Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

The Quarterly Product Q4 2018

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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Kurt Walker BEVERAGE AND CHEMICAL MANAGER, BEN E. KEITH FOODS, OKLAHOMA DIVISION, EDMOND, OKLA. K urt Walker was working as a licensed electrician when he was encouraged by a friend to try his hand as a technician for a company servicing foodservice equipment. That was 30 years ago, and Walker, who has spent the last 19 years at Ben E. Keith, admits that there is nev- er a dull moment in his field of work. "It has been exciting watching the industry and company grow," he says. Walker services dish machines, beverage equipment, laundry equip- ment and other chemical dispensing units. He also manages more than 2,300 customers in four states and oversees a team of five service techs. He's known for keeping his cool with customers in a crisis and going above and beyond with customer service. FE&S: When it comes to dish machines and beverage equipment, what is most troublesome for operators and why? KW: Most of our operators tell me when a dish machine is down, it's devastating. They'd rather a cash register go down than a dish machine. Service gets so backed up, they might as well shut their doors. Although this is one of the most expensive pieces of equipment, it's typi- cally operated by the most inexperienced staff members. For this reason, and due to high turnover in the dish room, we do in-service training to circumvent problems as well as schedule monthly preventa- tive maintenance on this equipment. The same is true with coffee brewers used in high-volume breakfast operations. FE&S: Are there maintenance and cleaning tasks specific to this equipment that operators should be aware of? KW: Monthly preventative maintenance calls can help keep them on top of it. Op- erators also should keep machines clean inside and out to circumvent problems. FE&S: What are common mistakes operators make when caring for this equipment? KW: One of the most common mistakes is when a dish machine's hot water tank goes out and is replaced with a tankless hot water heater. [In my experience], this never works on commercial dish machines, since the coil in these systems can't keep up with the hot water de- mand. Not having proper water tem- perature in a dish machine is the biggest issue we see. For beverage equipment, the number one issue is keeping the equipment and spray head clean on a daily basis. FE&S: Why is operator training so impor- tant in extending the service life of dish machines and beverage equipment? KW: Turnover in a kitchen, other than with the chef or line cook, is pretty common. For this reason, constant training is neces- sary to stay up and efficient. FE&S: Discuss the importance of planned maintenance with this equipment. KW: All my techs have planned preventa- tive maintenance lists for customers that they keep up to date. This cuts down on emergency service calls.

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