Business Strategies:
Top Tips for Maintaining Foodservice Equipment

Foodservice equipment represents a sizeable investment for any leisure entertainment facility that offers freshly prepared snacks or meals rather than those that come out of a vending machine. Protecting and leveraging this investment necessitates proper equipment maintenance.
Such maintenance starts with regular cleaning. Almost every manufacturer provides a recommended cleaning schedule for each piece of equipment it produces, along with specifics of daily, weekly and periodic cleaning procedures that apply to individual equipment components.
For example, on a daily basis, Nieco recommends that the feeder cover and feeder base on its broilers be washed, sanitized in a three-compartment sink and air-dried, while the grease pan be slid out, allowed to cool thoroughly to prevent warping, sprayed with degreaser, washed with a scrub pad and then sanitized and rinsed in a three-compartment sink. Cleaning of the feed end crumb tray should, according to the company, entail washing it with a wrung-out soapy towel, then wiping down with a wrung-out sanitized towel. Side panels and chain shafts are to be lifted up and off, taken to a sink, sprayed with degreaser and wiped down, while each shaft of both belts is to be scraped on the discharge end.
Daily fryer cleaning procedures recommended by Perfect Fry, according to Kevin Pedersen, marketing manager for the company, include using paper towels to remove crumbs and food particles from cooking baskets, as well as wiping crumbs, oil and any other food matter from inside of the door into the spill tray. Such procedures also encompass cleaning fryer exteriors with stainless steel cleaner and wiping them dry. Checking the oil level on the back of the vat to make sure it reaches the “cold” line (at room temperature), and adding oil as necessary, is another good daily maintenance practice, Pedersen said. He noted that for best results cooking oil should be replaced at least once a week.
On the weekly front, fryers should be taken apart to enable a thorough cleaning of their components. Steps for cleaning each component vary. For example, drawer housings, oil vats and heater modules should be sprayed with oven cleaner and enclosed with plastic bags for at least one hour or overnight if possible. They should then be washed in soap and hot water and rinsed well in a solution of two parts hot water to one part white vinegar; the latter is very important because it neutralizes soap residue. Grease filters and grease filter trays should be washed separately with hot water and soap, then carefully dried. Air filter cartridge replacement should be done periodically.
Certain pieces of equipment, among them frozen dessert machines from Stoelting, have automatic indicators that let operators know when it is time to clean or perform other maintenance. Getting the job done immediately, rather than postponing it to a more convenient time, goes far toward keeping product in good shape.
So, too, does regularly examining equipment and arranging for service to remedy seemingly minor problems before they become larger ones. This is the approach taken at Rockin Robin’s AmaZone Family Entertainment Center in Medina, Ohio; cliché as it may sound, “it is better to be safe than sorry,” according to Robin Creswick, owner.
To minimize the need for repairs as well as to preserve equipment life, it is important to use only tools and solutions that have been recommended by the manufacturer or supplied along with the unit in question. For example, to prevent damage to their belts, Nieco broilers come with special shaft-cleaning implements; “we strongly advise against substituting anything else,” a company spokesperson stated. Similarly, the company recommends that surface damage to broiler sides be prevented by cleaning with “no-scratch” pads rather than their abrasive counterparts. Midway Stainless Fabricators customers are instructed to utilize only stainless steel cleaning solutions, instead of all-purpose solutions, to remove residue from their equipment.
Moreover, owners and operators of leisure entertainment facilities are well-advised to engage in best practices to ensure that employees are on board where equipment maintenance is concerned. Accordingly, instead of being left to chance, procedures for cleaning foodservice equipment should be detailed in operating manuals and during training. Some operators even post cleaning and maintenance checklists in highly visible spots near the equipment and require that staff members “sign off” on having completed the various requirements. One California operator learned the value of such a practice the hard way when guests began to complain that the product being dispensed by one of its frozen dessert machines tasted “odd.” As it turned out, employees, in their haste to finish their shifts, had neglected to clean the unit correctly. A cleaning schedule is now posted on a wall at the operation, and workers must add their initials to designated spaces to indicate that they have handled the cleaning.
“It is not a wise idea to let employees decide whether they’re going to clean, because many just won’t, either because they forgot or they don’t want to,” noted a spokesperson for Subway. “Unless you instruct and remind, they will decide on their own that it isn’t needed.” And that, operators said, is a recipe for headaches.

Industry News

Tourist Attractions & Parks Magazine and Foundations Entertainment University Announce the Winners of the First Annual Excellence in Family Entertainment Center Awards

Tourist Attractions & Parks Magazine along with Foundations Entertainment University have teamed up to acknowledge the hard work and dedication that is necessary to succeed as an entertainment center. In mid-March, the publication and educational seminar program presented the Excellence in Family Entertainment Center Awards to 10 FECs, and a children’s museum for its website, recognizing new standards for excellence in the industry. Award winners were announced during the 2012 Amusement Expo in Las Vegas, Nev. (See the April/May 2012 print edition of Tourist Attractions & Parks Magazine for complete awards coverage.)

After tallying over 8,000 votes in 11 categories, this year’s Excellence in Family Entertainment Center Awards were presented to:

Best Bowling Anchored Center: Shenaniganz, Rockwall, Texas
Best Indoor Family Entertainment Center: The Funplex, East Hanover, N.J.
Best Outdoor/Indoor Family Entertainment Center: Fun Spot, Orlando, Fla.
Best Roller Skating Center: Scottie’s Fun Spot, Quincy, Ill.
Best Birthday Parties: Heros, Toledo, Ohio
Best Facility Website: The Children’s Museum of Denver, Denver, Colo.
Best Facility Maintenance Program: Paradise Park, Lee’s Summit, Mo.
Best Facility Food Operation: America’s Incredible Pizza Company, San Antonio, Texas
Best Laser Tag Center: Laser Tag & Games, Metairie, La.
Best Games Zone (Arcade): Boomers!, Dania Beach, Fla.
Best Redemption Prize Center: Enchanted Castle, Lombard, Ill.

Larry White of Tourist Attractions & Parks Magazine and Jerry Merola, presenter for Foundations Entertainment University, CFO for Alpha-Omega Amusements and Sales and partner of Amusement Entertainment Management L.L.C., were on hand to present the awards.

Parker Coddington, partner of Shenaniganz, shared his comments on winning the award for Best Bowling Anchored Center. “First, we’d like to thank Foundations and Tourist Attractions & Parks magazine for even considering us to be nominated in this category, let alone actually nominating us. We are graduates of Foundations University, and we subscribe to TAP magazine. Second, we need to thank all those who voted for us. Without our Shenani – Fans, we obviously wouldn’t have won.”
“You should know we are a family owned and operated business. There are six siblings total, and three of us actively run and manage Shenaniganz. When we opened in December 2008, we had exactly zero years combined experience in the entertainment or FEC business. Thus, we must also thank two partners who were and continue to be so instrumental to any successes we’ve had to date: Mike Auger and the folks at Trifecta Management Group and Beth Standlee and her team at TrainerTainment. We’d be remiss not to mention the guys at Brunswick, Neil Farren at Strike’s in Frisco, Texas, and Brian Smith and Jay Trietly at Alley Cats in Arlington, Texas.”
“Most importantly, we need to thank our parents, Dr. Tom and Hazel Ripp. One of us brothers, Justin, had the idea to build an FEC in Rockwall, Texas. But it was our parents who put down the seven figure down payment via cold, hard cash, and who signed the personal guarantees for the seven figure loans, so that their kids could work together and have a way to make a great future for ourselves and our families. We love you, Mom and Dad.”
Scottie’s Fun Spot, upon finding out they had won for Best Roller Skating Center, shared the following, “We would like to say thank you to Amusement Entertainment Management (AEM) for their consulting along the way to make our transformation a success. Also, a big thanks to all our fellow operators and customers who voted for us, and Tourist, Attractions & Parks Magazine for this award. We can’t begin to tell you what this honor means to us. That being said, we are so gratified for even being nominated in this category, and then to win is so very much appreciated.”
“Scottie, who started this facility in 1936 with a small portable rink, would be extremely proud of everything that has been accomplished over the past 75 years.”
“Thanks again, so very much from Bob, Jan, Jeff and everyone at Scotties Fun Spot!”
Congratulations to all the nominees and award winners. Their hard work and dedication to providing family entertainment in an outstanding and fun-filled environment has been recognized throughout the industry.

Universal Orlando Resort Reopens The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

Universal Orlando Resort has reopened The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, a highly popular theme park experience. The attraction now features many enhancements, including all-new 4K digital high-definition ride animation, a new highly-sophisticated Infitec 3-D projection system, a rockin’ new music score and all-new 3-D “Spider-Vision” glasses. The new animation comes to life across the attraction’s towering visual spaces, some of which are more than four stories tall and just as wide.  Live special effects such as heat blasts and water surges as well as the motion of the ride vehicle are precisely calibrated to match the animation so that riders will feel as if the entire adventure is happening to them.
As they reanimated the attraction film, the creative team added hundreds of new details and effects.  Guests will see moss swaying in the wind, rats scurrying through the streets and hear electricity arching so close it will raise the hair on the back of their necks.  And for the first time ever, Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee will make a cameo appearance inside the attraction.  Lee was meticulously animated in 3-D and placed in more than one scene inside the new animation.
“The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man was so wonderful before,” said comic book icon and Spider-Man co-creator, Stan Lee. “But now, with all of the new technology that’s been added, it is indescribably spectacular.”
“We took an incredible theme park ride experience and made it even better,” said Thierry Coup, senior vice president of Universal Creative.  “If you have been on this attraction before, then it will seem like the first time.  If you have never been on it, then you will simply be blown away.”

Here are the top 10 unique new elements in The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man:

  • The action is more life-like than ever.  Guests will actually see the movement of the characters’ muscles and the changes in their facial expressions.
  • The new HD film animation combined with brand-new, highly sophisticated Infitec 3-D projection, allows guests to experience mind-blowing details they’ve never been able to…from the flames spewing from Hobgoblin’s pumpkins to the electricity arching through Electro’s body to the stitching on Spider-Man’s gloves.
  • Guests will experience the ride’s new details through all-new 3-D “Spider-Vision” glasses, complete with new lenses made of dichroic filters for amazing color and clarity.
  • The enhanced attraction features a new original music score.  It is the same Spider-Man theme guests love with a rockin’ twist.
  • The ride vehicle’s audio system has been upgraded from 8-channel to 16-channel so riders will be even more immersed in the action. Guests will experience 3-D sound quality.
  • All of the film animation for The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man has been completely reanimated in 4K high-definition, that’s one of the highest HD resolutions available.
  • Every single scene in the attraction has at least one new element.
  • There are hundreds of cool new details for guests to discover in the attraction.  Lighting, sets, graphics, props and even scenic detail have been updated to further enhance the animation’s tremendous improvements.
  • Legendary comic book icon and Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee makes a cameo appearance in the new film animation.
  • The attraction experience continues to use the latest technology to provide guests a fully integrated and immersive experience with some of their favorite Marvel characters.

Super Size Me: Pac-Man Battle Royale Deluxe Is in Stock and Shipping Now

The first production release of the Pac-Man Battle Royale Deluxe units were so much in demand that the units sold out before NAMCO America officially unveiled it to both United States and international buyers at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2011. The deluxe units have been out in the field for the last one and a half months and the performance is off the charts. The collection reports being reported put Pac-Man Battle Royale at or near the top of the location against attractions with far heftier price tags. The deluxe cabinets officially launched in December to great fanfare with launch parties in 20 different Dave & Buster’s locations across the U.S. The two-day launch event saw Pac-Man Power Girls appearing in locations from Times Square in New York to San Diego, Calif. Guests at the launch party locations were greeted by a Pac-Man Power Girl and were given free game swipes to try out the new multi-player game. Players at the event were also given limited edition Mardi Gras beads emblazoned with the iconic Pac-Man logo. Photos of the launch parties can be seen on the official Pac-Man Battle Royale Facebook page at

One of the greatest things about Pac-Man Battle Royale Deluxe is that it packs an outstanding attraction at about the floor space size of a twin driving game. Nowhere else can an operator get this much punch packed into this small of a package. When a player walks into a location it is almost impossible to miss the large monitor and glowing neon lights. The cabinet designers say it was designed to be visible from space and they hit the mark. Pac-Man Battle Royale Deluxe is available now through all of NAMCO America’s authorized distributors. For more information about Pac-Man Battle Royale Deluxe, please visit or call (847) 264-5610.

Seen at the AMOA State Meeting

Andy Shaffer, (right), the incoming President of the AMOA, photographed with Frank Seninsky, Past President.
The attendees of the AMOA state meeting.

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