Launching a hotline to help our clients when reopening

Our hotline for help and advice is: 01792 310255.

As restaurants, pubs and other catering facilities start to reopen following a lengthy period of closure, experts are warning of the potential hidden dangers of using certain equipment after a lengthy break, while suggesting owners should also check if key accreditations and certifications remain valid.

Owners and managers reopening facilities after an enforced period of closure should diligently check and test equipment. To help our clients manage this challenge, we have launched a hotline that companies can call to check if certain types of equipment need to be checked and seek advice about the correct procedure to restart it.

We have launched our helpline with the specific aim of helping companies struggling to ensure their operations are able to reopen safely and efficiently. Specific equipment such as combination ovens, microwave ovens, refrigerators including walk-in units, ice machines, dishwashers, bar equipment and coffee machines should ideally be checked and tested before use.

Equally, gas kit may have perished seals, ice machines and wash ware can develop harmful bacteria and many types of equipment require maintenance checks after a period of inaction. These include gas interlock systems and extraction canopies.

The advice comes on top of the many other adjustments that owners will need to make, due to restrictions on trading relating to social distancing measures and hygiene. But the importance of cleaning, checking, maintaining and restarting equipment should not be understated.

Equally, the down period in the operations of many businesses may also have led to gaps and oversights emerging in the necessary training and accreditation. Just some of the key certifications required by most catering operations include a CP42 Gas Safety Certificate and suitable training or accreditations around food hygiene standards.

Our hotline for help and advice is: 01792 310255. A helpful guide detailing a checklist for reopening premises is also available on the Food Standards Agency website and can be found here. A booklet has also been designed by CEDA in conjunction with service partners and distributors to give a guide to reopening kitchens after shut down, which can be found here.

Kyle James, our Compliance and Installation Manager, said:

“Commercial catering operations have endured an incredibly challenging period. But as they start to reopen, we want to ensure they avoid some of the hidden dangers that can exist when using equipment that has been dormant for a long period of time.

“We are more than happy to advise over the phone or come and conduct a thorough audit in person at the premises. Having come this far, the last thing most businesses want is another setback where equipment fails, is faulty, or, in a worse-case scenario, even makes a customer unwell.” 

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Proud to launch a new equipment hire offering

We are delighted to unveil some important changes in our offering in response to client demand in light of challenging trading conditions. We are rolling out a new equipment hire offering to complement our existing services.

We are responding to short-term demand from clients who are grappling with the challenges posed by COVID-19, including lockdowns and social distancing measures, as well as longer-term trends around the launch of more temporary and flexible catering solutions.

The hospitality industry has endured a torrid 12-months thanks to multiple lockdowns, which have closed many businesses for long periods of time and limited capacity when open. As such, many businesses are now looking to hire the equipment they need in the short term while they get back on their feet, and more certainty emerges about the sector’s future trading parameters.

In addition to this, long-term social distancing guidelines could force many businesses to realign catering operations to offer customers service outside in gardens, marquees and other locations – all of which may require new equipment but only for the short term.

Meanwhile, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry was already seeing a trend for more seasonal pop-up catering solutions. Offering a hire service also caters to this market of seasonal entrepreneurs.

The new department will be led by Kyle James, our compliance and installation manager. We also anticipate creating two new jobs based on the service.

Kyle said:

“The past 12 months have created unprecedented challenges for the hospitality industry and like every business, we have had to remain nimble and alert to those changes as we look to help our clients through these tough times. These challenges have also created new types of demand that were not there before and we are reacting to those as well by launching this new offering.

“We have responded to the needs of our clients in launching this new service. At times like these when many businesses are strapped for cash and also looking to react to new conditions imposed on them around social distancing, a flexible solution to hire such as the one we are offering will be invaluable. We are already seeing many new inquiries and we look forward to helping our clients adapt and hopefully thrive again this year.”

Jacquie Jenkins, our managing director, added:

“Although the hospitality sector has experienced a difficult 12 months of trading, preceded by an unease for some two years due to Brexit, I firmly believe that, while challenges remain, there are some exciting times ahead.

“The hospitality industry is adapting to change faster than any other industry in the present circumstances. Business models are evolving fast with more outdoor trading, pop up bars and takeaway facilities, which will require temporary solutions for equipment. Our new service gives clients the opportunity to ‘Give it a go’ and to see how it works without the financial outlay of buying equipment upfront.

“It is our mission here at HB Catering and Refrigeration, to make sure our clients both old and new are supported throughout the reopening process and into the future. We are confident and excited to be part of that regeneration process of bringing customers’ plans and expectations to fruition with workable solutions either temporary or permanent.”

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