If you had to close your restaurant(s) or scale down operations, below are some best practices to consider in reopening your space(s). Whether you have periodically visited your locations(s) while closed, haven’t been on site in weeks or have operated a scaled down model, we recommend considering the following.
- Start with a general Walk-Through of your space working from the front to the back.
- Begin your walk-through outside of your space.
- Take pictures.
- Have a flashlight handy.
- If possible, have a licensed plumber and electrician with you at the time of your initial walk through to assist with any serious issues.
- Inspect storefront for damage and signs of forced entry.
- Upon entering the restaurant note if you smell gas, see or smell smoke, see any water damage/leak. If gas, immediately walk out of the restaurant and call your local supply company to report an emergency issue. If smoke, call 911. If water damage/leak, attempt to identify source.
- If there is no gas or burning electrical smell, continue with the following…
Electrical and Lighting
- Proceed to breaker box and 1) ensure that no breakers were tripped while the location was closed (if they were, identify which equipment tripped and investigate) and 2) turn on any breakers that you turned off prior to closing.
- Turn on all interior lights and make sure that all bulbs are operational.
- Plug in and power up all refrigeration equipment that you unplugged prior to closing.
- Ensure equipment doors are properly closed and firmly sealed.
- Monitor temps to ensure that they are coming down and confirm that after 2-3 hours they are around 38F (no more than 41F).
- NOTE: If unit doesn’t power on and the breaker is on then there may be an issue with the outlet. Confirm that the outlet has power by plugging something else into it (e.g. phone charger or lamp that you know works). You also may need to reset the GFCI. If the outlet has power, contact your refrigeration repair company or electrician as there is most likely a problem with the unit.
- If you did not break down your Walk-In Refrigerator and Freezer, verify that temps are holding and that all perishable foods inside are within health safety standards (e.g. temps, dates, etc.).
- Ensure hood(s) is on.
- If they do not work, contact a Hood service vendor prior to turning on any of the Hot Side equipment.
- Check that gas is on to all units.
- Verify that each unit pilot light is lit.
- Keep in mind that some units need to be manually lit while others have electronic igniters.
- For more complex equipment (e.g. combination ovens, etc.) complete at least one cooking or steam cycle.
- Ensure hot water heater is operational and at appropriate temperature.
- Make sure that the dish machine gets up to temp.
- In the event that you missed your Spring quarterly HVAC preventative service, schedule immediately.
- Check that thermostats are correctly set (e.g. automatic temp ranges, day-of-week, time, etc.).
- Schedule window cleaning.
- Have drains jetted and grease trap checked by certified plumber before significant water usage (want to ensure that there are no blockages that have formed during closure).
- Immediately schedule visit with your contracted pest control vendor to do a pre-opening audit and treatment.
- Conduct a mock health inspection to identify any additional facility or equipment issues that need to be addressed prior to reopening.
Reviewing the state of your facilities and equipment as you weigh the current state of your business doesn’t mean having to commit a lot of precious resources (personnel or money). A thoughtful approach to these points can translate to less expensive and time-consuming challenges down the road. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to discuss any issues specific to your business.
Stay safe and stay positive,
Greg and Nate