Dreaded Restaurant Upgrades

I love the restaurant business and still consult with my partners on all facets of ownership. You can’t sit idly by and expect success. Owning a fine restaurant brings many responsibilities with it and it is not just about food—my realm. Sure, we labor over the menu and make sure it suits contemporary taste, always with an element of surprise. The world of cuisine is so competitive and one bad review can kill a restaurant for months. It is hard to come back. Meanwhile, it keeps you on your toes as you maintain a forward pace and continue to make your mark. Novelty is big these days but it can be too far-fetched rather than creative. The best chefs know where to draw the line.

While food planning is my forte as a chef, sometimes other tasks fall in my lap. Recently, I have noticed a lingering cooking smell in the dining room and became very concerned This is a big “no no” in the business. The only food you want patrons to detect is their own. It is not a negative. Nothing is more alluring to restaurant guests than a wonderful scent greeting them as they enter the space. It draws them in and titillates the palate. Cooking smells are another matter. They can be acrid and unpleasant because they are combined and intense. What to do? We have always dealt with the issue by using a large-scale air purifier with a HEPA filter. This is the preferred appliance compared to the other types that are powerful but some models emit the dreaded ozone. The ecologist within balks at the thought.

Now the question is which route to take to remedy the pervasive problem. I could get another HEPA model and put up with a tad less energy efficiency or opt for a “HEPA-like” unit that does it at a much lower cost. I went online and found this page that weighed up the options: https://www.nomoresmokesmell.net/hepa-hepa-like-key-differences-consider/. Both styles take care of your average pollutant including chemicals, toxins, and allergens. I require the best air purifier for deodorizing. Many reviews promise effectiveness with pet smells, bathroom odor, and cigarette smoke. I don’t care. All I want is the best treatment for cooking residue in the air. You can’t always tell from the product descriptions if this is a primary feature.

Given that the old filter is no longer pulling its weight, I hesitate to replace it with the exact same type. On the other hand, I know that it is quite old and has been taxed by running 24/7. Nothing lasts forever in the restaurant business. You are always making upgrades ad things wear out. It is part of the business. Meanwhile, I am leaning toward power with the HEPA despite more cost. An alternative would save on electricity bills and every penny counts when you are looking to make a profit.

So, the HEPA goes out and another is right behind it. I accept the expense and move on.