My wife and I have had a janitorial business for several years. Recently, we decided we wanted to expand our company to include commercial kitchen hood cleaning.
We called our friends who have a hood cleaning business in Connecticut and asked them for advice on how to get our new venture started. Instead of giving us some information on the phone, we were invited to Connecticut, to get a hands-on view of how their hood cleaning business works.
Fortunately, the holidays are a big downtime for us, so we found a place to stay for a few days and headed to Connecticut. While we were traveling, I did a little research on Connecticut. The largest town in Connecticut is Bridgeport with a population of just under one hundred and fifty thousand residents. The second largest city is New Haven with a population of about one hundred and thirty thousand.
In 2016, it was estimated by the National Restaurant Association there were around seven thousand nine hundred and forty restaurants in Connecticut. In 2017, they estimated the restaurant sales to be around seven-point-five billion!
Crazy to think about how much hood cleaning needs to be done! There are laws that are in place both locally and nationally that regulate the restaurant business. The National Fire Protection Association code 96 states that the most common hood cleaning frequency is every three months. However, if you have a hamburger or fast-food restaurants they recommend the hood cleaning should be done every sixty days. For pizza places, senior homes, churches and day cares hood cleaning should be done every hundred and eighty days. A commercial kitchen can get away with an annual hood cleaning if they have hoods over non-grease-creating appliances or seasonal camps.
Once we arrived, we settled into our little bungalow for a good night’s sleep! In the morning we headed to our friends’ hood cleaning business to get an education.
Interestingly enough, our friends shop was not that large. The majority of their hood cleaning business is done in trucks or vans. They equip their vans with pressure washers, hoses, plastic tarp to protect equipment, walls and floors and other supplies like hinges that could need replaced.
They have a small warehouse they use to inventory parts they need for their fleet of trucks. Every day each team much inventory their trucks and replace parts that are needed. This prevents them from taking the time to come back to the warehouse and inconveniencing the restaurant owner or manager during the hood cleaning job. They have also found that some parts can be harder to get than others, so they keep a larger stock, so they don’t have to deal with a back order.
During lunch, they told us they expanded their hood cleaning business to include commercial equipment cleaning. It takes a little more equipment than just a hood cleaning company, but it can be very profitable.
We spent the afternoon exploring the area and planning our next step to expand our own business. That evening we dined at Bereket Turkish Restaurant. This authentic Turkish restaurant was an amazing find. Located on Main Street, we started or meal with a Lentil Soup then moved onto an appetizer of Humus. We decided to split a main meal and settled on the Lam Shish Kebab. It was incredible.
We were excited to start our next day as they had a hood cleaning job scheduled in the middle of the afternoon. Most hood cleaning jobs are done late at night into the early morning hours because that is when the restaurant is closed.
It was fascinating to see them hang the plastic sheeting as they used large industrial magnets to hold it to the equipment. They then brought in their pressure washer and using environmentally safe chemicals proceeded to start the hood cleaning job. It took about three hours but was amazing to watch. The commercial kitchen equipment almost looked like new after they got done buffering it out.
The following day we reviewed their website and got some great tips on how to get it to rank on the internet. Lunch found us at a food truck called Super Duper Weenie. This truck does not move much and has a wonderful covered and heated seating area for their clientele.
We thanked our friends for their hospitality and for sharing their knowledge on the hood cleaning business. The next morning we headed back home with our heads full of ideas on how we can now expand our janitorial business to include commercial hood cleaning.