As lockdown restrictions are easing up in Scotland and food service businesses are set to reopen on Monday 26th April, national water retailer Castle Water has been providing helpful advice for those getting ready to open their doors once again.

Due to the current pandemic, it’s vital to ensure that reopening can be done safely for staff and customers alike. Castle Water recommends that business owners arrange for a deep cleaning of the premises before the opening date, using adequate cleaning products and paying particular attention to kitchen equipment. Follow manufacturers’ grease management instructions to clean equipment, as any leftover grease could have hardened while the businesses were closed, encouraging bacteria growth. Businesses will also have to review how they can safely welcome customers & staff on their premises, and have processes in place to clean throughout the day.

Water is essential when running a hospitality business, whether that’s to wash food or dishes. Castle Water urges business owners to run thorough checks of their premises, starting with identifying any leaks or blockages. These types of issues can potentially prevent businesses from opening so they should be resolved quickly. Leaks are often easily spotted through water damage, but Castle Water warns that leaks aren’t always visible and advises that a water bill suddenly increasing for no obvious reason could be a sign that you have a leak in your premises.

Not using sinks for weeks or months could cause any residue present in the pipes to dry up and cause blockages, so businesses should run water in their kitchen drains and check for blockages. All food service businesses are advised to properly dispose of any fats – if poured down a sink they can cause massive blockages called Fatbergs which over time can cause major disruptions in the sewers (UK spends approximately £100m every year clearing up these fatbergs).

While the kitchen is the heart of operations for a food service business, Castle Water reminds business owners that customer facilities should also be on their checklist. Check that sinks are clear of obstructions and flush toilets several times to ascertain that they are still running as intended.

For the past months, Castle Water has provided extra support to businesses, following Ofwat’s announcement that water charges would be waived for all businesses that had to close during the first lockdown. But the water retailer is on a continued mission to help business owners take control of their water bills. They advise business owners to regularly submit water meter readings as this ensures bills reflect the actual water consumption and help bring costs down. If you have not done so, take a meter reading as soon as possible before opening and set up reminders to do so at regular intervals.

Castle water also reminds all businesses that water retailers can help with many aspects of water supply and wastewater removal which can contribute to bringing costs down. If you’ve not done so, talk to your provider about improving your water efficiency, how you could reduce your trade effluent charges or have contingency plans in place in case your water supply is interrupted.