Tag Archives: Maintenance
In May 2017, she expanded her company, the Pudding Kitchen from producing her products in the family home into a converted milking parlour and took possession of her biggest asset: a Rational electric SCC WE 61 oven. It was, she readily admits, one of the best decisions she has ever made.
The Pudding Kitchen began from an idea Rachel had 20 years ago for her own little cottage industry making puddings. In 2011, the dream came to fruition and Rachel opened the Pudding Kitchen for people to buy homemade cakes and puddings to eat for themselves or pass off as their own.
The company’s expansion to new premises gave Rachel the opportunity to purchase a new oven and having taken the recommendation from a renowned chef and one of her best customers, she attended a Rational demo with an open mind. The capabilities of the Rational oven convinced her of her need and as luck would have it, an ex-demo appliance became available.
“The initial installation wasn’t without its challenges,” confesses Rachel. “The appliance needed some work to get it into full working order and AC Services rose magnificently to the task. The engineers cleaned and tweaked it until it was fully operational and I couldn’t be happier with it.”
AC Services On Hand
AC Services have been a constant for the Pudding Kitchen and its progression. From a major incident where a power surge took out the oven, the fridge and freezer to repairing small faults and supplying cleaning materials, the company has kept the new oven performing to its capacity.
“The value of AC Services is that they employ real people who know my history,” continues Rachel. “Regardless of the fact that I am a relatively new customer, they are willing to come out at a moment’s notice to check the appliance. Once the warranty on the oven is up, I shall take out a maintenance programme with AC Services so that I can have peace of mind, knowing that should anything occur with the oven, I have full support.”
The Pudding Kitchen’s cakes and puddings are legendary in Somerset. Customers can choose from a number of cheesecakes, such as the silky coffee cheesecake topped with Italian meringue ‘froth’ and chocolate sprinkles or walnut and butterscotch cheesecake, with chopped walnuts throughout. The ginger and mango flavoured cheesecake is infused with warming ginger and swirled throughout with mango, all sitting on a ginger nut base and topped with tiny pieces of ginger stem.
Citron tarts are made with fresh lemons, free-range eggs and locally produced double cream, encased in all butter crispy pastry with the pear and chocolate tart featuring poached pears and shards of chocolate “nestling under a blanket of frangipane and almondy loveliness”.
Roulades come in amazing flavours, such as the beautifully rich, tangy lime and cream filling encased in a light as air meringue, topped with almonds for a crunchy finish and passion fruit and seasonal berries, a meringue roulade filled with vibrant tasting passion fruit curd, fresh cream and seasonal berries.
The company also produces individual puddings and maintains a presence for its homemade desserts in North Somerset at the Midsomer Norton Farmers’ Market.
For details on AC Services Southern and how we can help your catering company with your Rational and Frima equipment, call us on 01452 322222.
A question that has often puzzled me is when should preparing for Christmas really start? If we were in the USA then we would already be in the throes of Happy Holidays marketing. But in the UK there is the automatic groan when the first Christmas advert appears. Or the C-word is mentioned at a networking meeting.
An enforced watching of daytime television last week, revealed that already it is not only DFS encouraging you to order now in time for Christmas, but there is an advert for Christmas 2018. Clearly it is never too early to start planning!
All families and most businesses have traditions around Christmas and New Year. Whether that is the day off for Mum with Christmas dinner in a restaurant or the Boxing Day walk and trip to the pub.
For businesses it’s party season. Or the insistence that Christmas Eve is a half day even though no work is done. Of course this year as the 24th is a Sunday that tradition does not apply!
In some ways the Americans are right. The last week of December and turn of the year is all about partying, feasting and holidaying. Of course the early Christian Romans beat the Americans to it when they chose the 25th December as the day to celebrate. As this was the time of the pagan revelry of Saturnalia and the festival of Sol Invicta (the Unconquered Sun), it was an easy transfer.
So what’s this to do with Rational, Frima and AC Services?
Sol Invicta celebrated that the winter solstice had passed. By 25th December, it is usually possible to see the days once again drawing out. By January 1st it is clear this is happening, so we can look forward to future harvests and eat and drink what we have.
AC Services Southern has fallen into the tradition of highlighting to owners of Rational ovens and Frima vario-cooking centres that early October is the time to prepare for the feasting season before it’s too late. Whether that’s because the autumn equinox has passed and the days are clearly shorter, we don’t know!
But now is the time to plan to have your ovens serviced to avoid disasters on the big days. Remember, remember preventative maintenance is almost always cheaper than breakdown catering disaster.
Prepare for Celebrations, Act Now
So there is no better time to book a service for your Rational oven in time for Christmas! Why not also order your cleaning products now and avoid the impending price increases?
AC Services (Southern) are more than happy to help. We offer a range of packages to suit any budget for service. Our aim is to help you take some of the stress out of December. If you own a Rational oven in South, South West England and South Wales, we are the local cost effective provider of all your Rational oven and Frima vario-cooking centre service needs.
So, if you’re preparing for Christmas, please talk to one of the team on 01454 322222.
AC Services (Southern) has again received the SafeContractor accreditation. This seal of approval is issued by Alcumus and is testament to the company’s health and safety arrangements, policies and qualifications of contractors. This third party accreditation scheme confirms a company’s competency in the practice of health and safety.
AC Services received the accreditation following a stringent vetting process which examined all health and safety procedures and their track record for safe practice. It is used by thousands of organisations in the UK including SMEs and FTSE 100 companies.
Indeed there are a further 300 nationwide businesses, from several key industries, who have signed up for a separate scheme to select only accredited contractors for services including building, cleaning, maintenance, refurbishment or electrical and mechanical work.
Seal of Approval
AC Services will continue to use the SafeContractor seal of approval on their documentation and marketing material and will be included on the SafeContractor website, accessible only to registered users and signed up client organisations, enabling them to choose a potential accredited contractor.
Gemma Archibald, Director of Alcumus SafeContractor said: “Major organisations simply cannot afford to run the risk of employing contractors who are not able to prove that they have sound health and safety policies in place. More companies need to understand the importance of adopting good risk management in the way that AC Services has done. The firm’s high standard has set an example which hopefully will be followed by other companies within the sector.”
Helen Hagger, MD of AC Services is delighted but not surprised at the accreditation. “We take health and safety extremely seriously and our organisation has adhered to the highest standards both in the office and in the field when we service our clients. We are proud to consistently employ best practice in our operations and the SafeContractors seal of approval is testament to this.”
There has been plenty of speculation in the media recently about schools. Labour has announced an ambitious plan to put VAT on private school fees and use the money to fund free meals for all primary school children.
No doubt this is a backlash against Theresa May’s plan to bring back grammar schools but it has inevitably caused some disagreement.
According to the National Association of Head Teachers, school budgets are currently “at breaking point”. Some schools, faced with their first real-terms spending cuts in decades, are making staff redundant. There are more pupils to every class and some subjects are being scrapped.
So parents are understandably a bit sceptical about Labour blowing £1.5 billion on lunches.
New Build Schools
However, the government has already pledged to build more schools, among them 140 new free schools which are destined to create a further 70,000 new places. This comes on the back of the pledge to create more grammar schools. The budget allocated for the changes is £500 million. But existing schools may require a lot more to bring themselves up to the standard of the new ones.
Teaching unions have said that although £216 million has been set aside in maintenance and refurbishment grants, as much as £6.7 billion is needed to return all school buildings to a good condition.
The government’s £0.5B package is also earmarked for public transport costs or minibuses for children from poorer families to go to grammar schools that are between two and fifteen miles from their homes.
School Meals Investment
All government-funded schools must offer free school meals to every pupil in reception, year 1 and year 2 and the funding is and will continue to be £2.30 per meal.
For kitchens, this money can go further with a bit of imagination and the right appliance for the cooking. When buying capital items, it is always good to consider all costs not just the ticket price of the oven. A reliable and well-known model such as the Rational oven range cuts down on maintenance and enhances performance. With a maintenance plan with AC Services (Southern), schools can be assured of immediate service should anything go wrong, and a routine service on a regular basis.
There are other ways of making the money go further. Create more exciting recipes and cook from scratch using healthy ingredients such as vegetables. Reduce wastage by investing in an oven that can keep food at the correct temperature throughout the meal serving times.
There is no way of predicting the future of the educational system, but if you are involved in school meals, then at least preempt any proposed changes and make sure that you are equipped with the most appropriate and up-to-date kitchen knowledge.
Call the team at AC Services to see how we can service and maintain your Rational and Frima equipment economically on 01454 322 222.
Just half a mile from the world famous Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust lies the 18th century Tudor Arms Lodge and Freehouse, a noble name for an establishment that truly lives up to its heritage.
Dating back three centuries, the building began life as a licensed beer and cider house for the Irish Navigator Soldiers who dug the nearby Gloucester to Sharpness Canal by hand. Today, it still serves a range of beers and alcoholic beverages to locals and visitors alike.
Country Pub of the Year
The fully-licensed premises is a family-operated freehouse, and has frequently been awarded CAMRA’s “Gloucester Country Pub of the Year”, but it also offers bed and breakfast accommodation as well as a sumptuous range of food served throughout the day.
In order to provide such tempting delicacies as garlic roasted breast of chicken on a bacon and mushroom sauce with crispy leeks and choice of potato, not to mention the full English breakfast available to guests, the Tudor Arms relies upon its Rational SCC Electric 101 Care Control oven.
“We installed the oven seven years ago,” comments general manager, Richard Sims, “and we are still as delighted with its performance now as we were then!” The freehouse has an ad hoc arrangement with AC Services (Southern) when it comes to maintenance.
“Obviously we get the required service as part of the maintenance programme, but we use AC Services when and if we have a problem, and although these are few and far between, it gives us great peace of mind to know that the company is at the end of a phone should something go wrong,” continues Rich.
“We turn around a couple of thousand covers every week, which shows how busy and popular we are. We not only get the loyal local trade but we also get visitors to the Slimbridge sanctuary which keeps us extremely busy particularly in high season. So our oven needs to be fully functional at all times. We can say with all honesty that the service is excellent.”
The Tudor Arms also boasts a large meeting hall which is ideal for conferences or meetings and its charming exterior invites guests from far and wide.
“The Tudor Arms is just one of our long-serving customers who use us on an ad hoc basis,” comments Helen Hagger, MD of AC Services. “Having purchased the Rational oven from one of our trade shows seven years ago, the Tudor Arms saw its potential for large-scale catering and with our backing and support 24/7, the premises are assured that the appliance is always in perfect working order and should anything go wrong, we are only a phone call away.”
This year, we had a steady and busy season here at AC Services (Southern) with thankfully no major crises. Although as always, we had a spattering of panic calls, in the main from those who did not heed our advice to pre-book a service before Christmas.
Sadly, it happens every year so now we are calling for everyone with a Rational oven to make a communal New Year’s resolution: call us NOW and arrange a service package for 2017.
We recommend that you have your ovens serviced at least once a year and ideally twice. We have three packages that suit all budgets, Silver, Gold and Platinum.
Silver, Gold and Platinum
The Silver Maintenance Contract is designed to cover labour costs for those customers, who have a limited budget. The response time is 24 hours and breakdown calls are attended seven days per week. We provide two preventative maintenance visits per year at six monthly intervals as well as a first time fix policy and we work to an agreed budget on spare parts when required.
The Gold Maintenance Plan is for Rational ovens under 10 years old and offers a more comprehensive and increased level of parts and labour cover. Again, the package offers 24 hour response time, with breakdown calls attended seven days per week. Under this plan, we guarantee to replace most parts that fail under the maintenance period up to the value of £1,000 per visit (genuine and original Rational parts used and some exclusions do apply)
Finally the Platinum Maintenance Contract is available for our customers, who require an individual tailored plan to meet their Rational oven servicing needs.
And as an incentive, we are honouring the 2016 price of each package, which begin at £900 until the end of February. We are reviewing the contract prices for implementation at the beginning of April.
AC Services (Southern) is responsible for servicing a number of Rational ovens within the southwest region and according to Helen Hagger, MD at AC Services, one of the main priorities is educating the owners about the benefits of regular servicing.
“Even though some ovens may still be in warranty, we advise a twice-yearly service,” she advises. “This is a great time to get ovens serviced ready for the next busy period, which is Valentine’s Day next month and look into having a contract where ovens are serviced twice yearly.”
For further details and a no obligation quote for your Rational oven maintenance contract telephone 01454 322222 or email us today on firstname.lastname@example.org
As I write, we have 83 days 4 hours 48 minutes and 33 seconds until Santa comes down the chimney. That’s 1996 hours in total, which doesn’t sound like a lot of time when you consider what you have to do before Christmas. Check for yourself on the Christmas Countdown Clock to see how the hours are whittling away…
For caterers, the countdown to the festive season has already begun. Restaurants are already displaying their Christmas menus, and advent calendars and chocolate treats have replaced suntan lotion and mosquito repellent on the shelves of the supermarkets.
So there is no better the time to book a service for your Rational oven in time for Christmas! Here are AC Services (Southern), we are more than happy to help and we offer a range of packages to suit any budget.
Over the festive period, the last thing you want is for your oven to play up or pack in. Regular cleaning is simply not enough to ensure perfect performance time and time again. For instance, even the smallest amount of grease or food residue can accumulate and unless it is cleaned thoroughly on a daily basis, this can cause long-term problems, so why put your Christmas service at risk.
Annual Service & Maintenance Contracts
There simply is no substitute for regular maintenance. Being on a low budget is no excuse as the initial outlay easily beats the costs incurred when an oven fails suddenly. The easiest way to prevent a breakdown of either yourself or your appliance is to invest in an Annual Maintenance Contract.
Preventative maintenance visits can highlight potential problems, which can be rectified before they cause a breakdown. This is in addition to our 24-hour response and in most instances, first time fix. We can offer two preventative maintenance visits per year working to a comprehensive schedule.
Rational Oven Maintenance Plans
As well as booking for an early service before Christmas, why not consider one of our preventative maintenance plans:
Gold Maintenance Plan
- Designed for Rational ovens under 10 years old
- A comprehensive and increased level of parts and labour cover
- 24 hour response time; breakdown calls attended 7 days per week
- Replace most parts that fail under the maintenance period up to the value of £1,000 per visit (genuine and original Rational parts used and some exclusions do apply)
- Two preventative maintenance visits per year at six monthly intervals.
Silver Maintenance Plan
- Designed to cover labour costs for those customers, who have a limited budget,
- 24 hour response time
- Breakdown calls attended 7 days per week
- Two preventative maintenance visits per year at six monthly intervals
- First time fix policy
- Work to an agreed budget on spare parts, when required
Platinum Maintenance Plan
- Available for our customers, who require an individual plan to meet their Rational oven servicing needs
- Individually tailored to meet the specific maintenance needs of rational oven owners
If you own a Rational oven in South, South West England and South Wales, we are the local cost effective provider of all your Rational oven service needs. Talk to one of the team on 01454 322222. Whether that’s for a Christmas service or to discuss a year round maintenance plan to save money and worry.
It’s been a hectic, yet controlled few months at AC Services Southern. The excesses of Christmas, following by Valentine’s Day have been circumnavigated successfully by the team, with plenty of Rational ovens serviced, fixed and repaired.
The most exciting news is the arrival of a new engineer, David! Coming from a catering background, he begins work this week covering the Gloucestershire area. Although he has ten years in the catering industry, he still has to undergo the extensive training that AC Services insists for its engineers.
“David will be trained comprehensively as with all of our engineers,” comments Helen Hagger, Managing Director at AC Services Southern. “This will involve an intense programme of learning and on-the-job experience, travelling around with other existing service engineers to find out exactly what is required for the job.”
Right Man for the Job
David has been hired as a replacement for an engineer who left a year ago, and according to Helen, the length of time taken to find a replacement is testament to the company’s strict guidelines on recruitment.
“We don’t just want to employ anyone who applies for the job,” she explains. “The candidate has to have the right background, the right attitude and the right aptitude to meet all of our demands. It’s not a simple 9 to 5 job: our engineers are on call constantly, and with the variables of the weather and traffic, it can make for a long and arduous day.”
With a host of events coming up later in the year, the team are geared up to service and maintain their clients’ appliances. “We have Mother’s Day and Easter within weeks of each other, which is always a busy time for the catering industry,” continues Helen. “In addition, we have the supplementary calendar events, including the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations and of course, the Rio Olympic Games.”
“These events pose a challenge to catering establishments to ensure that the food and sustenance they provide are readily available at the times they need to be. So we have pre-empted the rush by contacting all of our customers and reminding them to service their Rational ovens in advance of any big events.”
Excellent Start for AC Services Southern
2016 has started extremely well for the AC Services Southern team, and with the worse of the winter months we hope are over, there is a general relief that this time, they were spared the extremes of the weather.
“Four years ago, when the country experienced one of the heaviest snowfalls, we were still able to pull out all of the stops and help our customers with their problems,” concludes Helen. “This proved our willingness and capability to go the extra mile, literally in some cases, to provide the best service possible.”
If you need your oven serviced or repaired, simply contact AC Services Southern and make an appointment for an engineer to visit. If David turns up, be gentle!
However, it’s not enough just to run a damp cloth over your appliance and expect it to perform to the same standards time after time.
Here at AC Services (Southern) we advise Rational oven owners about the best ways to keep their ovens pristine. Rational oven cleaning is not rocket science but it is excellent common sense. So here are our top 4 Rational oven cleaning tips.
What happens if you don’t clean your unit on a daily basis? Simply put, grease and food residue, even the smallest amount, will accumulate and in time there is a risk of them catching fire.
For optimal hygiene purposes, ensure that you clean your unit every day. Use a non-abrasive cleaning agent with a soft cloth to clean the cooking cabinet seal. This will enable a longer service life. For the internal and external glass windows and the outer panel of the unit, again use a soft damp cloth.
To prevent corrosion, use vegetable or grease to the inside of the cooking cabinet, preferably every two weeks or so.
Look after the air filter. It may not be something that immediately springs to mind, but neglecting this piece of equipment again can cause nasty incidents. Luckily, the Rational has an in-built warning system when the air filter is soiled.
Remember, the unit cannot be operated without the air filter so when you take it out, make sure you put it back. And the most efficient way of cleaning the air filter is in the dishwasher.
What do you do with the drip tray? The drip tray collects the fat from roasting and grilling. It’s obvious that it needs to be emptied regularly, but ideally it needs to be cleaned on a daily basis. Again, the build up of grease and fat can have potentially serious implications as a fire risk.
Fourth Rational Oven Cleaning Tip
If you are not using the appliance, for example overnight or when going on holidays, leave the unit door ajar.
AC Services (Southern) provides a full range of cleaning tablets and fluids that are Genuine Rational Authorised Products, but basic daily house-keeping in cleaning the appliance and maintaining the stainless steel elements are the key to a prolonged and performance-enhanced life. Talk to one of the team on 01454 322222 or visit the AC Services (Southern) website for more information on the Gold, Silver and Platinum Maintenance Plans that we offer.
In the meantime, when you’re doing your Rational oven cleaning, have a look for the serial number of your unit to find out when it was made; as if it is the oldest in the UK and Ireland still in operation then you could win a new Rational oven and a trip to Landsberg in Germany as part of Rational UK’s 25 year celebrations.
The Dunkirk Memorial House in Taunton is owned by the British Legion and is one of the organisation’s care homes that provides for former servicemen and women or their dependents.
The Legion currently has six care homes providing short and long-term care around the country, including four with specialist dementia care.
Each provides long-term nursing and personal care, and the food is an essential element of the service; as Taff Davies, Head of Catering at the Dunkirk home explains, keeping all the residents happy all of the time requires skill.
Catering at Dunkirk
“We rely upon two Rational ovens to fulfil the catering needs,” he comments. “Both are in constant use and in my opinion, with many years experience as a catering manager in the armed forces, they are the best on the market.”
Dunkirk Memorial House has 60 rooms, as well as a 30-bed Dementia care wing and the emphasis within the facility is on independence. So having a varied menu from which the residents can make a choice is important to Taff, who since his arrival two years ago, has revolutionised the cooking arena!
“I prefer to make dishes from scratch, not serve up food that is pre-prepared,” he continues. “This led to many hours spent searching for suitable suppliers, but we eventually got there, and with the help of the ovens, we are now able to produce the highest standards when it comes to meals.”
The Rational ovens allow Taff and his team to bake, steam and roast a variety of meats and fish, enabling them to be able to produce locally grown and produced meals for the 84 residents who currently reside at Dunkirk. This to Taff is an important aspect of independent living.
“We refuse to serve up substandard food, as the residents at Dunkirk and all of the British Legion homes deserve the highest level of quality from their food.”
Should anything go wrong with the Rational appliances, Taff has organised a budget care package for the older oven, a Gas 62 2007 as the other, the G62 WE 2013 is still under warranty. Under the agreement, AC Services (Southern) make two scheduled services annually, and as always, are on call should anything go amiss, although as Taff admits, the majority of calls to the company are simply for new deliveries of cleaning tablets.
“The ovens have a variety of functions that help in everyday catering on a large scale, which were explained by the team from AC Services, and which help enormously in the preparation of healthy, fresh meals for the residents,” Taff concludes.
The British Legion home communities include men and women of varied ages and abilities, each with a dedicated social activity team who tailor activities to residents’ needs. As always, the charity is grateful for donations, so to make a donation, simply contact the British Legion on its website.