FOG (Fats, Oils and Grease) Management is a critical component to running an efficient, clean, and compliant kitchen. Whether in a restaurant, communal kitchen, or industrial cooking facility, properly handling FOG disposal and maintaining FOG systems is vital. For restaurants, there are 3 main systems that need to be managed. Those systems are as follows:
Read along to learn more about how each system works and is managed.
It does not matter if you are a large chain or a small mom n pop, if you fry food, then you have waste cooking oil. Every restaurant with fryers, at some point, must drain the waste cooking oil and refill the fryer with fresh oil. Properly disposing of your waste oil is a key part of FOG Management. Some restaurants will install an internal drain or vacuum system, requiring kitchen employees to simply pump out or vacuum out the fryers. The waste oil will then be captured in a tank inside the building. The ‘old school’ way is to drain the fryer oil into a bucket or tub and dump it into a waste oil collection bin behind the restaurant. The FOG Management comes into play through a recycling/disposal company coming on a regular basis to empty these collection containers, maintaining the internal systems, and ensuring that there are no leaks. Maintaining the volumes in the waste containers is important as overflows and spills can prove costly and time-intensive clean-ups.
The drainage system from dishwashers, sinks, and floor drains is the most complex system of grease management. As previously discussed, most of the grease and waste cooking oil is disposed of through proper disposal and recycling. However, some of this waste winds up finding its way down the drain. FOG is not a friend to the municipal wastewater treatment facilities and therefore, Grease Traps and Interceptors are installed to capture grease on site, before it makes its way to the municipality system. While Grease Traps and Interceptors perform the same function, they differ in size and placement. Grease Traps are smaller, interior units while interceptors are large, underground units. It is important to have regularly scheduled maintenance on these units, as well as their associated piping. Pumping out the grease and waste oil build up from inside these units maintains their structural integrity and functionality. It also keeps your restaurant compliant with local ordinances. The inlet and outlet pipes connected to the trap or interceptor also needs regular maintenance. It is good practice to have them line jetted while servicing the units to keep the wastewater flowing and preventing smells, clogs, and costly internal plumbing issues.
When water, either from either frozen foods or foods that absorb water, are dropped into a fryer full of hot oil, that water/moisture evaporates off. The fumes from this contain both the moisture/water as well as some of the oil or grease from the fryer. This may also occur when cooking meat or poultry on the griddle. Hood and Vent Systems are installed above the fryers and griddles to capture these fumes. Over time, the FOG contents build up in the Hood and Vent system and need to be cleaned out. Excess buildup in the Hood and Vent system leads to odors, poor air quality, and even spontaneous kitchen fires. Regularly scheduled and recurring Hood and Vent cleanings will keep your air clean and your kitchen safe. It will also keep the Fire Marshall happy!
It is important to maintain these three systems in a restaurant. Partnering with a full-service provider like Evergreen will assist your restaurant in managing these systems in a simple and affordable manner. Just remember that these systems that do not garner much attention are often the most expensive if they fail and are not properly maintained.