Whether it's programmable fryers, high-tech combination ovens, or sophisticated video order systems, managers and kitchen staff should know how each piece of equipment works, how to properly clean it and how to perform periodic maintenance.

Common sense plays a role when it comes to preserving equipment longevity. For instance, refrigeration equipment relies on airflow to remove heat. Staff should be trained not to stack boxes so close that it could cut off air circulation, causing the compressor to work harder.

Likewise, staff should be instructed to turn off equipment not in use. Or, let's say you use a char broiler that has two or more burners. Turning off one side during slow times not only saves unnecessary wear and tear, it also reduces the amount of heat.

Consider providing new managers with basic information on how to maintain and clean equipment. This includes an overview of the common parts, such as coils and condensers. Also offer potential solutions to simple, common problems; after performing these checks, staff can call a repairperson, if necessary.

Managers should know the location of breaker panels (each breaker should be clearly marked), gas shutoff valves, quick disconnects, water shutoff valves and grease traps. This can increase their confidence when handling repair issues.

Whether you're in the start-up phase or if you've been open for years, it's never too late to improve your training. Even a simple addendum containing copies or excerpts from your equipment manuals can prove to be valuable training material that can save you money in the long run.