A restaurant kitchen is a dangerous place. It’s full of hot, flammable foods. Other flammable materials such as cooking oils and cleaning solvents may be in the vicinity of gas grills and deep fryers. People are working a mile a minute, preparing food, plating orders, dashing in and dashing out. Given the nature of the work in a restaurant kitchen and the type of equipment and supplies involved, it’s no wonder restaurant kitchens catch fire more than 8,000 times a year.
The infographic below, Restaurant Kitchen Heat Safety Guide, presents a quick but thorough overview of the usual causes of restaurant kitchen fires, as well as tips for preventing one. The causes of fires are fairly easy to identify, and the prevention tips are straightforward. The infographic is essential reading for any restaurant owner or kitchen worker.
Although fire prevention techniques are clear and commonsensical, implementing some of them does pose challenges for restaurants, since they involve cost and time, always precious commodities in the restaurant business. For instance, if the kitchen’s electrical or HVAC system is old and in need of repair, the cost to bring these systems up to date could certainly be significant. Nevertheless, they are repairs that must be undertaken if the restaurant is to remain safe for employees, patrons and property. Losses incurred in any of these three areas involves a cost that far exceeds any repair bill.
Regular cleaning and maintenance of kitchen equipment, HVAC and electrical systems is statistically the best insurance against a fire. Cooking equipment accounts for nearly two-thirds of all restaurant kitchen fires, so all equipment must be kept in 100% working order. In addition, employee training, mentioned in the infographic, goes hand-in-hand with equipment maintenance. Given the pace of work in the kitchen, fire safety must become second nature to employees — something that only comes through continual training and emphasis from owners and managers. Without rigorous training and a commitment to safety, employees may lose concentration or make a fundamental fire-safety error in the course of their shift, something that could have serious consequences for themselves, co-workers, diners and the restaurant.
An important side-benefit of maintaining a fire-safe kitchen is that it’s good for business. Clean equipment produces the tastiest food. Smooth-running HVAC systems keep unpleasant smells away from the patrons. This translates into more satisfied diners, more return visits, and more word-of-mouth referrals. Put it all together, and there’s no good reason not to make your restaurant kitchen as safe as possible. For more information, please keep reading below.