Rational is warning that it’s essential for kitchen staff to follow the cleaning procedures recommended by their machine’s manufacturer in order to keep combi steamers operating safely and efficiently. The market-leader says that, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, some operators are choosing to delay cleaning in order to save money. “We are already seeing an increase in service call-outs arising from this,” says Trevor Lath, national service director of Rational UK. “It’s a problem that will be affecting all combi steamer brands,” he adds.
Typically combi steamers should be cleaned every day as part of the kitchen routine. Most quality machines have self-cleaning programs that make what would be a time consuming and unpleasant chore effortless. On Rational’s new iCombi Pro the iCareSystem tells operators when they need to run the programme to clean the combi, so it minimises the use of chemicals – because it only asks for a clean when it’s necessary.
The iCareSystem also deals with scale, so there’s no need for a separate water treatment system, or for expensive professional descaling. “The problem is that some operators are ignoring the iCareSystem’s alerts, on the assumption that delaying a clean and descale will save them money and won’t really do any harm,” says Lath. “This is not the case.”
Deferring cleaning routines will lead to the build-up of dirt and scale, which may compromise cooking results, increase energy consumption and running costs and ultimately lead to equipment breakdown. If a descale becomes necessary it could cost hundreds of pounds. There are additional risks: the Rational detergent cleaning tablets don’t just clean and descale the machine, they also break down fats and grease, preventing drains from blocking and subsequent kitchen floods.
“At the very least, you’re looking at unwanted costs and unwanted downtime,” says Lath. “Worst case scenario, you could block drains, flood the kitchen and damage the appliance permanently.”
By making the equipment unsafe, not cleaning the combi may even compromise HACCP.
“The answer is simple,” says Lath. “Follow the machine’s alerts, or the manufacturer’s guidelines, and run the cleaning program when it’s required.”
HACCP data available from the iCombi Pro combisteamer and via Rational’s ConnectedCooking platform will give the operator a comprehensive summary of the combi steamer’s daily operation, including the number of cleaning programs that have been run during a specified period.
RATIONAL is the leading provider in hot food preparation equipment and, with the iVario multifunctional cooking system and the iCombi Pro combi steamer, the company delivers 95% of all conventional cooking applications. Rational’s ConnectedCooking allows operators to monitor, manage and update their Rational appliances remotely, from a PC, tablet or smart- phone. iKitchen is the combination of the iCombi Pro, iVario Pro and ConnectedCooking – iKitchen delivers the best kitchen management and the best cooking solutions.