Setting Up Outdoor Kitchens for Success

Service technicians highlight mistakes, share advice for operators who are opening outdoor kitchens.

summer terrace

As spring unfolds and, soon, gives way to summer, al fresco dining becomes a simple and welcome pleasure in many regions.

Outdoor kitchens, however, require careful consideration, with some different concerns than those you may find indoors. FER checked in with several service technicians for from-the-field advice; here’s what they said:

  • For anyone designing a new outdoor kitchen, Brandon O’Kelley, lead technician for Sam Service’s Suwanee branch (servicing Atlanta and North Georgia), warns against planning layouts solely for operational convenience. Rather, consider utility requirements, he suggests. “Choosing to place a sink next to a steamer or combi oven, for example, can be done correctly with one water supply manifold with fewer component costs when sized adequately,” he says. “The same could be said for some other utilities as well.”
  • Speaking of utilities, Troy Watson, tech supervisor for Mesquite, Texas-based RSI’s Central Business District (downtown Dallas), warns against extension cords, which are often improper for powering outdoor equipment. “It can overload the circuit or cause the equipment to prematurely fail because of inadequate voltage,” he warns. To catch this and more, Watson highly recommends planned maintenance on outdoor kitchens.
  • Chris New, tech supervisor for RSI’s East Region, recommends that operators pay mind to ventilation. “Air needs to be able to circulate for the equipment to run optimally,” he says. “Something as simple as adding fans is an easy and cost-effective solution for outdoor kitchens to assist with circulating air.”
  • Proper cleaning, and adherence to manufacturer-approved chemicals for cleaning, marks another important maintenance aspect, adds O’Kelley. With refrigeration equipment, he recommends checking condensor coils for debris. On the hot side, he says to remove grill burners, taking care to brush over ports. “When in doubt, it’s always best to reference a manual for the manufacturer’s recommended procedure for properly maintaining the equipment,” he says.

Later Days

Lastly, when the time comes to close your outdoor kitchen for the season, be sure to properly drain anything with water running through it, including ice machines, reminds RSI’s Watson.


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