Why establishing a hood-cleaning routine is vital for your restaurant


September 28, 2018

An operating hood system in your restaurant is a basic requirement of the industry; everyone has one. At least they should. However, the diligence restaurants apply to the cleanliness of their hood system varies wildly, and for those whose cleaning habits fall toward the lower end of the tier, there has never been a better time to reinvent those cleaning habits.

Today we're going to take a deeper look into why this procedural change is so important and how you can make your hood system as functional — and as clean — as possible.

Avoiding a potential fire catastrophe

The role of a hood system in any restaurant is to trap smoke, grime and grease in a secure location rather than allow it to flow freely around the back-of-house. Thus, you can expect that as this debris is collected into your hood system, the threat of fire grows because more and more oil and grease is consolidated into a single area. If this material is not removed from your hoods, it will congeal into a glue-like substance that is incredibly flammable. And should a hood-related fire occur in your business, the expenses related to repairing this damage can be considerable.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), roughly 8,000 food service businesses report an incident of fire each year, resulting in a total estimated damage cost of more than $246 million, averaging $30,750 per food service fire. Not all of these fires are exhaust-related fires, of course, yet while exhaust-related fires are rarer, they also account for the greatest share of property damage (69 percent).

It's an incident your restaurant cannot afford.

Why clean hoods matter

While the removal of a potential fire risk is certainly reason enough to establish a diligent hood-cleaning schedule, keeping your hoods clean also affords several other benefits for your business, including:

  • Adherence to local fire codes.
  • Improved air quality in your kitchen and throughout your restaurant.
  • Insurance protection, warding against your loss of financial support because of negligence.

Establishing a cleaning routine for your hood system

Your baffle filters should be cleaned ideally at least once a day by cleaning them with hot, soapy water and non-abrasive scrubber. This will feel more like scrubbing if the buildup in your hoods is considerable, and failure to do this task each day will make the job considerably more difficult the following evening.

In addition to this daily cleaning, you’ll also want to hire a vendor to deep clean the hoods at least a few times a year.

However, if you’re interested in avoiding the logistics of this manual chore, you should consider an automated hood-cleaning system like Restaurant Technologies’ AutoMist.

AutoMist automatically cleans your hood, flue and fan every day with a powerful spray mixture of detergent and water to prevent hazardous grease buildup. This saves you on your labor costs and ensures that your hoods are cleaned properly each and every night, regardless of who's on. It’s a small sample of peace of mind that eliminates any concerns you could have over one of your kitchen’s most important assets.

To learn more about AutoMist and to see how Restaurant Technologies can reduce your fire risk, download our eBook:

Flash in the pan: What you can do to reduce the risk of food service kitchen fires.

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