The Food Service 'Culture'


Ice machines are a key component in most food service operations. We need ice for all of our soft drinks, mixed beverages, and often times just to sell in bags.

While almost all establishments have ice makers, it's important to note that this equipment has very specific maintenance requirements in order to ensure high product quality, customer safety, reliable service and to maintain the factory warranty.

These machines are cool, wet, and typically dark on the inside making them an exceptionally hospitable environment for mold and bacteria. Unfortunately this bacteria and mold can end up in your cup eventually if the growth isn't controlled. The manufacturers do what they can to prevent this by building the equipment with anti-microbial plastic compounds that are much less inviting to the organisms seeking to grow their little colonies there.

As ice machine owners, our part in the war against slime is proactive. Depending on the environment that the machine operates in, somewhere between one and four times annually we would perform a cleaning and sanitization procedure on each and every ice machine, and at times the ice storage bin as well. This process includes some powerful chemicals that remove scale and organic material from the surfaces inside the ice machine in addition to a sanitizer that kills off mold and bacterial growth in the spaces that we can't get to by hand. This is critical to removing the yucky stuff from the machine before it ends up in your customers drink and limiting the amount of growth that can occur between service intervals.

Some of the components inside the ice maker can be sensitive to ice machine cleaning chemicals. It's very important that your service provider is familiar with the different types of equipment and the proper chemicals and procedures for each. It's not at all uncommon for a well meaning owner, or even an inexperienced service tech to attempt this service only to learn after the fact that some of the parts in the machine are now inoperable because they were exposed to the ice machine cleaner. This can cause expensive and inconvenient down time for the customer.

Our team loves working on ice makers, and we're looking forward to hear from you about yours!

Call or text today at (605)307-9812 to schedule your ice machine for a service. Or email us directly at

It's jobs like this one, that help us distinguish ourselves from the HVAC companies out there. It's 'Kitchens First' for us.

Until next time, remember, 'We Keep You Cookin!'

Fryers, pumps, and restaurant life.


Fryers come in a variety of styles. Some restaurants drain the oil out into a container for disposal. Others have a mobile filter cart that can be relocated from fryer to fryer that filters the oil, and preserves the flavor of the food. Some of the more expensive units have their own on board fryer pump and filtration system.

These more advanced fryers typically have a program that automatically filters the oil after a set number of fry cycles. This keeps the food consistent, and extends the life of the oil.

When these pumps and filtration systems go down it can be a real problem. Oftentimes the system will dump the oil into the filter cart and is then subsequently unable to filter it, or pump it back into the fryer. The operator is left with a large, heavy filter cart or tank that is full of very hot oil. And this can be a real problem, especially when you have hungry patrons in the dining area looking for their lunch!

This newer Henny Penny fryer had a seal fail between the pump and motor. The oil got into the motor and ruined it. This is the kind of thing we specialize in.

A quick text to the excellent service/warranty department at Henny Penny and we were able to get the parts and labor covered under the manufacturers warranty.

It's jobs like this one, that help us distinguish ourselves from the HVAC companies out there. It's 'Kitchens First' for us.

Until next time, remember, 'We Keep You Cookin!'

Why "Kitchens First"?


I get asked occasionally "Why does it matter?". And the truth is, for many years I didn't realize that it could make any difference at all. I started in HVAC/R (heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration) in 2006. And the idea at the time was, 'Sure, we'll work on your fryer from time to time, IF you have us do all your HVAC/R work.' After 3-4 years I really began to see that there weren't any other HVAC/R companies that wanted to work on the cooking equipment. So it seemed natural to me that we would emphasize that offering to our customers, in the hopes of getting ALL of their HVAC/R business, of course. It didn't take long for it to become apparent to the customers that I enjoy the variety and challenge of the wide range of kitchen equipment. No problem, right?

Well, as the years blazed by, we all realized that in order for this program to grow, we needed other technicians that could also service these kitchen items in the event that I was tied up, on vacation, or otherwise indisposed. This proved to be very challenging. You see, HVAC/R technicians in our area are typically pressed into service in kitchens, by default. Kitchen work is most certainly considered 'Out of Trade' in most states. However in the Dakotas, there aren't many kitchen specific companies around to service the demand. The result is that you often end up with a reluctant service technician that is neither comfortable or interested in working on your equipment, much less capable. In retrospect, I recognize that we fielded a lot of technicians at my previous company that were very experienced in HVAC. Most of those weren't really well versed in refrigeration, and almost zero of them had even the slightest interest in working inside a kitchen or on food service equipment.

So, my reasoning is that simple. I enjoy specializing in the convection ovens, and the ice machines and even the fryers. And if you let me work on your high end specialty equipment, I'll even take care of your most basic equipment like your heating and cooling systems as well (the training wheels if you will).

Until next time, remember, 'We Keep You Cookin!'