5 Common Plumbing Issues in Restaurants

Restaurants are notorious for having plumbing issues. This should come as no surprise for restaurant owners due to the amount of equipment required to operate the establishment. In the worst of scenarios, restaurants are forced to close the doors because of backed-up sewage or flooding of drains in the kitchen and food service areas.

Not only can plumbing issues potentially make customers sick by exposing them to bacteria, but it can also lead to falls and electrocution. Preventing plumbing issues is the best way to stay ahead of any problems. When inspecting your plumbing system, be on the lookout for these five common problems.

1. Grease Traps

Restaurant kitchens produce a lot of grease. You most likely already have grease traps in your kitchen, but you must make sure these traps are cleaned regularly, at least once a week. Without cleaning the traps, grease will build up and become moldy, causing it to rot the pipes. If the pipes become damaged, you’ll need to replace them, which is very costly.

Train your employees to clean the grease traps and what to look for if any issues arise. Call a professional plumber if you notice any signs of damage to your pipes due to grease build up.

2. Floor Drains

A clean floor is important when it comes to your staff’s safety. Often in kitchens, staff will spray down the floor and squeegee the water into the drains each evening. While this is fine, items like straws, paper napkins and other items may be going down the drains as well. As you must do with the sinks and other drains in the establishment, install a drain lock or mesh strainers to prevent large debris from entering the plumbing system. Have your staff sweep the area first before spraying down the floors so they pick up these larger items.

3. Sink Drains

Keep your kitchen sinks clean. Do not let servers and bussers throw plates with food on them into the sink. Have your designated dishwashing person spray down the plates and pans first before they go into the sink. Also, install a metal mesh into the drain to prevent debris from sliding down the pipes. 

When food and other debris builds up in the pipes, clogs will occur and can shut down your entire dishwashing system. Consider installing a drain lock to make sure large debris doesn’t go down the drains. Be sure the dishwasher thoroughly cleans the area after each shift and teach them to immediately point out any issues to management.

4. Bar Drains

The drainage systems in the bar area are the second most used drains within a restaurant. Alcohol, sugary drink mixes, and garnishes will attract insects that feed on the leftover debris. Keeping your drains free of clogs is the first step in avoiding this.

Install metal mesh over the drains to prevent any materials from going down the pipes. You can use a window screen by cutting out small pieces to place over the drains. Next, regularly flush your drains and wipe down the areas of any build up or debris. Teach your employees the importance of keeping the drains clean so they regularly check the area.

5. Bathrooms

Paper towels, excessive use of toilet paper, and sanitary wipes are common issues when it comes to bathroom plumbing. While you can’t monitor the usage of the restrooms, you can install signs that lets customers know to throw these materials in the trash instead of flushing them down the toilet.

If your toilets are continuously backing up and plunging them isn’t getting the job done, you will need to call a professional. A deeper issue may be lurking deep within your pipes. Finding these problems early on will help save you money because if they aren’t taken care of promptly, more serious issues may occur.

As with all plumbing issues, it is always a good idea to speak with a professional. Prevention is the best way to take care of your plumbing system, but if you notice any issues with your pipes, contact a plumber immediately to solve the issue before it gets out of hand.

Joe Hammer is the owner of SAK Electric Plumbing Inc., a Phoenix-based plumbing company serving the area for over 30 years. SAK is proud to serve area business with affordable and friendly plumbing repair and installation.


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