Tag Archives: Servicing

31 
May

Saving Cash and Service

ServiceWith the Jubilee celebrations, you can imagine the week of service phone calls AC Services had last week!

But to be honest being prepared is good. What we’re not looking forward to are the crisis calls during the celebrations. Those times when with the peak number of paying customers, a machine fails.

Sometimes it’s the result of a small fault ignored, that then has expensive consequences. And with everyone trying to save money after Covid, the number of those type of calls is increasing.

Small faults can become big problems

Running a catering business today is stressful enough without people adding to that stress with scare stories. But the ones below are real examples that have happened to catering colleagues recently:

  • Door gaskets over time wear or become damaged and so need replacing. Stacking ovens increases the chances of knock-on effects. The top oven leaks from a worn gasket onto the oven below. This takes out the control PCB and other components. Depending on the model, prices for a replacement PCB costs from £1080 upwards; while door gaskets start from £60.
  • Another result of worn door gaskets is that steam escapes. One effect of this is the ovens don’t cook correctly interrupting the smooth flow of service. Another is putting the oven on overnight clean, can end up coming back to a flooded floor.
  • Steam can cause no end of damage to various components and PCBs. An easy way in is through the overlooked cracked glass on a light bulb fitting. Or it could be a steam or drain hose failing that takes out the fan motor starting at £560.

Servicing is the cost-saving answer

Staying in business is about balancing cost with risk. Regular Rational servicing reduces the risks of fault repairs in mid-service that create lost revenue and unhappy customers. Don’t let the maintenance niggle grow into a costly fault from lack of servicing.

When servicing, we check multiple parts. To see what we cover please check out our May 2022 service checklist. A booked service call allows us to spend up to 2 hours on your oven. Servicing prices start from £195 plus VAT, dependant on model and avoids potential untimely costly repairs.

After the weekend is over, just check when you last had your Rational ovens serviced or whether there is a small fault that needs fixing. Then give our friendly team a call on 01454 322222.

Readmore..

Published Date: 31st May 2022
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News, Rational, Service plan
Tags: , ,


 

25 
Jun

4th July Catering Celebration or Bust?

Catering businesses

When the Prime Minister announced yesterday that most pubs and catering businesses could re-open or extend beyond a delivery service on 4th July, many in the sector were already wondering how. In the end it will boil down to an individual business choice.

A Bit of a Muddle

Official guidance and guidelines on what’s required were not available on 23rd June. Indeed, googling catering guidance brings up the Scottish government response as the first option. Given that the opportunity to open only applies to England, that’s not particularly helpful. But we are assured that the guidelines will be updated soon. In reality this will be too late for a 4th July opening for those who decide to open.

As the AC Services’ region is South West England and South Wales, we have some customers who can consider opening and some who won’t hear until 9th July. This is when the Welsh Assembly is next due to announce its decision.

In catering, timing and communication are everything. All catering businesses need to consider whether they wish to meet the opportunity of opening on 4th July or to start communicating to their clients the date when they will be open. They can then plan accordingly and manage the risks.

What might catering businesses need to do?

Details are sketchy of what might be required. It became further confused with the reduction of the 2m to 1m rule. What may be needed is to:

  • Provide mandatory table service for drinks as well as meals
  • Require staff to wear face masks and wash hands every 20 minutes
  • Use app-ordering by customers at table
  • Reduce the numbers of tables to comply with distancing rules
  • Provide options for sitting outside and perhaps Perspex screens between tables for those inside
  • Take all customer details to enable contact tracing should an outbreak occur.

Consider your team and your catering equipment?

Ultimately to open or not after 4th July is a business decision. This should consider whether there is sufficient demand from your customers to fill your restricted venue delivered by a trained team of staff supported by fully operational equipment. This was the decision faced by AC Services at the beginning of lockdown.

As we maintain and service Rational ovens in hospitals and other key services, we could not fully close. We did however have to furlough staff to balance demand against potential income.

With clients already preparing to re-open, we’re getting increasing calls to service Rational ovens. This allows us to unfurlough engineers as the sector begins to get back on its feet.

Calling us before opening allows us to schedule the engineer visits outside of service hours. This minimises both covid-19 risks and the chaos caused when a machine fails in-service. We’d recommend that if your machines have not been used for some time, that they are serviced first as the best way to save costs.

But we also recognise that some businesses will take the risk given Rational’s reputation for reliability. We’re sure that those businesses will understand if we are unable to respond immediately, as we used to, until we have our own team back at full strength. And if it does happen do call us on 01454 322 222 so we can discuss your options.

Readmore..

Published Date: 25th June 2020
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News, Ovens, Rational
Tags: , ,


 

19 
Nov

Are You Aware of ConnectedCooking

Rational's ConnectedCooking is the way forward for catering businesses

The world is becoming increasingly technology-enabled. Nowadays there seems to be an app or a Smart solution for almost everything. While some leave me wondering why there is a need, the same is not true of Rational Oven’s ConnectedCooking.

Since March 2017 Rational has been enabling its SelfCookingCenter® units with ConnectedCooking functionality and equipping them with Ethernet ports. More recently they’ve launched an app to create the world’s most state-of-the-art cloud-based networking solution for professional kitchens. It’s available on iTunes and Google Play Store . These advances bring real benefits to professional catering businesses.

Increasing Convenience

The app and the ports enable all your Rational SelfCookingCenter® or CombiMaster® Plus units to be connected to a single network completely automatically. As a manager you will always know what is going on in your kitchen through the dashboard. Even when you’re off-site and can make adjustments remotely through your own device in real time.

It also makes sharing your cooking programmes across all your units easier and quicker. This in turn removes time-consuming activities and ensures the consistency of food safety in your kitchen.

But ConnectedCooking is not just for larger kitchens. The secure remote access enables software updates to be installed, quickly like those on your laptop, so that your Rational is always running optimally. The app also makes it easier to access inspiration for new menus through new ideas from other foodservice professionals and Rational chefs.

Security of Food and Data

Food safety is a demanding challenge for modern kitchen operations. Ever-increasing government requirements and stringent hygiene standards require a great deal of administrative work. It’s also important to eliminate operator error as much as possible. ConnectedCooking automatically captures all the key HACCP information and displays it in a dashboard with the option to download and print.

The remote access can be authorised for your Service Partner, such as AC Services, as part of a service contract. This enables remote diagnostics for problems and can fix issues without the need for an engineer to visit. It also alerts AC Services that there might be an issue. As you would expect the system uses state-of-the-art encryption technology to keep all data secure and compliant with GDPR.

New Year Opportunity?

If your SelfCookingCenter® units were made after March 2017, you just need to connect them to your network by a LAN cable or wireless module and download the free app to get started by registering the units. If not then we would be delighted to come out in 2020 to retrofit them with the Ethernet interfaces.

Either way give the AC Services team a call on 01454 322 222 in January to discuss further ConnectedCooking functionality and how it benefits all sizes and types of kitchen. We can then make your maintenance issues even easier to solve, saving more time in 2020.

Readmore..

Published Date: 19th November 2019
Category: Blog, News, Ovens, Rational, Self Cooking Centre
Tags: , , ,


 

05 
Nov

Don’t Delay Service Today

Don't delay service today

We were rather hoping to bring good news this week, if not about Brexit then about the Rugby World Cup. Instead, we have a runners-up medal and a delay. But fear not, we also have a pre-Christmas general election to look forward to.

And unless you have taken a break from reality this weekend, you will notice that the Christmas and New Year countdown is beginning in earnest.

It’s time to start planning and where better than the annual service for your Rational appliances.

Spiralling Costs

There are two issues for all catering businesses to remember:

  1. you want to keep your oven in pristine condition for maximum and reliable performance.
  2. you don’t want to spend any more money over the festive period than you have already budgeted for.

The cost element can be far-reaching. It’s not just the expense in downtime if you have an oven failure, but also the cost of calling out an engineer if you don’t have a contract in place. Emergency call outs for one of AC Services’ engineers can be 1.5 times or double the normal rate if it has to be the weekend.

Not having a service contract is not cost efficient. Servicing is the key to optimum performance. Here at AC Services, we constantly reiterate this point. Simply put, don’t delay service today!

As an example, we had a customer last Friday with a problem. Unfortunately, the oven had not been serviced for a few years and as we couldn’t get to them on Friday, we dispatched an engineer on Saturday. The bill for an out-of-hours call out an unwelcome £500. A problem with the steam hose and subsequently the drain hose affected the cleanjet pump. This expensive crisis could have easily been averted with a service, which would have pinpointed any problem with the steam hose.

Don’t Delay Service Today

Helen Hagger, MD of ACS offers some friendly advice. “Even though some ovens may still be in warranty, you should still organise a twice-yearly service because we know from experience that a lot can go wrong in six months,” she explains. “We often see where one small thing goes wrong, if it is not put right, it has a knock-on effect. Don’t forget that our engineers have immediate access to the majority of parts which minimises any delay. It’s all about peace of mind and pre-empting potential problems.

For further details and a no obligation quote for your Rational oven maintenance contract telephone 01454 322222 or email us today on service@acservicessouthern.co.uk.

Readmore..

Published Date: 5th November 2019
Category: Blog, News, Ovens, Rational, Service plan
Tags: , ,


 

22 
Oct

Bowood Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort

Bowood Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort

Bowood Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort is located in the heart of Wiltshire nestled within the Bowood Estate. The luxurious hotel is surrounded by parkland landscaped by the famous Capability Brown.

It provides an idyllic retreat, whether for weekend breaks, golfing escapes, spa pampering, weddings or simply to savour the first-class cuisine. The Estate also contains Bowood House & Gardens, home of the Marquis and Marchioness of Lansdowne.

The hotel, itself, contains 43 beautifully furnished contemporary bedrooms and suites. Guests can enjoy the luxury spa with its infinity swimming pool, gym and pampering spa treatments. The golf course is particularly popular, with a full championship PGA 18-hole golf course.

Weddings, celebrations and conferences are fully catered for, with the backdrop of the surroundings adding to the ambience.

Dining Experience

The hotel is open all day for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea. It also caters for corporate events which means that the kitchens are always busy.

Replacing the old ovens over four years ago, Rational supplied two 201E SCC WE units for the main banqueting and conference kitchen, and a 101E SCC WE model for the brasserie. After the initial two-year warranty scheme, the hotel chose a maintenance contract package from AC Services (Southern) which, according to Steve Foster, Maintenance Manager at the hotel, is working perfectly.

The Rational ovens serve their purpose perfectly,” he comments. “They are not only reliable but robust and we have them serviced twice a year, once before the seasonal rush at Christmas.

Because we invested heavily in the ovens, we are determined to keep them maintained and extract the maximum amount of performance so apart from ensuring they are regularly and properly cleaned on our part, we can rely on AC Services to provide back-up at all times, not only with regular servicing but in case there are any problems. An engineer is sent out within 24-48 hours and the issue is always resolved with no disruption to our daily operation.”

This is vital to the chefs at the Bowood Hotel who provide the very best in cuisine using where possible, local suppliers. The hotel is dedicated to understanding and appreciating the importance of provenance, believing that the secret to crafting seasonally exceptional cuisine begins with the careful selection of only the freshest, sustainably reared meat, fish and fruit and vegetables.

Oven Ready

According to Steve, “the catering team is always striving to create both dynamic and contemporary menus for our guests to relish and savour during their stay no matter what the occasion might be.

This requires a reliable and capable oven, and the Rational ovens, supported by the maintenance package from AC Services, provide exactly what is required.

The Shelburne Restaurant serves daily delicious food from seasonal menus every day “prepared with passion and served with flair”. The Clubhouse Brasserie offers a menu ranging from traditional fish and chips to a Club sandwich. Weddings and conferences give the kitchen staff the creativity to provide the best cuisine possible, with the Rational ovens helping with this aim.

Readmore..

Published Date: 22nd October 2019
Category: Blog, Case Study, News, Rational, Service plan
Tags: , , ,


 

22 
May

Dining at the Bristol Lido and Glassboat

Bristol Lido

More than simply a swimming pool, the Clifton Lido in Bristol has gained a well-earned reputation for fine food. With a restaurant and a poolside bar, the former restored Victorian swimming pool has been designed for contemporary luxury.

Having first opened its doors in 1850, the swimming pool changed hands many times until its final closure in 1990. The threat of turning the building into flats was ever-present until 2006, when the Glass Boat company purchased the site. And following an extensive restoration project, the Lido opened to the public two years later. It now boasts a Grade II listing and a record as the oldest heated outdoor swimming pool in Britain.

Restaurant and Bar

The restaurant overlooks the pool on the original viewing gallery. It offers a relaxed and informal space with floor to ceiling doors sliding back to allow entry for the elements. The menus incorporate Moorish and Mediterranean cuisine, with a strong Spanish lilt, with ingredients sourced from small-scale hand-picked suppliers.

The set menu offers delicacies such as raw rhubarb, fennel, salted almond and goat’s curd salad for starters and warm North African mezze with falafel, tahini sauce and warm flat bread for mains followed by Basque-style burnt cheesecake, rhubarb and creme fraiche Pedro Ximenez and raisin ice cream for dessert.

The transformation of the venue into a chilled-out restaurant has been a resounding success, with “relaxed and unpretentious dining; where suits and robes sit cheek by jowl to enjoy great ingredients.”

Rational Oven Bristol

According to maintenance manager, Paul Wyatt, the kitchen equipment has been instrumental in this success, with a three-year old Rational electric oven working hard in the kitchen to supply perfect cuisine to diners.

We have an ad hoc contract with AC Services (Southern) with the oven” he explains. “It is serviced once a year but the company is always on hand should any minor problems arise.” Typically these issues comprise of general wear and tear due to the oven being constantly in use, but rarely, if ever do any big problems arise.

Glassboat Bristol

Glassboat Bristol

Paul has an affinity with Rational, as part of his job is to also look after the Bristol Glassboat restaurant.This is owned by the same company, and situated on Welshback in Bristol’s historic floating harbour. The venue has fast become an iconic eating house in Bristol, with tables that look out to the water through large, restored wooden windows, with views around the harbourside and to the city.

The restaurant opened 30 years ago, with the original boat dragged from the muddy waters of the river Severn and lovingly restored in the early 1980s. The Glassboat Brasserie menu consists of a classic French menu, carefully chosen and prepared using the best ingredients.

The food is simple in style but exquisite in taste, with a massive choice: rabbit terrine, cornichons, celeriac remoulade, provencale fish soup, aioli, rouille, crouton, fried pigs head, smoked eel and potato pancakes are just some of the delicacies on the menu.

And yet again, behind the success lies a Rational 101 SH oven, five years old and still going strong. “The big advantage of this appliance is that it is self cleaning,” continues Paul. “The chef just turns it on and it is ready for use. The reliability and performance is outstanding and plays a huge role in the continuing success and reputation of the Glassboat.”

Readmore..

Published Date: 22nd May 2019
Category: Blog, Case Study, News, Rational
Tags: , , , , ,


 

11 
Dec

AC Services Christmas Opening Times

AC Services Christmas Opening Times 2018So the big day is not far away, for which the country stocks up on totally unnecessary items for the festive period just in case they are needed. It’s amazing what you find on your shelves in February.

But rejoice, it’s at least another year before we hear those dreaded words again – Black Friday – and to put it in a political context, it’s only two more Brexit ministers till Christmas.

Shops have initiated Operation Santa Claus Frenzy and kids are busy writing lists using the Argos catalogue as a template.

If you followed my advice, you will have ordered the necessary cleaning accessories and booked to have your oven checked over before the holidays begin. If you haven’t, then get on to it today. Put it on that list! For those who live by the chaos theory, although the offices are closed on the key dates, we will still have engineers on call on the days in between because we know that sometimes bad things happen at the worst possible time. But just in case you are in any doubt, see below for clarification of our Christmas working hours.

AC Services Christmas Opening Times 2018

Here are AC Services Christmas opening times for 2018:

  • Thursday 20th December – normal opening hours – 8.15 a.m. to 5.15 p.m
  • Friday 21st December – normal opening hours – 8.15 a.m. to 5.15 p.m
  • Saturday 22nd December – office closed – Engineer on call for emergencies
  • Sunday 23rd December – office closed – Engineer on call for emergencies
  • Monday 24th December – Christmas Eve – office open – 8.15am to 3 p.m
  • Tuesday 25th December – Christmas Day, CLOSED
  • Wednesday 26th December – Boxing Day, CLOSED
  • Thursday 27th December – office open 8.30 a.m. – 5 p.m. (engineers available)
  • Friday 28th December – office open 8.30 a.m. – 5 p.m. (engineers available)
  • Saturday 29th December – office closed – Engineer on call for emergencies
  • Sunday 30th December – office closed – Engineer on call for emergencies
  • Monday 31st December – office open – 8.30am to 3 p.m
  • Tuesday 1st January – CLOSED

It’s back to normal working hours on Wednesday 2nd January.

If you have an emergency with your appliance telephone 01454 322222 and press the appropriate option so we can help you as quickly as we can. If you have a non-urgent issue, leave a message for when the office is next open.

LAST CHANCE

Importantly, don’t forget to order stock parts and cleaning products. The VERY LAST DATE for guaranteed Christmas delivery for an order to be placed is Wednesday 19th December at 5 p.m. We recommend that you CHECK your stock now, to make sure that you have everything you need.

Readmore..

Published Date: 11th December 2018
Category: Blog, Cleaning Products, News, Ovens, Rational, Service plan
Tags: , , , ,


 

13 
Nov

Christmas Catastrophe or Planned Perfection

AC Services keeping chefs using Rational ovens happyThe countdown is on. We’ve had Halloween and Armistice Day, not to mention a mid-term election in America plus a spate of excellent TV dramas, so now thoughts turn to the Christmas season.

When does the party season start for you? And when does it finish? New Year’s Day? What’s on all the menus? Turkey? Goose? Beef? Vegan platters? These are all pressing decisions! And let’s not forget the most important one – is your Rational oven Christmas-ready?

For those in catering, the oven is the most important gift over the festive season. If it breaks down, no amount of batteries or prayers will put it right. And few will be willing to sacrifice their own Christmas spirit to rush over to fix it.

There you have it, best case scenario – Christmas dinner ruined. Worst case scenario – frustrated and angry diners, potential court cases and an establishment with a very bad reputation. For restaurants and eateries who are planning to serve sumptuous banquets on and before the day, this could be catastrophic.

There is a solution: get your oven serviced now. Don’t wait for December, call AC Services (Southern) and avoid any last minute rush. We can guarantee that up until Christmas Eve, our engineers will be working flat out to cope with the inevitable panicked last minute rush!

Moreover, why not consider setting up a regular contract so that you can have peace of mind that your oven is looked after all year round? We have a number of options that suit both budget and business.

Value for money

What will you get for your money? Typically engineers will sort any of those annoying little faults that can compromise performance, if left unchecked. We keep our vans fully stocked so we can deliver a fix on the first visit in more than 95% of call-outs whilst we are with you.

Servicing comprises:

  • function testing and commissioning of elements
  • checking the operational mode of water, gas and electrical connections
  • testing electrical components, gas specific parts and steam generation.

You don’t even have to fret about forgetting the date of your scheduled Rational oven service. Every customer who gets their oven serviced will be issued with a reminder the month before it is due next year. So there’s no reason for you to conveniently forget!

Order Now

Finally, make sure that you have plenty of oven cleaning materials in stock. Rational Self-Cooking-Centers have automatic cleaning programmes built into their software. When used with the right cleaning materials you get cosmetic and hygienic cleanliness.

Be prepared and make sure your Rational oven is in working order for Christmas service. Call us now and we can calmly talk you through the options available on 01454 322 222. Then you’ll have peace of mind that the Christmas season will go ahead as planned.

Readmore..

Published Date: 13th November 2018
Category: Blog, Catering Business, Cleaning, Ovens, Rational, Self Cooking Centre, Service plan
Tags: , , ,


 

06 
Mar

Cotswold Food Club, The Old Fleece

The Old Fleece Cotswold Food ClubWhat happens to a Rational oven when you leave it outside over Christmas? Simple, AC Services comes along, picks it up and repairs it! That is what happened to Nick Beardsley, joint owner of the Cotswold Food Club.  Nick runs the Old Fleece, the Old Lodge, Fostons Ash and the Britannia, all pubs located around the Cotswold area.

Due to a major power surge just before Christmas, the main motherboard on the SCC WE 101 electric Rational oven at the Old Fleece was damaged and the chefs were unable to use the appliance.

Being a critical piece of equipment over that period, Nick had no choice but to replace his prized oven with a temporary one which led to the Rational oven being left outside. A quick call to AC Services and the engineers turned up to assess the situation.

We assumed that the cold and the outside environment would have damaged the oven beyond repair but as it turned out, the engineers were quite happy to take it away.

We were delighted when we were told that it could be repaired and we could have it back,” explains Nick. “It was even better news for our chef who had been moaning about the quality of the replacement being inferior to the Rational model.”

The Old Fleece

The family-run venue is located between Stroud and Nailsworth and is a 250 year-old former coaching inn. It has been run by the Beardsley family for 25 years and Nick’s son, who was actually born in the Old Fleece, has recently taken over as manager.

The pub caters for numerous events, from staff parties to corporate lunches with chef, Aurel serving up a variety of food either from a set menu or bespoke. He is particularly noted for his Sunday roasts with the pub full at the weekend with hungry customers eager to try his food.

All pubs and hotel belonging to the Cotswold Food Club are set in historic buildings offering high quality, locally sourced food and drink in a relaxed and friendly environment. The group’s own farm in Woodchester supplies a limited amount of lamb and Gloucester Old Spot pork and venison, supplemented from farms in Gloucestershire, therefore offering only traceable, free-range meat.

Perfect Service

We were so pleased to get our oven back in perfect working order,” concludes Nick. “However, we were more impressed with the service offered by AC Services.

Unlike our previous maintenance contractors, the company turned up with everything on the van that might be required to repair the oven and then took it away when it was clear that it needed attention.

We have an adhoc contract with the company so we just paid for a single call out and we are extremely happy with the outcome.”

If you require information about our services and maintenance packages, call AC Services (Southern) on 01454 322222.

Readmore..

Published Date: 6th March 2018
Category: Blog, Case Study, News
Tags: , , ,


 

16 
Jan

Seize the Day! Enjoy 2018

Rational Oven Service and RepairFirstly we would like to wish all of our customers the greetings of the season. Let’s hope that 2018 is prosperous and profitable for all.

We are now back at work having had a busy but successful Christmas period. Although we had plenty of call-outs, no client had to take the drastic step of cancelling bookings due to an inoperable oven!

However, there were numerous calls to us regarding last minute breakdowns preceding and following Christmas. The majority of these calls were for replacement parts: luckily all of our engineers carry the necessary parts so the majority of ovens were fixed quickly and efficiently.

New Year New Start

The message this week is simple – New Year, new start so get your ovens serviced now. Although we obviously coped with the inevitable last minute rush before the end of last year, it makes better sense to arrange a service package with us. Customers that do find it suits everyone’s calendars and budgets.

A Rational Oven service starts from £185 plus VAT depending on model and age. During the visit we will sort any of those annoying little faults that, left unchecked can compromise performance. Remember that our policy is to keep our vans fully stocked so we can deliver a fix on the first visit in more than 95% of call-outs whilst we are with you.

Servicing comprises:

  • function testing and commissioning of elements, 
  • checking the operational mode of water, gas and electrical connections,
  • testing electrical components, gas specific parts and steam generation.

Every part of the oven is tested and checked for total peace of mind and should any faults be detected, then they will be dealt with as a priority.

And don’t worry about forgetting the date of your scheduled Rational oven service. Every customer who gets their oven serviced will get a reminder the month before it is due next year. We prefer not to give you any excuse to forget!

Coming Up Fast

The next three months will see some significant annual events loved by the catering industry. Valentine’s Day is the major event of February followed swiftly by Mother’s Day then Easter. Before we know it, silly season including the FIFA World Cup will be upon us.

So take advantage of the down season and book a service with us today. Don’t procrastinate!

Readmore..

Published Date: 16th January 2018
Category: Blog, News, Service plan
Tags: , ,