Arūnas Eitutis | 28 července 2023

Determining the optimal timing for servicing your restaurant fridge

The restaurant industry is a ruthless business environment with tons of challenges. With only 20% of establishments surviving the relentless pressure and outlasting their competitors, it takes an incredibly skilled and consistent staff to survive the busy hours without disappointing customers.

On top of a harsh and competitive landscape, restaurants have far bigger standards than your average kitchen. Unsanitary conditions and poor equipment have put many companies out of business, as without proper care and management, food starts to spoil and parasites take over your kitchen.

To keep the products fresh and safe from contamination, restaurants invest large sums of money into commercial refrigeration equipment. A commercial fridge can look like a bigger version of a regular fridge or a bigger walk-in unit for more storage.

A commercial refrigeration system comes in contact with a lot more products of different kinds. In this guide, you will learn about regular maintenance needs for a commercial refrigeration unit. With routine upkeep, modern restaurants prevent component failure, minimise energy costs, and keep a commercial kitchen in top condition.

Commercial refrigeration equipment

A commercial refrigeration system comes in contact with a lot more products of different kinds. Even a well-managed space accumulates grease, crumbs, dirt, moisture, and other loose debris that mess up the space and can damage a vital component.

Too much moisture or too much grease are problematic conditions for a regular fridge, but for a massive commercial refrigerator, these factors can quickly spiral out of control. Routine maintenance procedures make sure that all components and electrical connections stay intact

How do I know when my restaurant fridge needs to be serviced

Most restaurants follow a maintenance schedule with repairs and cleaning procedures every 3 to 6 months. The frequency of servicing procedures may vary depending on the items stored in the fridge. Aside from component checkups, regular cleaning tasks range from daily waste removal to deep cleaning every few months.

Regular maintenance cleaning

Because commercial refrigerators store a lot more meat, fish, dairy products, and other high-moisture foods, proper maintenance starts with the elimination of humidity, bacteria, and other contaminants. A maintenance schedule applies to kitchen staff or specialised cleaning personnel that remove grease, clean drain lines, air filters, condenser coils with proper cleaning solutions to keep the refrigeration unit dry and cool.

Surface cleaning

To keep all products fresh and safe from contamination, assigned workers clean spills immediately with a soft brush, baking soda paste, and a special degreaser for clean stainless steel. These preventative maintenance tips stop moisture buildup, while a degreasing solution stops food from sticking to surfaces.

Cleaning refrigeration components

Components like commercial fridges’ air filters, defrost system, condenser and evaporator coil need to be extremely clean to prevent overheating and component failure. To keep them in the best condition for as long as possible, qualified employees may use a stiff bristle brush, powerful shop vacuum, air compressor, and other high-end cleaning tools. Dirty refrigeration unit components can lead o a quick rise in cabinet temperature, which brings the downfall of both the products and the machine itself.

Door gasket cleaning

On top of that, a warm water solution cleans door gaskets to keep a strong seal and prevent cool air from escaping. Without regular maintenance cleaning, food spoils a lot faster, while a poorly closed fridge will spike up your energy bills. Meanwhile, all products are kept in a temporary cooler to maximise their longevity.

Routine maintenance

Aside from cleaning, assigned employees conduct routine maintenance on the state of condenser coils, evaporator coils, door gaskets, and other essential components. If refrigeration units were poorly maintained in the past, qualified technicians perform deeper commercial refrigerator maintenance. This involves the inspection, repair, and replacement of door gaskets, air filters, coils, and other essential components that drive the primary functions of commercial refrigerators.

Managing additional components

Commercial refrigeration units come with extra components, such as blast chillers, advanced temperature control systems, an ice maker, self-closing doors, and other tools that enhance the functionality of your refrigerator. Here specialised technicians perform more thorough commercial refrigerator maintenance tasks that are not as common, with inspection frequency ranging between 8 to 12 months.

What are the most common problems for a commercial refrigerator

Understanding the most common issues of a commercial refrigeration unit lets you prevent further damages, total equipment failure, losses in product spoilage and poor energy efficiency. Commercial refrigeration maintenance procedures prioritise temperature control to keep food in a desired state at all times.

Thermostat adjustments stop products from rotting or freezing, while air filter, condenser coil, and evaporator coil maintenance stops overheating and the problems that come with it. Meanwhile, clean or broken air filter components, ineffective door gaskets, and fan motors make sure that no warm air passes into the interior of the system, making your fridge ineffective and inefficient.

Commercial refrigeration equipment maintenance tips

To keep your refrigeration equipment in the best condition at all times, start with a strict maintenance schedule. Begin with a clear to-do list that focuses on recurring cleaning procedures that take care of both the interior and functional components.

When kitchen staff has clear guidelines on the necessary procedures and their order, all that is left is following the steps consistently. A good plan leaves no gaps and weaknesses that can spiral out of control, ruining both the equipment and stored products. On top of that, proper handling and storage of consumables will reduce the time spent on cleaning.

By minimising the presence of grease, moisture, crumbs, and other contaminants, kitchen staff stops additional contaminants from reaching the evaporator, and condenser coil. Keeping the stainless steel surface squeaky clean is the best approach to commercial refrigeration maintenance.


Commercial refrigeration maintenance ensures that the restaurant has fresh products and services at all times. To keep the fridge in the best condition, kitchen employees need to schedule daily cleaning of the interior, plus frequent inspection and waste removal for main refrigeration components. Use these tips to maximise the lifetime of your refrigeration equipment while creating perfect conditions for product preservation.

Arūnas Eitutis
Founder & CEO

Arūnas is spearheading the Frontu efforts as the company’s CEO but still finds the time to share some of his knowledge, expertise and experience in the FSM sector through our blog.

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