Looking Like My Oven Is Going To Sink Me

My old MM PS200 broke down tonight, we heard something inside break and then start making a loud “thump, thump, thump” sound and vibrating heavily. I think it’s probably something to do with the blower drive shaft or assembly, I took the belt off the end that we start the pizzas and it resolved the major problem, but it still sounds like the other half is about to give out any time now.

To even access that part of the oven would require breaking it down completely to move it away from the wall in my 12 ft wide kitchen that has cold tables on the opposite wall. Once disassembled, I would still have to figure out what the problem was and order parts. I had one of the blower motors and a relay switch replaced Fall '08 right after buying the store and it took 2 months for them to get parts and install, not really an option to be closed that long.

Right now I’m scrambling to try to find a new oven before this one dies, since that seems like my only real option. But, I only have about 1/2 the money available for what it looks like I’d need for a remanufactured oven. Looked at financing a new, energy efficient oven last winter and was told I needed to post at least another year of current sales or growth since the store was in such bad shape when we started.

We came pretty close, but I’m not thinking this is not going to end well for us.

I very sorry to hear that a critical part of your business is not working. It must be super stressful to say the least. I know ovens are expensive, but since you can’t run your business without one, don’t most of you have at least two ovens to both handle peak volume and sidestep occasional breakdowns? Losing a few nights (or a week) of sales is expensive too.

Are there any situations where having only one oven is the best solution?

What about other critical points of failure in your business? Do you have plans in place already to address them?

Generators are expensive too, but being the only restaurant open after an extended power outage (like after a hurricane or tornado) can mean a years worth of sales in a few weeks. That generator would be cheap then huh?

Has PMQ (recently) done an article on this? (hint, hint) Do you guys have plans for emergencies? If your business is struggling now in the slow economy, one major disruption in business might sink you. Hurricane season starts 1 June. Emergencies happen at the worst possible times. Are you ready?

Good points Gregster, but unfortunatley some people don’t have the readies to buy a second oven, especially when the sales don’t warrant ahving that money tied up and not being used enough.
I have had a single oven since I had my shop and will be getting a second within the next six weeks. WE held off getting the second due to our lease only being on a month to month which made it unfeasable to outlay $25K for an oven without a tenure of lease. Now we are in the process of negotiating a new 20 year lease can we confidently get the finance to buy the second one.
For the past 2 years I have held my breath every busy night hoping the oven didn’t die. We went close a couple of times but I was able to salvage the situation until we got it serviced. I found the key was regular servicing and a strong maintenance program.
As far as generators goes this is great if you building has the room to have one or your lease allows such. Where we are we dont have access outside the shop for one and no room inside where there is no food prep done.
None the less good points if the situation allows.

Dave

You’re right on the mark Greg. We’ve got that stand-by generator on our wish list, right after we get allllll our build-out expenses paid off. We’re in a tornado zone where having the power off for an entire evening isn’t unheard of. Lines iced in the winter have meant days of no electricity before, not often, not every year, but it happens. The way I see it the price of a generator installed, big enough to run the kitchen, some lights…and the A/C units, would be paid for after one or two events b/c we’d be the ONLY kitchen OR home in town with power. Bears thinking on.

I just had another thought: What about Key employees? What would happen if a key employee got an unexpected illness or injury and couldn’t work for a few weeks?

Cross training and contingency planning beforehand can make a huge difference in how an employee loss (or yourself as management) affects day to day operations. Do you have viable options when you hear that a key person cannot work for a few weeks?

Are YOU a key employee? What tasks can only you do? Who will do them when you can’t? What’s the plan? Can they get the passwords/ keys/ whatever they need to do those things? Can they legally execute your duties such as sign paychecks? Is power of attorney set up for the unthinkable?

Also, what about when someone drives their car through the front door glass or wall? What if it happens after hours? Do you have the contractors’ numbers handy if this happen in the middle of the night or in the middle of the rush?

What unexpected emergencies have you had to overcome over the years of running your business? Did you handle it well then? What would you do differently now to be better prepared?

And back to the oven matter… Is it wiser to have two lesser capacity ovens then one full capacity oven that can fail and leave you stranded?

Another thought… Business/insurance records… Are they kept on premises? Backed up? If they were stolen or destroyed, would you have a hard time getting up and running again?

POS/computer failure… unthinkable nightmare or no sweat?

Employee sabotage of business records/computers… You have a backup for that? What if your “trusted’ manager changes all of the passwords or deletes vital records as retaliation for some action you took… What then?

What about other “single points of failure”? Box label printer? Receipt printer? What if they die… what then?

Phones go out on Friday night… Do they ‘roll over’ to another separate number if not answered ?

Brainstorm guys… what else?

At the the risk of talking ovens for the OP :slight_smile: Talk to PizzaSteve on the other thread. He has a pair of CTX ovens that he has spare that could be had for affordable. He is in Ohio . . .you somewhere in Midwest. could be a hook-up. At least they could get you through to a real durable solution to your problem.

Consider it even if you need ot learn how to bake with it. A four hour shift baking should get you there and adjusted. Less with help from the fine folks here already using that oven. Beats closing the doors if you have an otherwise feasible business.

We do have a backup oven, a small Lincoln 1000. When we bought the store in Fall '08, we were told that it “hasn’t worked in years”. I broke into it last night, changed fuses, found a missing drive chain in the basement, cleaned it up and it fired up. It needs some adjustments and it’s not going to handle much volume, but I have a small safety net right now.

The major issue right now is that I have a 190 sq/ft kitchen, including sink station and storage for dry goods. Just getting inside the MM is going to be a huge task. It’s just one of those situations that a young operator like me finds themselves in with no business partner or peers to sit down and talk through scenarios/options. TT is a godsend, although gregster has turned the thread into something completely unrelated, I appreciate all the PMs. It’s a great community we have here.

This will work out, I know it. We shouldn’t have lasted a month with the situation we started in, we’ll get through this too.

I have a doublestack of Lincoln X-2 3270 ovens that I could sell cheap. Probably not as cheap as the CTX’s , but it’s another option.

isnt the lincoln 1000 and the mm 200 the same size

If you are interested in some cheap fixer upper lincoln 1000s
i have some in houston

Paul

My guess is his Middleby is not a 200 but a 250. The 250 has a 32" wide by 80" long cook chamber. By comparison the Lincoln 1000 seems small.

It may not be a standard Lincoln 1000 model, because it’s about half the length of my MM. It has a plate on it that says “WearEver”, so maybe a portable version?

Paul, I’ll send you a PM.

I’m reading up on those CTX ovens (crazy that he posted about those while I was having a break down), they’re electric though, so I have to check and see what it would take to convert.

Here’s the massive amount of room I’m working with:

http://i45.tinypic.com/33pdoy1.jpg

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My guess is his Middleby is not a 200 but a 250. The 250 has a 32" wide by 80" long cook chamber. By comparison the Lincoln 1000 seems small.
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You’re right, typo. It is a 250.

The Lincoln X-2s don’t look like they would work in your kitchen. They are close to 2 feet wider than that Middleby 250. You would have your back hitting the oven while topping pizzas, and they wouldn’t fit under your hood either. Consider jackaloos Lincoln 1000’s. A double stack of those will cook the same volume as your Middleby 250. You might even get more volume out of the Lincolns as they will likely cook faster than the old Middleby.

How much do you need for the remanufactured oven? Have you already found one? Maybe the TT’ers should pass the hat :slight_smile:

I have a set of middleby 360’s that would fit nicely in your kitchen. You could have them for $6,000 and I could help with delivery if you needed it. I might be able to finance part of it for you if that would help. p.m. me if you are interested. John G. Another option might be a new Edge 60 oven. You could probably get a single for a little over $11,000 and they let me pay off my balance over 3 or 4 months.

I have an extra lincoln 1000 up here in Manhattan you can borrow. It runs on propane and I never use it. You are more than welcome to borrow it for an extended time

Relax- You have one of the best ovens ever made (MM250).

Middleby hates that they made there first conveyor so good.

Check BOTH belts- they are on each end. A chunk missing may cause the noise.

Once both belts are removed turn on the oven- if it is noisy- the motor bearing need to be changed.

Put both belts back on and run- if is is still noisy- it may be the main bearings- (2 on each side) you can get them from Grainger for about $65 each. Call some restaurant repair companies or machine shops- a crafty person can change them.

You would need 2 Lincoln 1000’s to replace your oven- try to fix first

Any chance of leasing an oven, possibly with an option to buy?
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

The ctx ovens are eiter 90 or 110 inches long–don’t remember which. They are thin (wide??) enough to fit easily through a 30 to 32 inch door. And again, I am not sure if they work. The guy who has them only said that the refrigration units needed some repairs. The ovens at least need cleaned.

I’m not sure how much a converter would cost, but if you don’t have 3 phase, you’ll need a converter.

The CTX can be stepped down to single phase, but…these ovens are MAMMOTH (but thin & quite) - extremely heavy & pricey 2 ship & parts are a bit scarce…

I love 'em but would not recommend 'em 4 u

Get your oven repaired - cheaper