise: Unusual or excessive noise, along with water leakage represent a pair of obvious signs a disposal is failing and needs replacement.

Drain Backups: This may indicate the blade teeth are worn and the mechanism needs replacing or may signify the disposal is on its way out.

Increased Grind Time: Blades wear out over time and when processing an excessive amount of hard material at high volumes. Signs such as increased grinding time or frequent clogging may signify a new disposal is needed.

Cracks: Over time, the disposal may develop cracks due to excessive use, chemicals and vibrations. Retire the unit when its construction is compromised.

How to Clean Commercial Beverage Dispensers

beverage dispenserAs much as I loathe saying it, summer is winding down. The weather in the Midwest is already chilling. Soon we’ll see the shutters on our little lakeside snack shops coming down in preparation for the coming fall and winter months.

As summer fades into fall, it’s the perfect time to take a look at your refrigerated beverage dispenser. Whether you’re packing up and closing shop for the season, weaning your patrons from frosty mixed drinks, or breaking out the concession equipment for the upcoming school year, the demand on your beverage dispensers has decreased…for a moment.  Now is the time to take a look at your current dispenser’s state and look for the indications listed below that it’s time to go shopping.

Beverage dispensers typically offer a service life of between seven and 10 years on average. The following are signs that indicate your beverage dispenser may need replacing:

Water Leaks: If water leaks through the bin seal or manufactured chassis, this may indicate a leak in the line or rupture in the corner seal. This could be an indication that the unit has reached the end of its service life.

Aging Unit: Many beverage dispenser components, such as valves, can be replaced. It also is possible to upgrade and refurbish these units. But if the equipment had been in operation for 10 years or more in a high-volume application, it’s more than likely time to replace the unit as a whole.

Appearance: Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. If they notice an older, self-serve unit at the front of the house, how will that affect your sales? In this case, it’s important to keep up appearances.

Changing Menu: A common issue when purchasing beverage dispensers is buying too small or too large a dispenser for the necessary volume. When the beverage menu changes or expands, foodservice operators should re-evaluate whether the dispenser can meet the restaurant’s needs. If the operation requires more capacity consider whether a larger unit or additional dispenser would be most appropriate.

Once you’ve checked these items off your list, keep your beverage dispenser in tip-top shape by regularly following cleaning procedures. This will help ensure the quality and taste of beverages isn’t compromised.

Beverage dispensers can be merchandising tools especially when used in the front of house for self-service applications. For this reason, it’s important that these units are properly cleaned and maintained. Foodservice operators can perform daily, weekly, and monthly tasks that will help keep your beverage dispensers operating at an optimal level, while ensuring a long service life. Keep in mind that unit needs may vary, and manufacturer’s recommendations should be followed.

On a daily basis, staff should remove the nozzles and diffusers and soak them in warm, soapy water. At the end of the day wipe down exterior surfaces with soap and water to remove any build-up and/or spills. Refrain from using cleaners with high chlorine content on stainless steel, as they may cause rust. Regularly flush and clean water lines. And finally, each month, clean and wash ice bins.

How to Clean and Maintain your Commercial Ice Cream Machine

There are two things I love: England and ice cream. They fairly go hand in hand considering former British Prime Minister, Margret Thatcher, helped create soft serve ice cream during her time as a food scientist.  I like my ice cream smooth and creamy, no hard frozen chunks of toppings for me to crack a tooth on. Enter the underdog of summer treats – soft serve ice cream.

I know most people prefer hand-dipped ice cream because it offers a larger selection of flavors. However, I’ll argue that when done right, a cone filled with sweet creamy vanilla beats any fancy flavor you can think of. Plus, I think you get more ice cream with soft serve.

Enough about me; how do you guarantee you’re doing the soft serve thing right? Regular cleaning and maintenance of your commercial ice cream machines, that’s how!  Regular cleaning and sanitization of ice cream machines helps ensure food safety. One drop of that heavenly mix will create a haven for bacterial growth. Before you start, research local health codes for cleaning commercial ice cream machines. Most will require a daily or twice weekly disassemble and clean. After that, follow these four simple steps for cleaning and maintaining your machine. The result? Sweet, smooth ice cream worth of The Iron Lady.

Completely empty the machine: Start by emptying any unused mix from the freezing chamber. Wipe out any impacted ice cream that has hardened out of reach of the scraping blades. Ensure that there is a clear pathway for water to pass through the machine completely.  Flush it a few times until the water comes out clear.

Take it apart: Get out your owner’s manual and locate all of the parts that are suggested for removal when cleaning. Completely disassemble the ice cream maker, removing any detachable parts that come in contact with the ice cream. Commercial machines have dispensing handles and tips that come in contact with fingers and ice cream regularly. These tips and handles should also be disassembled and removed during every cleaning session.

Soak + Scrub: Pour a mixture of hot soapy water into the freezing chamber of your machine. Many ice cream makers now come with a wash cycle setting; run this if your ice cream maker includes this feature. If it does not, a kitchen scrub brush with a handle is recommended to clean all of the inner moving parts. Once finished, drain your machine of all soapy water and flush it again with clean hot water to remove all traces of soap. Next, place all of the parts into a tub of more hot soapy water. Add a tablespoon or so of bleach to kill any remaining bacteria and allow the parts to soak for 30 minutes, or until the water has cooled. Rinse all parts in clean water and allow them to dry on clean towels.

Reassemble : Finally, wipe down your machine and parts with a clean, dry towel and reassemble your machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Additional best practices for ice cream machine maintenance include keeping the condenser coil clean. If the coil has a buildup of grease and dirt, you’ll need to use a degreaser and then wash the coil off. When you wash the coils of your commercial ice cream machine, be sure to cover the condenser fan motor and any other electrical components that might get sprayed. Note if the coil has a build-up of dry dust and lint. The best way to clean that is to wash it thoroughly with water. Also, open the side and back panels of your commercial ice cream machine and inspect the inside for debris.

Finally, check the drive belts and make sure they’re in good condition and adjusted to the correct tension, and make sure the drive pulleys are aligned correctly. You might want to keep spare tune up parts like o rings, seals, gaskets, food-safe lubricant, sleeves, bushings, and beater blades. These things will wear out and will need to be changed every three to six months.

How To: Using a Kitchen Scale

food scaleConsider me in the food scale fan club. You’ll always find me touting their copious attributes. Kitchen Scales will change your life!

I imagine most commercial kitchens are well versed in kitchen scale usage, but for all of you residential chefs, lets erase your fears that cooking with measured weights is a difficult or time consuming task.

Kitchen scales have always played a predominant part in my life. My mom, who taught me how to cook, was forever baking delectable treats in our kitchen and pulling out her trusty scale to get the job done. She was also a jazzercise/fad diet fanatic and often used her kitchen scale to enforce portion control.

Baking a cake? Stop dreading the subsequent clean-up, because you’ll only be using one bowl and one spoon. Ah, imagine not having to search through three drawers (yes, we have 3 drawers of kitchen essentials that I cannot live without) looking for that missing ¾ measuring cup…seriously, where is my ¾ measuring cup?

Perhaps you’re experimenting with gluten-free recipes and you’ve realized that many recipes are written in measured weights. Do not be daunted by this! Kitchen scales are simple to use.

The key is to zero out the scale every time you add an ingredient.  If you have a digital kitchen scale, you simply hit the On/Clear button, this will zero out your weight. On a dial scale, you can turn the knob back to the zero mark. *If your kitchen scale is a family heirloom from the Roman Empire, or you’re a Mathlete and predisposed to balanced scales, this actually will be an arduous process.

Now, on to adding your ingredients; slowly add in the first ingredient until it reached the weight you need. Zero out the weight again, and add your second ingredient until you reach the desired weight. Now, zero it out again, and so on. Simple, right? You’ll have mastered the kitchen scale in minutes! Wondering why you haven’t tried it sooner? Me too.

Now, throw away all three sets of those measuring spoons and cups you have stuffed in some drawer and log onto Burkett Restaurant Equipment to purchase your new favorite kitchen tool.

Tips for Making the Best Cheesecake Ever

A well-prepared and perfectly baked cheesecake is the perfect dessert for any occasion. With the ability to customize it for a Christmas or summer dessert, having a delicious cheesecake base recipe will definitely please your customers. Once you have the recipe, you want to make sure that you bake it perfectly. A few mistakes can lead to a cracked appearance or undesirable soggy taste so when making your cheesecake, use these tips to ensure a perfectly executed cheesecake!

  • Don’t Overmix… Over-mixing (usually caused by cold ingredients that do not easily mix) will allow air to enter the batter. Allow all ingredients to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before mixing ingredients.
  • To avoid cracking… Take a 4″ half-size food pan, about half filled with hot water and place it on the spare rack under the cheesecake while baking. This incorporates some moisture and a little steam in the oven, which helps the cheesecake from getting too dry and cracking on the surface. Also, NEVER open the door while the cheesecake is baking.
  • Avoid breaking the middle… A cheesecake will shrink as it bakes so make sure the sides are well-greased so that it can easily separate from the sides instead of the middle.
  • Even baking…  Cook your cheesecake at 325º F for about 45 minutes. Then turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake inside for another hour. Cool at room temperature with a plate or cookie sheet inverted over the cheesecake to slow the cooling. Only then can you refrigerate the cake, which you will need to do for another 6 hours at least.
  • Prevent Over-Baking…  Cheesecakes will continue to bake after being removed from the oven. To avoid over-baking, remove when the center of the cheesecake is just slightly moist (about 1″ diameter should jiggle in the center when you shake the pan).
  • Keep the Crust Intact… When removing the Spring Form Pan base, use a carving knife and carefully separate the crust from the base and slide onto the counter.
  • Perfect Garnishing… Garnish your cheesecake after it has cooled and no more than 3 hours before serving it.
  • Perfect Slices…  Dip your knife in a glass of warm water and wipe dry before cutting each slice.

How to Start a Home Bakery Business

You  have grandma’s best dessert recipes. You’ve spent the last decade making cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and other treats for every school and church function. Your baked goods are always the first to sell out and everyone tells you “Wow! That’s delicious! You should really sell these!” You smile and thank them but are not sure how to set up a store front bakery. Well it’s time to take that plunge!

Below are several steps that will help you start your own Home Bakery Business.

  1. What’s in a Name… EVERYTHING! Come up with a unique business name.
    • Make sure that it is unique and that a website URL is available for it. The last thing you want is to come up with a great name, only to realize it’s so common that it will be difficult to create a website for it with a unique URL.
  2. Paperwork Time…Visit your city’s licensing bureau to get all the paperwork in order.
    • You’ll also need to set up an inspection by the Health Department to certify that your home bakery is legal.
    • Insurance will also be needed to protect you and your business in the event that a customer sues you. (Hopefully this never happens, but well you never know these days!)
  3. And You’ll be Serving…Create your scrumptious menu.
    • Will you be specializing in only cupcakes or cookies or will you offer various desserts? What flavors or designs will you have? Or perhaps you’ll allow customers to create their own flavors and custom designs.
    • Regardless of what you decide, knowing what goods you’ll be creating will help you purchase the correct equipment and supplies.
  4. Making a Profit…After setting up your menu, determine your prices and make sure that you can turn a profit after paying for supplies and other expenses such as insurance, advertising, and delivery expenses.
    • We highly recommend that you shop around for the best prices for your flour, eggs, milk, and other common staples. Having a fixed cost on these will help you better gauge where you should set your prices.
    • Check out your competition and make sure your prices are aligned especially if you’re offering similar products.
  5. Supplying Your KitchenCall or visit a restaurant equipment distributor that has knowledgeable consultants who can assist you in purchasing the right equipment and supplies.
    • Since you’re working from home and won’t have a storefront to stock, you are not going to need all the heavy equipment that a traditional bakery would need.
    • Make sure to get plenty of extra spatulas, mixing bowls, and baking pans.
  6. YooHoo! Anyone Out There…Since you won’t have a storefront for people to see, how do you plan on reaching new customers?
    • Create a website, a Facebook Page, and Twitter account for starters. Take lots of pictures and post them for the world to see.
    • Let all your friends and family know what you’re up to and have them help you spread the word.
    • Another great idea is to sponsor a donation event in your community. A couple dozen donated cupcakes will go a long way to spreading your company’s name and delicious food to your area.
  7. Organization is the Key to Success… Keep good records of your expenses, your sales and of course your customers. A few extra steps will make your life a whole lot easier later.

Did you start your business in your kitchen? Tell us about your experience below!

How to Properly Grease a Cake Pan

Picture this.. You’ve spent hours beating, mixing, and stirring all the ingredients to make the most delectable cake your customers will ever eat. After much hard work and love, you pour your batter into a Cake Pan and gently place it in a 350-degree preheated oven for 40 minutes. You sit back and wait until your timer dings. After allowing the cake to cool you flip it over to remove it from the pan and……. NOTHING HAPPENS! Your delicious cake is stuck in the Cake Pan and no matter how much you try to wiggle it out it’s not going anywhere unless you pry it out. You followed all the steps perfectly except one thing- you didn’t properly grease the pan to allow the cake to be easily removed.

Don’t let this happen again! Before you make the batter, grease the pan. Here are 3 steps to ensuring that any cake will easily slide out of its pan.

  1. Melt butter/shortening in the Microwave in 10-15 second increments until it completely melts.
  2. Using a Pastry Brush, evenly spread butter all over the inside of the pan (make sure to get the corners very well)
  3. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour* at a time into the greased cake pan. Shake the pan to spread the flour side to side, then turn the pan in circles to coat the sides, adding more flour if needed.

*If you’re baking chocolate cake use cocoa instead of flour to avoid white spots on the bottom and side of the cake.

Follow these easy steps and your cake won’t stick!

How to Tap a Keg

Turbo Air TBD-2SD Stainless Steel Direct Draw Keg Cooler | 2 Keg Capacity

Now that you’ve purchased your awesome Keg Cooler and selected the finest draft beers, it’s time to get those kegs hooked up and ready to make you some money. Below are step by step directions to install a keg. Instructions may vary slightly by manufacturer so please refer to your Owners Manual for assistance.

1. Connect line from the pressure source to lap nipple with a clamp. Using a coupling washer, connect beer line to thread on probe. Holding flats on probe with wrench tighten wing nut or hex nut on beer house.

2. Align tap with lugs on barrel, insert tap.

3. Turn tap body handle, 1/4 turn clockwise until tight to secure tap to barrel. Turn on pressure regulator.

4. Rotate wheel handle 1/4  turn clockwise. Make sure handle is turned as far as it will go to stop to ensure that the beer and gas ports in the keg down tube will be fully opened.

If you have any questions feel free to post below and we’ll respond!

Make sure to leave us a Product Review on Keg Coolers for a chance to win a FREE case of Beer Mugs! Just leave a review- no purchase necessary.  Click here to leave a review- I Want to Win a Case of Beer Mugs!


How to Properly Use an Immersion Blender

An Immersion Blender is definitely not hard to use. With that said, we’ve dealt with our fair share of Immersion Blender malfunctions that could have been easily avoided.  Immersion blenders are priceless pieces in a kitchen and it is worth while investing in a good unit that with proper usage, will last.

  • The most common problem we see is people who use a “butter churning” method (up and down) when using an immersion blender which actually ruins the motor and significantly reduces the RPM.
  • The immersion blenders need to be put in the pot or mixing bowl at a 45 degree angle not straight down. The reason for this is that the blades act by pushing air into the product and rotating it through the blades which emulsifies the product.
  • The “Butter Churning Method” will make even the most prestigious Immersion Blender fail within the first 20 seconds of use because it is unable to acquire enough air to push through the blades causing damage to the motor. You will only get up to a 6 month use of the Immersion Blender using the “Butter Churning Method,” where as you will get a couple years of use out of it when using it properly.
  • One last but important tip is to allow the mixture you are blending to cool slightly depending on the material of the shaft.
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