Tag Archives: Servicing
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.
- 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!
There is no excuse for not knowing what is happening. The adverts are on the television. The decorations are up in the high street and we’ve just survived Black Friday. Not to mention the start of I’m a Celebrity and the Ashes! Yes, Christmas is just around the corner and here at AC Services (Southern), we are advising all of our customers to pay special attention to their ovens NOW.
From extensive experience, ovens are generally overlooked in the run-up to the big day. Food takes priority: the turkeys have to be ordered, the menus finalised and the staff rotas arranged. So the oven gets forgotten.
However, take time out to check essential items, especially cleaning materials. Order your materials before Christmas and avoid time-consuming manual cleaning and worst case scenario, appliance failure when you need it most. Over Christmas, you need your Rational oven to be performing at its peak.
Order Cleaning Products
Make sure that you have plenty of oven cleaning materials in stock. Most professional ovens, (and Rational Self-Cooking-Centres in particular), have automatic cleaning programs built into their software. When used with the right cleaning materials (which ACS Southern always hold in stock), you get cosmetic and hygienic cleanliness.
Order your approved cleaning products now. As a reminder, we supply all the assistance you need to service and maintain your oven, from Rational Grill Cleaner, Rational Rinse Aid, Rational Oven Cleaning Tablets for the SCC (SelfCooking Center®) range and for those with Care Control, Rational Care Control Tablets and accessories. For a full list of cleaning products, click here.
Also, there is still time for us to come and service your oven. If you haven’t recently had a scheduled service, give us a call and let us come and check that everything is working as it should. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you don’t have time: it doesn’t take long and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Just imagine the nightmare of the oven packing up over the Christmas period.
There are some simple tasks that can be carried out on a daily basis to ensure optimum performance of Rational ovens. We advise our customers to take note:
- Clean your appliance daily with the relevant Rational oven cleaning products.
- Wipe down the door gasket at least daily with non-abrasive cleaning agents.
- Check the air filter regularly: your appliance will let you know when the air filter needs cleaning.
- Clean the drip tray collector.
- Apply vegetable oil or grease to the inside of the cooking cabinet at regular intervals (every two weeks or so) to prevent corrosion.
Be prepared and make sure your Rational oven is in working order for Christmas service. Call us now and we can talk you through the options available on 01454 322 222 to make sure the Christmas season goes ahead effortlessly.
Fast food and mass catering may appear to be the invention of the 20th century but catering for the masses transcends millennia. Evidence has been excavated at the site of the Pyramids. This revealed a mess hall for the workers, long benches and tables and fish and meat bones. Armies throughout history were fed en masse (possibly not with the healthiest food but fed nonetheless) so catering as a trade has a long heritage.
The modern idea of fast food evolved with the inception of the motor industry where it became easier for people to pop into a store to buy a burger. By the 1950s in the USA, fast food was in full swing. It wasn’t long before heavy advertising and the introduction of children’s meals made it a firm favourite. Today, the global contribution of fast food outlet revenue is in the region of £500 billion.
Fast Food Growing
According to a recent report in the Guardian, the total number of takeaway food shops in England has risen by 4,000 in the past three years. This is an increase of 8%. There are currently 56,638 takeaways in England. They comprises more than 25% of all the country’s food outlets.
Many of the 326 local authorities in the UK have seen significant increases in the number of fast food outlets. Between 2014 and 2017, 20 record rises of more than 20%. Only 40 councils (12%) have seen the number of fast food outlets fall or stay the same.
Since 2012, the fast food and mass catering industry has performed relatively well. Takeaway operators have responded to higher levels of consumer expenditure by introducing higher quality food, often using organic produce and ensuring low-fat, low-sugar and low-salt meal options.
Despite the constant criticism of unhealthy and high calorific food content, fast food is still very popular . Reasons include affordable prices, busy lifestyles and increasing on-the-go consumption. There is also a much wider variety of products available to accommodate different dietary requirements.
With any mass catering, the emphasis is on efficiency and hygiene. This is true whether it is for a fast food chain or a mess hall, hotel, hospital, airline or school. Too many instances of bad practice resulting in food poisoning or infection have been traced to bad habits in the kitchen or inadequate cooking facilities.
An oven, such as the Rational units, must not only cook the food but also synchronise the cooking of each individual element. It should also be fast and reliable in performance. In addition, the oven must be regularly serviced and checked. This is best as part of an ongoing maintenance regime to ensure top performance.
Contact AC Services on 01454 322222 if you are a fast food and mass catering organisation for appliance best practice .
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.”
Clients often ask AC Services Southern why we recommend a full annual service on their Rational appliances. Surely regular cleaning and standard maintenance practices are enough to maintain the performance of the ovens?
The truth is that however much and however meticulously you clean your oven, like your own car, there is still the need for a regular Rational service to optimise or replace the parts which wear.
So for the diligent as well as those absent-minded oven owners out there, we have a solution. We have been using a new system since April. We now log when ovens are serviced and sending a timely reminder when the next service is due.
At AC Services we like to give back to our loyal customers so read on to see how you can SAVE £10 on online orders. We are the Rational Service Partner for South West England and South Wales. Our team of engineers only repair and maintain Rational ovens and Frima Vario Cooking Centres. That places us in the very safe position of knowing exactly what we are looking for and what we are doing.
Our engineers have over 40 years’ experience between them and as we only work on two pieces of equipment, all the engineers have a van full of Rational original parts. What this means is that in the majority of cases (more than 95%), our engineers will have any parts that may be required so we will be able to quote you the price and fit them there and then, if given the go ahead.
So what happens in a service and how long does it take? Ideally, our engineers will spend at least 1½ hours and often two hours fully checking the appliance. Why so long? Check out the key points on our service checklist.
- Door function tests
- Interior cabinet tests
- Control panel function check
- Exhaust/vent hood function test/commissioning
- Electrical safety test
- Water-drain function test
- Steam generator electrical components
- Gas specific parts
- Gas analysis
- Software update
The second question is cost. Is it cost effective in the long term?
The cost of a full Rational service carried out by one of our fully qualified Rational Engineers starts from £165 plus VAT (depending on age and size of the oven) plus the cost of any parts required, which are discussed and costed before fitting. Any extra hours are charged at £44 plus VAT, in increments of 15 minutes.
A breakdown or repair callout costs £121 plus VAT inclusive of the callout and one hour’s labour, with further labour charged at £44 per hour in increments of 15 minutes. For those who feel this is too much of a layout, just add up the costs of loss of business, of reputation, of loyal customers and of the profit margin should you be unable to use your oven to provide food for customers.
Finally, we love offering our customers discounts. So save £10 per shop on our range of Rational Cleaning, Rinse and Care Tablets for the relevant ovens and Rational Grill Cleaner using the code JUL10 in our on-line store before 12th August 2017.
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.
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 email@example.com
Times are changing within the education market. Debate was raging on about the decision of the government to turn all schools into academies by 2020 until last week’s unforeseen u-turn. But the threat is still there with a shift from all to most.
Speculation is rife over the ongoing fate of local authorities, once the sole provider of budgets and control over schools. What it means is that schools and colleges will be increasingly responsible for their own budgeting.
This is all very well with items such as school equipment, paper, books and associated purchases. There are already established and specialist vendors for these types of materials. But when it comes to buying kitchen equipment, many schools and colleges are inexperienced and frankly, don’t know where best to turn.
The purchase of a catering appliance is vastly different from buying a domestic oven. And once the purchase has been made, it doesn’t end there. An oven has to be regularly serviced and maintained to prevent any unforeseen catastrophes occurring which, in schools and colleges, could mean a lot of pupils going hungry!
Since September 2014, all schools have to provide free school lunches for pupils who qualify. This has meant that educational establishments have been busier with kitchen refurbishment and upgrade than ever before.
Historically, AC Services (Southern) has been responsible for maintaining a number of Rational ovens within the region. Currently we have been requested to service 42 schools with some 70 appliances total across Gloucestershire on a contract that has recently been renewed.
But our experience of the educational sector’s needs is much wider ranging from Oxford colleges, private schools to FE colleges with many on one of our maintenance contracts .
According to Helen Hagger, MD at AC Services, one of the main priorities is educating the owners about the benefits of regular servicing.
“Many ovens may be in warranty still but they also need a regular service to make sure they are working properly and performing to their optimum levels,” she advises. “We are dedicated to working with our customers in the education sector to ensure that all schools and colleges comply with the standards for food that the government and other organisations demand.”
In addition, Rational is helping make life easier for cooks with the recent launch of a new app allowing users of the Rational SelfCookingCenter to operate the system from an iPhone or iPad. If connected to the same network, the screen content of the SelfCookingCenter is transferred and displayed in full to the remote device.
“This app is extremely useful to school cooks and head chefs who are juggling other responsibilities,” continues Helen. “As a long-term partner with Rational, we are doing our bit by ensuring that the ovens are serviced regularly.
We have a range of service packages to suit every budget, and our aim is to make owners and decision-makers schedule downtime for the appliances for maintenance. So whether you are primary school, academy, private or public school, university or further education establishment, as long as you are in our area we can help you.”
So give Helen and the team a call on 01454 322 222 to find out more.
Times are always tight, but if you are a Rational oven owner, you know that cutting corners for financial reasons is a recipe for disaster and AC Services are here to help.
The first offer is online purchases where using the voucher code rationalonline will get you £10 plus VAT off your purchases. Bear in mind that there are a number of events coming up in the following weeks, including Valentine’s Day and the start of the Six Nations rugby, so take full advantage of this offer until the end of February 2016 and stock up with essential supplies. We can supply items throughout the UK, but this offer is limited only to online sales.
AC Services (Southern) provides a full range of Rational cleaning products. It depends on the type of your Rational oven to determine the correct Rational cleaning products to use. Remember, if you have more than one oven, then you may need different cleaning product combinations.
The online sales offer applies to the following Rational cleaning tabs, rinse tabs, liquid cleaner and spray guns:
- Cleaner Tabs: highly concentrated tablets specially developed with a new complex set of active ingredients designed to guarantee maximum cleaning power.
- Care Tabs: with special scale-dissolving ingredients contained to prevent limescale building up, giving reliability without a water softener and the need for time-consuming descaling.
- Rinse Aid Tabs: (SE Models) highly effective care products ensuring active protection.
- We also provide liquid Grill Cleaner and liquid Rinse Aid (for CPC units) as well as other items such as a hand spray gun for manual cleaning of CM units.
Sale on Servicing
The second fabulous offer is £20 plus VAT off the normal service price. With a normal service starting at £195 plus VAT, this deal is not to be disregarded.
It is valid for all Rational oven service calls completed by 31st March as long as the Rational oven is within the counties and postcodes covered by ACS. These are Avon, Berkshire, Bristol, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Gwent, Herefordshire, Oxfordshire, Somerset, Wiltshire and Worcestershire.
All you have to do is phone the office on 01454 322 222 to confirm costs and times and quote ‘Ready for Spring‘.
Your Sale Choice
Since we introduced the online sales section to our website, the response has been fantastic, with the online store providing ease and simplicity for the ordering process.
You can also find hints and tips to keep your Rational oven in perfect condition, but should you have any worries, simply take advantage of the £20 discount on servicing and gear up for the rest of this quarter with the knowledge that your oven at least won’t let you down!
If you’re in any doubt please telephone us now on 01454 322222.
FRIMA began life in France in 1938. In 1985 the company produced the FRIMAX®, the first multifunctional cooking appliance based on contact heat. Building on the success of the quality of its products and the advanced technology employed in their manufacture, in 2014 FRIMA installed its 15,000th VarioCooking Center® , demonstrating the popularity of the range to an international market.
In 1992 FRIMA joined Rational and today the emphasis is still firmly focussed on excellence in the cooking arena.
In 2008 the FRIMA UK sales team was established and, in the same year, A C Services became a service partner with the company.
According to FRIMA UK MD, Graham Kille, the future is bright indeed for the London-based company, which has seen a 50% increase in sales in the past year. “We are growing rapidly, with a sales team of five, which we are expecting to expand,” he comments. “The UK is catching on to the fact that a multifunctional kitchen is the way forward in all sectors, and that the VarioCooking Center can enhance cooking results.”
Using VarioCooking Control®, the appliance’s built-in cooking intelligence, daily work is simplified and time-consuming routine chores, such as constant monitoring of the food and temperature adjustments, are eliminated. Boiling, frying and deep frying takes place all in one unit, up to four times as fast and with 40% less power consumption. As the company’s website says, “The cooking process is always matched to the food, however big or small the item, and however many portions!”
FRIMA has a wide range of clients, from primary schools to sports stadiums to Michelin starred restaurants. Currently the most successful sector is in education. “Schools and colleges have really taken on board the value of the VarioCooking Center experience,” he continues. “For example, the cost efficiency is up there alongside energy efficiency: why buy a separate chip fryer when the VarioCooking Center has one included?”
Pioneering modern cooking technology and energy efficiency is FRIMA’s aim. “It’s all about embracing smaller footprints in the kitchen, as well as reducing energy consumption,” explains Graham. “And there is a growing realisation that there is no better way to do this than with a VarioCooking Center.”
FRIMA offers live cooking demonstrations across the UK to present and road test the equipment. The company also offers a free four week trial, in customers’ own kitchens, so they can see for themselves what a difference a FRIMA appliance can make.
At AC Services we are delighted to be partnering FRIMA as a service partner and helping the company to grow. Like an increasing number of UK chefs, we believe the VarioCooking Center offers the most advanced, efficient and cost effective way to reduce the carbon footprint in the kitchen, while enhancing the quality of the food.