Commercial beverage equipment is an integral part of most foodservice establishments and is used heavily in day-to-day operations. As an operator, it is important to understand the various types of problems that can affect the performance of your beverage equipment and how to swiftly evaluate issues that may arise. You can save both time and money by troubleshooting a few key components for potential fixes before making that SOS service call.
Here are six common problems that can impact commercial beverage equipment performance and how to troubleshoot them.
Problem #1: Water-to-syrup ratio is off
Even if this ratio is off by a small amount, the taste of the product can be altered dramatically, creating a beverage that is either much too sweet or too watery.
- Readjust the flow control settings.
- Check the connection line for kinks and clear them out.
- Make sure the syrup container is not empty.
- Remove and soak connectors in chlorine-based sanitizer solution for one minute, then reconnect.
Problem #2: Soda is too foamy or too flat
Proper carbonation comes from the right amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) gas being mixed with water in your soft drink system. Note that pounds per square inch (PSI) recommendations can vary depending on the manufacturer, so you will need to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines for your equipment.
- Check the CO2 gauge for the proper PSI.
- If the content gauge is below 1/4 full or the tank pressure gauge is less than proper PSI, call your supplier for a refill or for tank service.
Problem #3: Soda bar gun will not dispense
A mechanical issue on the soda bar gun can halt dispensing completely. Anything inside the unit itself should be handled by a service technician. But there are a few steps an operator can take if the trouble is external.
- Make sure it is connected to power. If yes, then check the circuit breaker. There could be an issue with a circuit or solenoid.
- Check the carbonator and components like the shut-off screw.
Problem #4: Soda bar gun is leaking
Soda bar guns that are heavily used need regular cleaning and inspection to ensure leaks are caught and rectified early. This will also prolong the life of the bar gun.
- Inspect the button or dispenser to see if something is depressing it.
- Check into the internal components such as O-rings, valves or retainers that might need to be tightened up.
Problem #5: Product is too warm
If the drink is warmer than 40° F when it is dispensed, it tends to foam, which causes loss of carbonation and produces a flat-tasting beverage.
- As a general rule, you should keep your ice bin 1/3 full at all times for adequate cooling.
Make sure the ice bin is sufficiently full and tamp down the ice. The cold plate works best when it’s completely covered with ice.
- Check that the ice bin is draining properly. The cold plate works poorly if the water from melting ice accumulates instead of draining away.
- Ensure the unit is plugged in correctly and that a circuit breaker has not been tripped.
- Verify that air flow to the compressor is not blocked. Cool air enters the front of the compressor, and warm air escapes from the top. If either air flow is blocked, the compressor will overheat and fail.
Problem #6: Soft drinks have an “off” taste or an unpleasant odor
To make sure you provide only great-tasting soft drinks, you should taste test each product daily. If you are consistent with sampling, subtle nuances that signal an impending issue will become easier to detect.
- Check your water filter quality. If your soft drinks taste or smell like chlorine, your dispensing system may require a filter replacement.
- Check that syrup is not out-of-date and is being properly rotated.
- Verify the dispensing valves are being cleaned daily.
If troubleshooting doesn’t work and a service call is required, the process is as simple as contacting the Tech24 team for same-day service. We’ll get you back up and running!