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What Happens When Grease Builds Up in a Restaurant

Last Updated: November 23, 2015

As a restaurant owner, you have a lot on your plate. From marketing to menu planning to taking care of your employees, you might put grease management on the backburner. However, this is a mistake for several reasons.

Hazards of Grease Buildup

Why shouldn’t you allow grease to build up in your restaurant or commercial kitchen? Doing so can lead to:

Increased risk of fire

Grease is highly flammable. When it builds up in a restaurant, the risk of fire greatly increases. If a fire ignites, you have to consider the possibility of building damage, financial loss while making repairs and the tragedy of lost lives. Your reputation could take a beating, which could impact your bottom line for months, if not years, to come.

Increased risk of injury

Grease splatters can build up on the floor and increase the risk of employees slipping and falling. Under OSHA regulations for restaurant safety, employers are required to create a safe working environment free from hazards that are likely to cause injury or death. If an employee is injured slipping on a greasy floor in your restaurant, he or she can file a complaint with OSHA and claim damages.

Plumbing issues

Grease may be a liquid when cooking with it, but when it cools, grease hardens into a gelatinous mess. This is the last thing you want gumming up your plumbing. Plus, far more than your business’s plumbing is affected if excessive grease is disposed of down the drain. In fact, it’s the primary cause of sanitary sewer overflows.

FOG charges

Fats, Oils and Grease programs around the country monitor food establishments to ensure sanitary conditions and appropriate disposal of FOG. Programs require restaurants to properly service and maintain grease removal equipment. Failure to do so could result in FOG charges.

Environmental concerns

You may not think of grease as an environmental problem, but consider this scenario: Your standard rooftop grease collector holds four quarts of grease. You don’t know it, but your kitchen exhaust hood sends a quart of grease to the collector every month. If you only change out the absorbent grease pad every year when the fire inspector makes his rounds, you could be dumping eight quarts of grease onto the roof every year without knowing it! When it rains, this grease flows off the roof into rain gutters and down storm drains where it enters streams and rivers, discolors the water and kills plants and fish.

Penalties from the EPA

Unauthorized discharge of grease-contaminated storm water is illegal. This means you could be subject to fines under local water pollution control laws established by the EPA if you don’t keep up with grease buildup in your rooftop collection system.

Unpleasant odor

Fried food may smell and taste appetizing, but the odor of several-days-old grease is far from appealing. When the goal of your restaurant is to entice patrons to dine with you, an unpleasant odor coming from the kitchen isn’t likely to help your cause.

Increased vermin

Lingering grease attracts drain flies, rats and other vermin to your restaurant. This is a serious sanitation issue that could result in citations and lost business.

Choose State Systems for Grease Cleanup Services

State Systems offers kitchen equipment and vent hood cleaning services throughout the Mid-South to help you avoid the consequences of grease buildup in your restaurant. We want your business to thrive, and regular cleaning and maintenance of commercial kitchen equipment is important to make that happen.

Ready to get the grease buildup under control? Contact us today to schedule service in Mississippi, Arkansas or Tennessee.

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