Is Hood Cleaning A Good Business?

Is Hood Cleaning A Good Business?

A hood cleaning business can be rewarding, both personally and financially. Once you’ve become an expert in this kind of business, this can be your regular source of income. There are a lot of hood cleaning businesses out there that have proven their success in this industry.

If you want to venture in a hood cleaning business, you have to invest first in yourself. Learn all the skills and master the craft. Get the proper certifications if necessary. There is a great opportunity to earn higher profit for a start-up hood cleaning service. Commercial kitchen operators are mandated by law (NFPA-96 Standard) to have their kitchen hoods regularly inspected for compliance and so there is the need for their kitchen hoods to be cleaned at regular intervals. Other establishments like schools, hotels, hospitals, malls and airports also need this service. You can have a lot of potential clients when you think about it. These establishments are willing to pay for hood cleaning not only to be law-abiding business but also because of the numerous advantages it can give to them- minimizing fire hazards, improving air circulation inside their kitchens and many more.

Hood cleaning is usually done at night to avoid inconvenience. A regular cleaning takes 3-4 hours to finish. Another good thing about this business is it only needs a minimal start-up cost. You can start a hood cleaning business for a minimum of $2,000. As a beginner in this industry, you also do not need to rent a space to serve as your office. You can use your own home. You can also operate part-time if you wish to do so. The profit margins of a hood cleaning business usually range from 20-45%. Moreover, if you’ve become an expert on this field, you can earn bigger.

The chances of succeeding in a hood cleaning business may not be far from achieving. Just like any business, you must study and learn all the areas of your business to succeed. If you have the passion and the necessary skills to start a hood cleaning business, it might just give you the  financial success you’re aiming for.


Restaurant Fires in the United States

Restaurant Fires in the United States

Restaurants have all the necessary factors for a fire to flame out of control. Some of these are open flames, cooking equipment, electrical connections, a hot kitchen environment and paper products. It would be a great disaster for a business owner if he experiences such unfortunate accident. It could mean a great loss of fortune for the business or worse, closure of the business venture.

SOME FACTS ABOUT RESTAURANT FIRES IN THE UNITED STATES

These data are taken from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). These are informative statistics that might interest you if you are interested to venture in a food business like a restaurant.

  1. According to NFPA, from 2010-2014, approximately 61% of restaurant fires in America are caused primarily by cooking- with cooking equipment as the main cause. This constitutes three of five fires and 38% of direct property damage. When you think about it, it really makes sense that cooking equipment is the main cause of a restaurant fire since it is the constant source of heat and fuel throughout the day.

 

  1. Approximately 22% of these fires were caused by failure of cleaning, 14% due to electrical failure or malfunction, 12% is caused by mechanical malfunction and 8% is due to unattended equipment. If you leave your kitchen equipment unclean over time, the possibility of grease build up arises. A major build-up of grease in the kitchen can also cause fire hazards.

 

  1. The major cooking equipment that can contribute to a fire are the following:
  • Deep Fryers- 21%
  • Cooktops or ranges- 14%
  • Cooking grills- 6%
  • Ovens- 5%

 

  1. Restaurant fires resulted in property damage of about $165 million every year. It is important to know here that not only the restaurant building is affected but also other nearby establishments if the fire is not controlled right away. Also, lives of people can be at risk when a fire accident occurs.

RECENT RESTAURANT FIRE INCIDENT IN THE UNITED STATES

On the evening of July 16, the Michelin restaurant Manresa in Los Gatos was damaged by fire. Fire fighters saw significant damage to the roof and the facilities inside the restaurant. The establishment is still close for business.

BASIC RESTAURANT FIRE SAFETY MEASURES

The best thing to prevent this kind of accident is to have preventive measures on hand. There are many ways to do this but let’s focus on two major ways.

  1. Preventive Maintenance
  • Install a fire suppression system in the kitchen. This one is important because as mentioned earlier, majority of the cause of restaurant fires is because of cooking equipment. This system can help supress flames by automatically dispensing chemicals. Always see to it that your fire suppression system is also well maintained.
  • Have fire extinguishers in different areas. These portable fire fighting items can come in handy whenever a small fire starts and can still be controlled.
  • Always have a regular maintenance of electrical wirings and equipment. Another cause of kitchen fires is the electrical wirings and equipment. Always check with your contractor for any fayed cords or electrical wiring, cracked or broken switch and other combustible electrical materials.
  • Have your kitchen exhaust systems regularly inspected. NFPA-96 Standard calls for a regular inspection of the kitchen exhaust systems installed in commercial kitchens. This can be done monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually depending on the classification of the business. It is done to prevent grease build-up which can also cause fire in the kitchen.

 

  1. Proper staff training
  • Train your staff to be familiar and to use fire extinguishers. It is better to stop a small fire before it burns up the whole establishment. Conduct trainings and seminars on the proper use of fire extinguishers as these can be of great help when an emergency arises.
  • Always inform your staff to clean the kitchen equipment regularly. This is done to prevent any build-up of grease in your kitchen equipment.
  • Inform your staff of proper disposal of cigarettes. Tell them also not to smoke near storage areas and make sure that cigarettes are out before disposing them in trash bins.
  • Handle chemicals properly. This goes especially to fire igniting chemicals. Always place them in well ventilated areas and keep them away from supplies, food supplies or any source of flames.

These are just some of the few methods that you can use to minimize the occurrence of a kitchen fire in your establishment. It is always better to prevent this than suffer a great loss of investment, property or even a life.


Why Vent Hoods are Important for Restaurants

Why Vent Hoods are Important for Restaurants

A range hood or vent hood is sometimes the largely overlooked appliance in commercial kitchens like restaurants. But although least appreciated, in reality it is one of the most valuable assets in a kitchen. Aside from providing a substantial filtering support for your stove or cook top, a range hood is designed to remove odors, heat and smoke that can occur when cooking in the kitchen. Restaurant owners make sure to invest in a good quality range hood to maximize the benefits it can give to them.

Below are some of the reasons why a range hood is a necessary appliance in food businesses such as restaurants.

HOW DO YOU DEFINE A RANGE HOOD?

To further understand the importance of this particular kitchen appliance, let’s try to define first the meaning of a range hood. A range hood is basically a device containing a fan that hangs above the stove or cook top. It is also commonly known as a vent hood or an exhaust hood. As mentioned earlier, it is designed to remove gases and odors in the kitchen.

Many vent hoods have filtration systems that exhaust the air to the outside environment while some vent hoods circulate the air back to the kitchen.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF HAVING RANGE HOODS IN RESTAURANTS

  1. A range hood contributes to a more clean air in the kitchen.

Notably the most important role of a range hood is to remove any unwanted gas and odors in the kitchen. When cooking or preparing for a meal, other people might end up dealing with the smoke and the odor that comes with it. With the help of a range hood, it drives away any unwanted particles in the air.

On another note, a range hood is good in cutting down the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is a gas that has potential health dangers in humans. Some studies conducted revealed that kitchens with no vent hoods have elevated levels of carbon monoxide than those kitchens that have vent hoods installed.

  1. A range hood makes your cooking more comfortable.

A range hood can contribute to a clean and comfortable cooking environment. Cooking produces heat so sometimes it is uncomfortable dealing with all the smokes around the kitchen.

A good quality range hood can make the life of a chef easier and all the other kitchen personnel. It will give them the freedom to explore more and be creative with their cooking style. When you’re comfortable in your working environment, you will be motivated to perform better.

  1. A range hood makes kitchen cleaning easier.

Cooking sometimes leave excessive moisture in the air and it is also a factor for grease build up which is sometimes hard to remove. Having a range hood prevents those things and makes your cleaning a little bit easier.

  1. A range hood provides better kitchen lighting.

An additional good feature of a range hood is the additional lighting it provides. This feature will be most beneficial to the chef because he can see well if he is preparing the dish in the right manner. Same goes when cleaning, a person can see much better and can clean all the areas in the cook top thus preventing the build-up of grease in the kitchen.

  1. A range hood is a good kitchen investment

This can come in handy if you want to re-sell your restaurant. A restaurant with a range hood installed has a higher market value than a restaurant with none. For this reason, a range hood is considered a luxury in every restaurant.

These are just some of the wonderful benefits of having a range hood installed in your restaurant. Having a good quality range hood can make a food business last because of the benefits and comfort it can give to the kitchen employees and to the employer as well.


Restaurant Degreasing is Important

covering some parts

Just like any material that needs maintenance and cleaning, your kitchen hoods also need regular degreasing to be able to keep their maximum performance. Oftentimes, your kitchen hoods are overlooked. But you should always remember that kitchen hoods pull away the smoke and odor in your kitchen which gives you the cooler kitchen environment you have.

Restaurant degreasing is important because it gives you the assurance of safety in your kitchen. It makes you compliant of the governing standard which will help you stay in the business. NFPA-96 Standard outlines the frequency of cleaning your kitchen hoods. They can be done monthly, quarterly, semi-annually and annually. This will depend on the size of your kitchen hoods and the amount of cooking process involved.

Restaurant degreasing can be done in two ways. The first is called scraping. This method is the more economical and is extremely effective when done properly. It’s accomplished by a person simply scraping the accumulation of grease from the walls of the exhaust system. Although scraping is an effective method of removing grease for the exhaust system, it’s not the most thorough method because there are certain areas which are unreachable due to human’s limit. The second method is called pressure washing or steam cleaning. This method is the alternative to scraping. Though the down point of this method is that it is more costly and time consuming since it requires considerable preparatory work to control waste water and more expensive equipment is needed. However, this method will clean ductwork down to “bare metal” which is the recommendation of the NFPA-96 Standard. This method delivers impressive results and provides an absolute thorough cleaning of every corner of the exhaust system.

Always have degreasing for your restaurant because it gives many benefits for you and your kitchen employees.


Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning

KITCHEN EXHAUST CLEANING

Building owners especially restaurant owners, should comply not only with proper sanitation standards but also with proper cleaning of their exhaust systems. Kitchen exhaust cleaning is the process of removing greases that have accumulated inside the exhaust systems of commercial kitchens. A proper cleaning of the entire kitchen exhaust system includes the hoods, filters, fans and all associated horizontal and vertical ductworks. It is important to monitor this because when left unclean, these exhaust systems can accumulate grease over time which is extremely prone to fire hazards. Approximately one of three restaurant fires are caused by grease. However, when an exhaust system is cleaned regularly, chances of a duct fire is extremely low. Exhaust systems must undergo inspection at certain intervals, with constant usage, to know if sufficient grease has accumulated and if cleaning is already necessary.

GOVERNING REGULATION

The actual commercial kitchen exhaust system cleaning guidelines are stated in the National Fire Protection Association Standard 96 otherwise known as the Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations. This regulation provides the minimum fire safety standards related to the design, installation, operation, inspection, and maintenance of all public and private cooking operations. All commercial kitchen operators and kitchen exhaust hood cleaners must observe strict compliance with this regulation.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD KITCHEN EXHAUST SYSTEMS BE CLEANED?

The answer lies on NFPA-96 Standard section 11.4, “the entire exhaust system shall be inspected for grease build up by a properly trained, qualified and certified person(s) acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction and in accordance with Table 11.4”

Type or Volume of Cooking Frequency Frequency
Systems serving solid fuel cooking operations Monthly
Systems serving high-volume cooking operations such as 24-hour cooking, charbroiling or work cooking  

Quarterly

Systems serving moderate-volume cooking operations Semi-annually
Systems serving low-volume cooking operations, such as churches, day camps, seasonal business or senior centers  

Annually

 

METHODS OF CLEANING

There are two primary methods of cleaning kitchen exhaust:
• Scraping- This method is the more economical and is extremely effective when done properly. It’s accomplished by a person simply scraping the accumulation of grease from the walls of the exhaust system. Although scraping is an effective method of removing grease for the exhaust system, it’s not the most thorough method because there are certain areas which are unreachable due to human’s limit.
• Pressure washing or steam cleaning- This method is the alternative to scraping. Though the down point of this method is that it is more costly and time-consuming since it requires considerable preparatory work to control wastewater and more expensive equipment is needed. However, this method will clean ductwork down to “bare metal” which is the recommendation of the NFPA-96 Standard. This method delivers impressive results and provides an absolute thorough cleaning of every corner of the exhaust system.

Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning At Regular Intervals

Most kitchen exhaust cleaning companies offer both methods for cleaning kitchen exhaust systems. They even recommend doing both methods at regular intervals to maintain maximum efficiency and prevent grease build up.

A responsible commercial kitchen operator must know the importance of maintaining the exhaust system clean of grease, prevent build up and reduce the risk of a fire hazard. After all, a well cleaned and a well maintained commercial kitchen brings safety to the employer, employees and its customers.


Fire Suppression System and Kitchen Hood Cleaning

Restaurant fire is something that is not good for a restaurant owner. A restaurant fire poses a serious damage in your property investment and people’s lives. If you own a restaurant, fire safety should also be in your checklist. According to the National Restaurant Association, 57% of all restaurant fires originate from cooking equipment. You have to think of safety and preventive measures for your restaurant safety.

There are two helpful ways by which you can prevent the occurrence of a restaurant fire. The first one is installing a fire suppression system in your kitchen and the second one is regular kitchen hood cleaning.

How can your restaurant benefit from fire suppression systems?

To protect your investment and its occupants, you may need to invest in a kitchen fire suppression system. A fire needs three things to thrive: oxygen, heat and fuel. Once the system detects a fire, the nozzles above the appliance will discharge wet chemicals. These wet chemicals are engineered to quickly put out fires by covering the flames and starving them of oxygen. As soon as the system trips, the gas line to the appliance will also be immediately cut off, depriving the fire of fuel. Fire suppression systems can discharge different chemicals for different applications. For example a different chemical will be used for grease fires than for oil or electrical fires. Since fires produce a lot of smoke, the hood automatically turns on to remove the smoke from your kitchen. Kitchen hood suppression systems respond automatically to fires, which minimize loss.

What is kitchen exhaust system cleaning?

Kitchen exhaust cleaning is the process of removing greases that has accumulated inside the exhaust systems of commercial kitchens. A proper cleaning of the entire kitchen exhaust system includes the hoods, filters, fans and all associated horizontal and vertical ductworks. Commercial kitchen operators need to comply strictly because they are mandated by NFPA-96 Standard.

How does kitchen exhaust system cleaning prevent fire?

Over time, your kitchen exhaust system accumulates grease from your cooking process. Depending on the food you regularly cook, how you prepare it, and how often you cook, your kitchen hoods may accumulate grease. Grease can be a factor of a restaurant fire. It can easily ignite whether in solid, liquid or vapour form. If you regularly clean your kitchen exhaust system, you can reduce fire hazards in your restaurant. Regular cleaning means monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually. It will depend on the findings of your kitchen exhaust system. Your kitchen hood cleaning company can scrape the grease on the walls of your kitchen hoods. They may also use pressure washing to ensure a thorough and proper cleaning of your exhaust system. NFPA-96 Standard requires cleaning to “bare metal” so they may use caustic chemicals in cleaning. Make sure that the people you hire for the job are properly qualified and certified.

It is much less expensive to prevent kitchen fires than to repair a structural damage after a fire. Invest in quality fire suppression system and monitor the regular cleaning of your kitchen hoods to prevent restaurant fires.


Pressure Cleaning for your Restaurant

There is no shortage of areas to clean in a restaurant- in addition to the cleaning tasks for ducts, signage, dumpster areas and the parking lot, all areas need consistent cleaning. Such an array of surfaces that need to be cleaned frequently demands a cleaning solution that is easy to use, and flexible. This is why pressure washing is a necessity for those in the restaurant business.

Benefits of Pressure Washing different areas of your restaurant

The look and cleanliness of a restaurant’s front entrance are important. This is the first line where people judge from the outside, especially if they do not know anything about your restaurant. One vital way to ensure the presentation of your establishment’s front entrance is kept-up is through pressure cleaning. Pressure washing service should be performed as need usually once a month or every other month.

Pressure washing is employed by food businesses and homeowners due to the following reasons:

  • To reduce allergies caused by dirt and other pollutants
  • To minimize hazards
  • To improve aesthetics

It is important to maintain a clean restaurant for your customers, as well as any health inspectors who come through. They expect to see clean floors, walls, sidewalks and vent hoods. A clean restaurant can give them the proper impression that you value cleanliness and order in your restaurant. It can also help you attract more customers because of the good ambience and since your restaurant is clean, it will give them the impression that the food you serve is prepared and cooked in a clean manner, too.


Hood Cleaning Can Keep You in Business

Hood Cleaning Can Keep You in Business

A food business can be your regular source of income and it can also be a great investment for some. Many businessmen try to venture in the food industry because chances of earning big are high. Why? All people have to eat at least three times a day. The only room for competition is what type of cuisine you serve and how well you prepare your dishes.

However, not only the type of food you serve and the quality of service you give to your customers can be the basis of success of your food business. These can be considered as small steps. You also need to consider small things. For example, would you believe that a well maintained kitchen hood cleaning can actually contribute in the success of your business?

Let me tell you how.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF HOOD CLEANING IN FOOD BUSINESS?

Complying with proper hood cleaning is not only mandated by the law (NFPA-96 Standard), but it can also play a major role in the success of your restaurant business.

  1. A well-cleaned kitchen hood can reduce or minimize fire hazard.

All commercial kitchens have installed hoods to prevent grease, smoke and odors from spreading in the kitchen. While it is true to its job of preventing grease build up, these unsavory elements sometimes stick to the top of the kitchen hoods going to the fans, ducts, hoods and vents. You know that a grease build-up over time can be a cause of fire. However, if your kitchen hood is regularly inspected and cleaned, chances of fire is low.

 

  1. A well-cleaned kitchen hood helps improve air circulation.

Cleaning your hood helps in improving the air ventilation inside the kitchen. If your kitchen hood is clogged with grease, and other unwanted particles, it might even affect the quality of the food you serve due to high presence of carbon monoxide in the area. A well-cleaned kitchen hood helps in preventing carbon monoxide poisoning. It also creates a more comfortable working environment for your staff.

 

  1. A well-cleaned kitchen hood contributes in energy efficiency.

In relation to the previous argument, a well-cleaned hood also helps in saving energy. Since it improves the air circulation inside the kitchen, it also increases the efficiency and performance of your equipment. In a businessman’s point of view, more efficient kitchen equipment means more production at lower costs. In the long run, you will be saving on your energy bills and maintenance costs as well.

 

  1. A well-cleaned kitchen hood is in compliance of governing standards.

NFPA-96 Standard has the detailed guidelines on the proper maintenance of the whole kitchen exhaust system. It is mandated by this standard to have a regular inspection of the cleaning done in your exhaust system. Failure in meeting these guidelines can cost you a lot of time and money, or worse, you can be put out of business.

Kitchens are held to a high standard of cleanliness for the benefit of those who work and dine in the restaurant. Always keep in mind that sometimes in business, the small things may matter more. Having your kitchen hood cleaned regularly will benefit you in the long run and will keep you in business.

 


How Important is Certified and Insured Hood Cleaning

Regular kitchen hood cleaning is a necessity for any commercial kitchen operator. NFPA-96 Standard strictly requires all restaurant operators to comply with kitchen exhaust system cleaning. This regulation provides the minimum fire safety standards related to the design, installation, operation, inspection and maintenance of all public and private cooking operations. The regulation also states that only qualified and licensed people are allowed for this kind of job.

Benefits of a clean kitchen exhaust system

  • Reducing fire hazard

Primarily, this can be the main reason behind the cleaning process. As stated earlier, grease accumulation can cause a restaurant fire. Grease can easily ignite in solid, liquid or vapour form. Having a regular clean-up of your kitchen exhaust system can help reduce the risk of a fire hazard.

  • Maintain proper air flow inside the kitchen

Having an improved air flow inside the kitchen creates a cooler working environment for you and your kitchen staff. It helps in reducing odours and excess smoke caused by grease and oils. Excessive cooking can cause high presence of carbon monoxide in your kitchen which can cause poisoning.

  • Extends the life of the kitchen exhaust fans

Regular inspection and cleaning of your kitchen exhaust system will make your exhaust fans last longer. It will also help the fans to maximize their performance in terms of exhausting odours and other smoke inside the kitchen.

  • Compliance with NFPA-96 Standard

Inspectors usually ask for certificates issued by professional cleaning experts as proof of your compliance with the existing standard. Failure to comply with the standard can be bad for your business standing.

  • Compliance with state and local health codes and regulations

Aside from the fire safety standard stated in NFPA-96, you also have to comply with your local health codes and regulations. Clean air is important inside your whole kitchen for the benefit of your employees.

Why do you need to a certified and insured kitchen hood cleaning operator?

  1. To make sure you are dealing with professionals

Your chosen kitchen hood cleaning company should be certified and insured to be sure that whom you are dealing with are professionals. If they passed the exam to qualify as a kitchen hood cleaning company, that means they are knowledgeable enough for the job.

 

  1. To maintain compliance with NFPA-96 Standard

Certified kitchen hood cleaning companies are knowledgeable enough of the governing standard. They know where the areas that needed cleaning are located, and the quality of cleanliness that your kitchen exhaust system needs. Professional kitchen hood cleaning companies need to have sufficient knowledge in order to help their clients maintain compliance with the standard.

 

  1. To acquire certification as proof of compliance

After thorough cleaning, your kitchen hood cleaning company will give you a certification which you can use to show that you are compliant with NFPA-96 Standard. Most reputable hood cleaning companies will also recommend further actions to areas that needed more attention.

 

  1. To ensure proper and thorough cleaning

The standard requires cleaning down to “bare metal”. A certified kitchen hood cleaning company knows the definition of this. You cannot clean your kitchen hoods by yourself because you do not know the areas that need proper cleaning. Hiring a certified cleaning company will give you the peace of mind that your kitchen hoods are well-cleaned and maintained.

 


Putting up a Hood Cleaning Business

Every structure whether residential or commercial has a kitchen. All kitchens have kitchen hoods installed because of the many benefits it gives to the owner. Businessmen owning food businesses are mandated by law (NFPA-96 Standard) to have their kitchen hoods regularly cleaned and inspected. Therefore, putting up a hood cleaning business can be a good business venture. Other establishments like schools, hotels, hospitals, malls and airports also need this service. You can have a lot of potential clients when you think about it. These establishments are willing to pay for hood cleaning not only to be law-abiding business but also because of the numerous advantages it can give to them- minimizing fire hazards, improving air circulation inside their kitchens and many more.

What will you need?

The following are the things you need to put up your own hood cleaning business.

  • Liability insurance
  • Business license
  • Certification
  • Pressure Washer
  • Buckets
  • Caustic Chemicals
  • Lubricants
  • Wands

How to start a hood cleaning business?

  1. Enrol in a course offered by the International Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning Association (IKECA) to become a certified hood cleaner. You need to study and learn by heart the NFPA-96 Standard and all its sections. This is the existing standard for all kitchen hood cleaning business. in addition to cleaning and polishing the hood, you need to clean the surrounding area, contain the grease, degrease filters, clean out air ducts and repair and install fans, motors, panels, or filters.

 

  1. Go to your local city licensing department. Operating as kitchen hood cleaning contractor requires you to obtain a business license to operate. Apply for your license and purchase liability insurance for your business.

 

  1. Purchase necessary equipment that you need: access panels, repair tools, protective sheet for covering kitchen appliances, degreasers, filters, pumps, hood stickers, cleaning buckets, caustic chemicals, pressure washer, rubber gloves, boots, and others. Try to purchase a vehicle and register it under your business.

 

  1. Rent a place which will serve as your office. If you do not have yet the sufficient capital to rent an office, you can use a portion of your house to serve as your temporary office. When you saved up the amount you need, you can rent your own office.

 

  1. Hire people to do the cleaning job. Send them in trainings so they can be qualified. Purchase uniforms for them and give them the proper compensation.

 

  1. Learn how to bid on commercial or government contracts as this will give you sure jobs. However, you need to make sure that you have the right manpower and the right equipment to perform these contracts.

 

  1. Study the market and set your hood cleaning rates based on the current market rates in your area. You may choose to be paid on a per hour basis or on a flat rate basis. If you are new to the hood cleaning industry, you need to work hard especially on your first project. This will give them the impression that you are serious on this job and they may recommend you to other people who need hood cleaning. You may also offer discounts and promos to your loyal customers.