For most commercial restaurant kitchens, a grease trap is an important piece of equipment. It keeps your employees safe and your kitchen up to code.
There are a few types of grease traps from under-sink models to models that go with deep fryers and others. Essentially, they trap grease so that it doesn’t end up in the city’s sewer system.
On average, one small restaurant grease trap will cost approximately $300-$1500 to purchase and have installed. It’s usually necessary to have the grease trap installed to ensure that it’s up to code for your restaurant.
Larger grease traps can cost upwards of $5,000 for one unit. The costs for what you need for your restaurant will depend on how large your kitchen is and the health codes in your area.
There are a lot of other costs that come with maintaining your restaurant grease trap that needs to be considered when purchasing one. There are also health codes that need to be upheld or your restaurant could be fined heavily.
This is a cost that you don’t want to have to factor in if you want your restaurant to operate safely and up to code.
- Different Restaurant Grease Traps You Can Buy
- How To Decide Which Size Grease Trap You’ll Need
- Grease Trap Maintenance
- What If I Don’t Have Grease Traps For All Equipment?
- Do I Need Extra Insurance For My Grease Traps?
- Code Violations
- Keeping Your Workers Safe
- The Health of Your Customers
- Calculate All the Costs Ahead of Time
Different Restaurant Grease Traps You Can Buy
Restaurant grease traps are measured by the gallon. Most commercial kitchens will need at least one 25-100 gallon grease trap, which is considered small.
Even if you don’t have deep fryers in your restaurant, there will still need to be a grease trap for the sink in the prep area (or each sink for larger kitchens) that prevents grease from getting into the city sewer system or the plumbing for your restaurant.
When it comes to the cooking equipment at your restaurant, you’ll need a grease trap for a grill, a flat top grill, a deep fryer, and anything that cooks food in a way that pulls out the fat.
These grease traps are all a little different and the size you’ll need will depend on the volume at which your restaurant cooks food and the amount of cooking equipment you have.
Some other equipment that needs a grease trap includes commercial dishwashers, wash sinks, and pretty much any type of fixed equipment that is hooked up to the plumbing system.
How To Decide Which Size Grease Trap You’ll Need
You may not know how much grease is going to go through your equipment and need to be trapped. It’s pretty impossible for the average restaurant owner to know this.
Most grease traps are measured by the water flow that goes through your equipment. Each restaurant grease trap will tell you how many gallons per minute flowing through the equipment the trap is rated to handle.
How do you figure out the gallons per minute flow rate for your equipment? There’s a formula for this that involves measuring each sink and plugging it in, then doing a lot more math concerning each of the numbers you get from this calculation.
You can avoid all that by simply asking the grease company trap what they think. They’ll have the average flow rates for each type and size of equipment on hand and will be able to make the calculations faster and more accurately than you can.
Grease Trap Maintenance
Grease traps need to be cleaned after every shift in order to operate properly. You can train the staff to do this safely and make sure it gets done every time.
You’ll need a grease receptacle where the waste goes at every cleaning. A service will come to dispose of this grease with specialty equipment.
A restaurant grease trap is meant to be a lot larger than the amount of grease it can hold. It needs to be emptied and cleaned when the grease trap is a quarter full. Once it hits half-full capacity, it will no longer function properly.
What If I Don’t Have Grease Traps For All Equipment?
Failing to use adequate restaurant grease traps for all equipment that needs them is likely to result in expensive issues with your plumbing. The main purpose of grease traps is to keep all grease out of your pipes.
The buildup will cause your pipes to have smaller and smaller channels until there’s a complete blockage.
When grease gets into your pipes, it eventually solidifies, usually overnight while everything lies fallow at room temperature. In restaurants, a lot of hot water is used to cook and clean then is dumped down the drains.
When this happens, the solidified waste turns liquid again and goes farther into your pipes. This causes buildup to happen all throughout the plumbing system.
Blockages all the way through the plumbing system are not something you can solve on your own. Products that clean regular drains are likely to damage your plumbing further.
All of these things are far more expensive than properly outfitting your equipment with grease traps.
Do I Need Extra Insurance For My Grease Traps?
This is not usually the case. Most likely, the business insurance you carry for your restaurant includes injuries incurred by “FOGs,” which stands for “fats, oils, and grease.”
This should cover any issues that might happen when employees are cleaning grease traps. You should still give the required training for this task to ensure it’s done safely.
The service that cleanses out the grease traps will have their own insurance that covers the trucks that clean out your grease receptacles. These people are also trained by their own companies so they’ll know how to clean out the receptacles safely without any assistance from you or your staff.
Owning a commercial kitchen for a restaurant comes with a lot of laws that need to be upheld. If your kitchen fails to meet the standards set by these laws, you’ll have to pay fines for code violations.
Too many code violations can also result in your restaurant being shut down completely, especially if the offenses are subsequent.
Restaurant grease traps are included in these laws. Each state will have different laws but the general guidelines are the same, as mentioned above.
When your restaurant first opens, your grease traps should be code compliant from day one. Maintaining your grease traps properly will be part of upholding code compliance as well.
Code violations due to improperly sized, dirty, or non-functioning grease traps could result in code violations ranging from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars per fine.
Not only can this bankrupt your business, but it can also get you to shut down simply for noncompliance.
If you receive code violations once due to simple ignorance of what you needed to do, ask the agent that visits your establishment exactly what you need to do with your grease traps to get up to code.
This will show you’re willing to cooperate and that you want to be sure your restaurant grease traps are up to code.
Keeping Your Workers Safe
Workers that maintain the equipment at your restaurant will have to clean the grease traps after every shift. If the devices are not the proper size, they might become over-filled before they’re able to be cleaned at the end of the shift.
Not only will this result in non-functioning grease traps, it could also lead to serious injury for your employees.
Grease traps that aren’t cleaned after every shift, or at the end of every day depending on how large your grease traps are, make a huge mess when they’re finally cleaned. The grease that comes out of them smells and it’s likely to make a huge mess.
This puts the onus of cleaning on the next employee instead of the person who should have cleaned it in the first place.
The Health of Your Customers
When your grease traps stop working or don’t work properly, any customer that eats food at your restaurant is in danger. These devices are an integral part of keeping your kitchen (and everything that is served from it) clean and your customers healthy.
The health of your customers matters but if your grease traps not working properly gets your customers sick, they can sue you as well. This could give your restaurant bad publicity and can also result in a costly lawsuit that you can’t afford and that costs a lot more than maintaining your grease traps properly.
Calculate All the Costs Ahead of Time
All of these costs come together to give you a final cost of what your restaurant grease traps will cost.
The things you need to consider most are the number of grease traps you’ll need, the size of the grease traps, and how often you’ll need a service to empty the grease receptacle where they’re emptied every day.
You may also need to factor in the cost of extra labor hours for training when your grease traps are first installed.
Call more than one company for grease traps to find out about their prices for several sizes, installation, and grease removal services to calculate your total costs.