NYC Metro Area’s HVACR Blog

Commercial HVAC, Commercial Refrigeration

Restaurant HVAC: Do You Need a Service Contract?


restaurant hvac

Have you ever been to a restaurant and thought the food was quite good, but you wouldn’t go back because you were so uncomfortably hot? You don’t want to be that restaurant. One way to avoid losing repeat customers is to have a restaurant HVAC service contract to maintain an inviting climate.

Subpar restaurant HVAC hurts business

Does your restaurant have an HVAC system prone to breakdowns or plagued by performance issues? If they are too hot or too cold, customers will not likely give you a second chance. It’s critical that you fix your restaurant HVAC system pronto and keep it working well.

Is your place hot and sticky? Customers might wonder if you are following proper food storage and refrigeration standards.

Besides losing return customers, you may drive away new customers. Poor online ratings can ruin your restaurant’s reputation quickly. Once negative comments do their damage, it’s hard to recover from poor reviews. Bad news travels fast on Facebook and review sites like Yelp.

Failing restaurant HVAC affects employees, too

A malfunctioning restaurant HVAC system also makes your employees less productive. It’s hard enough to handle the heat from flaming grills, ovens and stoves without the added problem of a barely-working air conditioning system.

It’s difficult to deliver a large tray of food with a smile when you’re wilting from heat. Service from a sweaty wait staff is not appealing. Even the most energetic employees might perform sluggishly when temperatures and humidity rise.

4 things HVAC preventative maintenance can do for you

1. Keep conditions comfortable.

The most important thing preventative maintenance can do is help keep your restaurant HVAC system running well. That translates into comfortable customers and employees.

2. Prevent expensive breakdowns.

No AC on a hot day could shut down your business, hurt your reputation and lose customers. Regular maintenance can help you avoid expensive and untimely breakdowns. Skilled technicians can detect things like fatigued parts and worn belts. By addressing these inexpensive problems, you can avert a major and costly system failure.

3. Lower your electric bill.

Something as simple as a clogged filter can cause your AC unit to work harder use more electricity. Preventative maintenance keeps your system running efficiently and use less power.

4. Uncover HVAC design problems.

Restaurant HVAC requirements can differ from building to building. A rooftop dining spot surrounded by windows has different needs than a cozy dining nook in the basement.

Has your restaurant been renovated since your building’s HVAC system was installed? Reconstruction work may have taken place before you moved into your space. Added walls and a reconfigured floor plan can easily cause HVAC airflow problems.

An HVAC expert can look at your restaurant HVAC design to determine if modifications can improve airflow. Sometimes, small changes like moving ductwork can yield much better results.

What else you get with a restaurant HVAC maintenance contract

You get the most from HVAC maintenance when you get a yearly service contract. Here’s why.

Priority service.

It’s true: maintenance programs do help prevent unplanned repair work. However, if you do need urgent service, customers with contracts receive priority as a reward for their loyalty.

If you don’t have a service contract, you could wait long time for a repair on a 90-degree day. You cannot afford to do that when you have a restaurant filled with hungry customers.

The best pricing.

Preventative maintenance contract holders also get better pricing for maintenance work than businesses that call up for a single maintenance visit.

Trusted partners.

You also get trusted HVAC experts to turn to with questions and problems. Here’s a great example. Due to the pandemic, NYC restaurants have had to adhere to new requirements for HVAC and indoor air quality. Your HVAC service partners can help you sort out those complex rules and figure out the best air purification solution for your restaurant. (If you’re in NYC and you need help with that, reach out to Arista for a helpful consultation.)


You don’t have to remember to schedule your regular AC maintenance. If you have a contract, your provider will let you know when it’s time for your maintenance visit.

Not all service contracts are the same

Restaurant HVAC systems vary and have different needs. For instance, a newly installed state-of-the art VRF system does not have the same service needs as an old system you are nursing along until you can afford new equipment.

If you are considering a preventative maintenance contract, you don’t have to settle for a one-size-fits-all agreement. Restaurant HVAC maintenance programs can be tailored to meet your unique needs.

Some need preventative maintenance twice annually, while others need quarterly visits. Some sign up for routine maintenance on their air conditioning and not their heating and vise-versa.
Learn more:

How to compare restaurant HVAC service contracts

If you are getting estimates from several HVAC contractors for restaurant HVAC maintenance, make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Ask for a written proposal. For instance, not all maintenance contracts provide coil cleaning, which is vital to the efficient operations of your system. Make sure all maintenance tasks are clearly spelled out.

TIP: You can bundle your restaurant HVAC maintenance with refrigeration unit maintenance to save money and get more comprehensive service. As you know, your refrigeration units are not something you can afford to be without even for a short period.

Learn more:
Service Contracts for HVAC: Red Flags and Terms to Watch For
Why Combine a Refrigeration & Commercial HVAC Service Contract
The Owner’s Guide to Restaurant HVAC Refrigeration Service

Here’s what’s good to know: restaurant HVAC can be challenging. So you want an HVAC company that’s experienced with your environment. Read this helpful guide to learn how to make the best choice: The NYC Restaurant Owner’s Guide to Choosing an HVAC Company.

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