A grease trap is one of those items that every restaurant has but hardly anyone ever notices -- until it malfunctions. Many restaurant owners have found out the hard way that a dysfunctional grease trap has the power to bring restaurant operations to a standstill. Grease trap malfunctions are often the fault of improperly trained kitchen staff, so it's important that you keep your people up to speed on strategies designed to keep your grease trap running properly. Poorly trained employees often view the existence of a grease trap as a license to pour grease down the sink in a liberal fashion. However, grease traps are actually designed to serve as a last line of defense in an overall strategy for keeping the amount of grease going down your drains to a minimum. Following are the five basics of setting up an effective grease-trap maintenance plan.
Have a Grease-Related Staff Meeting
Instead of trying to sandwich in grease issues between other aspects of staff meetings, schedule a meeting specifically to cover the proper procedures involved in minimizing the amount of grease that makes it way into sinks and dishwashers in your kitchen. Keep in mind that employees are more likely to cooperate with efforts when they know the reason behind them, so don't just present them with a list of Do's and Don'ts -- tell them why the effort is important. For instance, you can explain that grease can congeal in drains and ultimately cause enough blockage so that the restaurant can't continue with business as usual until the problem has been fixed, while will mean a decrease in income for everyone involved.
Post "No Grease" Notes Over All Sinks and Dishwashers
This serves as a written reminder to employees that restaurant policy is not to put any grease down any of the drains in the kitchen. Although you might think that people should be able to remember this detail from the grease-specific meeting, it's always best to err on the side of caution and provide yourself with an extra layer of protection when dealing with anything that could potentially put a damper in your day-to-day operations. The cost of printing out a few "No Grease" signs and hanging them in the appropriate spots is minimal next to having to close up shop while the issue is fixed, as well as having to pay a costly plumbing bill.
Practice Food Waste Reduction Techniques
Remember that the less food waste that reaches your sink and dishwasher areas, the less you'll have to deal with grease trap issues caused by the wrong sorts of food waste getting into your plumbing pipes. Creating a customized waste-management system that ensures that all types of food waste have a proper receptacle helps ensure that they won't make it to the sink area.
Dry Wipe Pots, Pans, and Plates
Dry wiping items used for cooking and serving food prior to placing them in a sink full of warm, soapy water or in your restaurant's automatic dishwasher is an excellent way to help keep grease traps from becoming overloaded. This should be a mandatory step for washing any items that contain food residue.
Clean the Grease Trap Regularly
Relevant employees should also be taught how to properly clean your restaurant's grease trap. This should be performed on a regular basis, and a grease trap cleaning log should be accurately kept. However, no matter how talented your employees are at cleaning your grease trap, keep in mind that nothing does the job quite like a professional service. Supplementing your grease trap maintenance plan with regular visits from a qualified professional service like Tierra Environmental & Industrial Services is the ideal grand finale for your grease-trap maintanence plan.