Drain problems and blockages can prove costly for many bricks and mortar businesses, particularly for food and beverage outlets, like cafes and restaurants. A serious drainage issue in a restaurant, for example, may not only lead to a hefty repair bill, but also may force the restaurant to close its doors to customers, and maybe even suffer from negative PR.
If your sewer line becomes blocked and backed-up, there is a risk of a potential health hazard, and your establishment may have to close until a health inspector certifies it is safe to re-open. If the problem worsens and affects adjoining buildings, you may also be liable to pay damages and cleanup costs.
So, what are some common issues faced by high-street shops and eateries? What steps can be taken to prevent these from occurring in the first place? And if you do have issues with your drains, what can be done to fix them and ensure they don’t happen again?
Common causes of drainage problems and how to prevent them
Food Waste and Cooking Oil
The most common culprit of drainage issues in restaurants and cafes is food waste, fats, and oil that has been disposed of incorrectly. Fat from meat, oils, and other food waste cools as it goes down the drain, causing it to solidify and potentially cause blockages.
The two most effective means of preventing these sorts of problems are…
Disposing of cooking oil responsibly
This is really a general management issue. It’s very important to get rid of used cooking oil in a compliant and environmentally-friendly way. There are many collection services that will pick up your used oil and get rid of it for you. If you don’t already get your oil collected in this way, consider contacting a local service provider to arrange this.
Staff training and awareness
When it comes to food waste causing drain blockages, the problem may be remedied by correctly training your staff, ensuring they are aware of how to correctly dispose of food waste. Before rinsing plates or putting them in a dishwasher, kitchen staff should know to always place all leftover food into a bin.
Blockages in customer toilets
Major drain issues can also stem from customer toilets. It’s not very nice to think about, but all sorts of things may end up being flushed down toilets in restaurants, cafes, and even shops, which can easily cause blockages.
Unfortunately, customers and restaurant guests will do what they will do when in your establishments’ toilet facilities, and sometimes there’s nothing you can do to stop this. However, there are a couple of measures you can take to potentially prevent drain blockage issues:
Bins and Waste Disposal
Common items that cause drain blockages in toilets include baby wipes, nappies, and other sanitary products. Placing clearly labelled bins in toilets may stop people from just flushing such things down the toilet, preventing drain blockages.
In many restaurant toilets, you will see a sheet up in the toilets that will track whether or not the toilet has been checked and cleaned. By regularly inspecting and cleaning toilets, you can make sure that toilets are in a good state. Also, if you have nice, clean toilets, future guests may be more likely to keep that way!
It’s all well and good to have bins in your toilets, but if they’re not clearly signposted, they may not even be used. Label waste bins clearly and specify what type of waste should go into each bin. Having a polite notice to customers will also encourage customers to use the facilities properly.
What should you do if your drains do become blocked?
By taking some of the preventative measures above, you will hopefully avoid serious drainage issues. However, sometimes these problems just can’t be avoided. If you do have any issues, Drain 247 can help. For a fixed price and no call-out fee, we can send a full qualified engineer to your premises to diagnose any problems and carry out the required work.
Some drainage companies use drain rods to clear blockages, which may only remove the blockage for a short amount of time. When clearing commercial drains, it is always our preference to use high-pressure jet units, ensuring that blockages are completely unblocked in the long-term.
CCTV Drain Surveys
Not sure about the current state of your drainage systems? Commissioning a CCTV drain survey could highlight a number of existing issues, allowing you to get them fixed before they get worse. We use top commercial surveying equipment to provide you with a full report on your drains, including info on depth levels, pipe size diameters, and photographic defects of any defects. If you want to stay on top of your drains, it’s a great place to start.
For drain unblocking and sewer survey services, call Drain 24/7 at any time and we’ll get your business back to normal as soon as possible and minimise the impact to your trade or customers. Call 0800 612 8038.