Nov 29, 2017
Commercial Kitchen Confidential:
3 Top Tips for Choosing a High-Quality Fire Suppression System You Can Afford
Commercial kitchen fires may seem hilarious in old scenes from "Faulty Towers", but the lack of an automatic fire suppression system is no laughing matter.
Commercial Kitchen Confidential:<br />3 Top Tips for Choosing a High-Quality Fire Suppression System You Can Afford

Yet while such sketches are strictly played for chuckles, they can still serve as a fitting backdrop for addressing the very real risks fire represents to small-to-medium-size commercial restaurants—and affordable ways to defend against them.

Recipe for Disaster

Forget laugh tracks and studio audiences. Think food-prep injuries. Slips, falls and liquor liabilities. Not to mention food-borne illnesses, allergies and contamination. Without a doubt, restaurants face any number of risks that can cause business disruption and significant financial losses. But none as are fearsome as fire.

The fact is, restaurants face a disproportionate risk of fire compared to other businesses for all the obvious reasons. Having a commercial kitchen with hot surfaces, grease, oil and open flames has a way of elevating danger.

While exact figures are hard to come by, it's estimated that nearly 3% of the 10 million restaurants and cafes worldwide experience a fire in a given year. Whether it's through flare ups, ventilation system issues, or electrical failures, According to the National Restaurant Association, 57% of those fires directly involve food cooking equipment. The average loss per establishment is a hefty 24.244 €.

Most of these losses are preventable. In many countries, complying with local fire codes and insurance policy requirements means commercial kitchens must be equipped with proper fire protection, including an automatic fire suppression system.

But that can get pricy. While large restaurants and chains can easily outfit their kitchens with automatic fire suppression technologies, up to now, many available systems can cost well north of €5,000.

So, what are small-to-medium-size restaurants to do? How do they find a simple and effective automatic fire suppression system they can actually afford? According to experts, there are three top tips for finding a system that's optimal for restaurants like yours.

Tip #1: Don't Go Piecemeal, Go All-in-One

Far too many restaurateurs make the mistake of trying to piece together complicated components in hopes of maximizing savings.

But it's much more cost-effective to narrow your search to complete automatic fire detection and suppression systems that have been pre-engineered for commercial kitchens. Ideally, you want a system that not only saves you money, but is easy to install.

Tip #2: Go Pneumatic & Maintenance Free

Look for features that can help make automatic fire suppression space and cost-efficient with virtually zero maintenance.

The FireDETEC®-System from Rotarex, for instance, features a unique, flexible, continuous-linear sensor tube that is easily installed directly inside the extractor hood, and is designed for a three-nozzle configuration to protect two cooking zones.

Blog imageLearn More about the FireDETEC system from Rotarex

Unlike systems with electronic or thermal bulb sensors, the entire tube is a pressurized sensor. If a flame-up occurs, the tube uses pneumatic technology to detect the fire and burst at the hottest spot closest to the fire, opening a valve and flooding the cooking area with extinguishing agent. The fire is snuffed out just moments after it begins, so you're back to work quickly.

Plus, the FireDETEC system doesn't require electricity and has no moving parts, so it's always ready for action.

Tip #3: Always Choose LPCB-Approved Quality

Look for compact fire suppression systems that are approved by the Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB), one of the leading international certification body in the fields of security and fire protection.

While purchasing fire suppression systems may be a non-issue for larger restaurants that can spare any expense, it can be a very big deal for smaller operations. So it's important to put things in proper perspective.

In many countries, automatic fire systems are required. It’s a recommended best practice everywhere else. It just makes good sense to buy a system anyway. Especially since there's an affordable option that's expert-certified to help minimize losses and avoid lengthy work stoppages.

More laughs, less liability

Running a successful restaurant can be a lot of work, and also very rewarding. But seeing it all go up in smoke is nobody's idea of a good time.

Keep these three top tips in mind when shopping for an automatic fire suppression system, and there's a good chance you'll keep on making bread uninterrupted, without spending too much dough.

Now that's something to smile about. To learn more about automatic fire suppression systems for small-to-medium-size commercial kitchens, download this FREE catalog.

Paul Delecourt
Paul Delecourt
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