In the food service business, every hour that you’re open and operating is critical to your bottom line. So what happens when you’re open but not operating (or not fully operating) due to maintenance issues? Chances are, you’re losing money. Here are some (probably all too familiar) examples:
- The HVAC is out, your kitchen staff is ready to pass out and customers are walking out due to the heat
- Your walk-in freezer is down, the ice cream is melting, and you have a delivery coming in an hour
- It’s Fried Chicken Friday, and your deep fryer is on the fritz
- The health inspector is due, and the dishwasher just stopped working
We could go on, but you get the point. The problem is compounded when you’re managing multiple locations. It’s hard enough to keep up with all the restaurant equipment service needed for one location, but when you oversee a handful to a dozen or more, things can get overwhelming in a hurry.
When you have different vendors for each location and for each type of restaurant equipment service, you could be juggling appointment schedules, work orders, and invoices for dozens of vendors!
Here’s some advice that could shave hours (at least) off your weekly schedule: build a relationship with a single restaurant equipment service provider for all locations and services, including refrigeration equipment, kitchen equipment and HVAC. Doing so can not only decrease your downtime and increase profits, but improve restaurant equipment service and make your life a lot easier along the way.
Related article: 7 Commercial Maintenance Tips for Multi-Location Businesses
6 reasons to work with a single restaurant equipment service provider
Here’s why you’ll get better service and reduced downtime when you have one trusted company who can handle all your restaurant equipment service needs.
1. Better response time in an emergency
Isn’t it always an emergency when a piece of mission critical equipment goes down? When you work with a restaurant equipment service company that understands your business, we get that. It’s not just a refrigerator or a kitchen hood, it’s your business that’s at stake.
When you need service in a hurry, there’s no time to be figuring out who to call. You want a single point of contact that can get there fast and take care of everything. Also here’s a secret tip: when you have a larger service contract with a single vendor (rather than smaller ones with multiple vendors), your call is a top priority.
2. A dedicated account manager
When you have a familiar person who knows you and your business, it not only takes the stress out of the situation, but streamlines the process. There’s no need to dig through old bills trying to figure out who fixed your lowboy last time and find their phone number. Your account manager already knows your people, your locations, and the service history for each one. There’s no need to go into lengthy explanations. Or worse, play middle man between your staff at one location and your restaurant equipment service company. Just make one call, and the problem is handled.
3. Someone who understands all your systems
Here’s a fact that not many restaurant managers realize: the operation of each system impacts the operation of the others.
Let us explain. When your AC is having problems, your refrigeration equipment has to work harder to maintain set temperature. That’s because the warm ambient air causes temps inside the boxes to rise. You can also get ice building up on the coils of your refrigeration units. Likewise, problems with your kitchen exhaust hoods can affect the operation of your air conditioning system. And how about open display cases? If your space is too warm due to ac issues, that display case can run constantly trying to cool the surrounding space until it finally freezes up and breaks down.
Do you see why you need one restaurant equipment service company that understands these interactions between systems? It saves time troubleshooting (good to know when you’re paying by the hour), solves problems and gets everything up and running faster.
4. Less paperwork for you
What could you do with a few extra hours every week? It’s not unusual to gain that much time with a single service provider. You decide: would you rather juggle 45 work orders and invoices or one from a single restaurant equipment service company?
5. Better communication
Another hassle about managing service for a bunch of locations is following up with staff on site and keeping up to date about what’s going on. With a relationship with the right restaurant equipment service company, that communication can happen automatically. You’ll get emails confirming appointments, then follow ups to let you know what happened during the service call. No more chasing people for information! Or worse, being in the dark about service problems at a location.
6. Help with strategic planning
Imagine if your restaurant equipment service provider could provide you with quarterly reports detailing service hours spent at each location. And pinpoint problems you could solve proactively to save money. Those reports are like crystal balls that can show you which locations will need equipment replaced in the coming year, helping you to plan for replacement. Not only does that prevent all the hassles of downtime when the old equipment fails, but it gives you the time to shop around for the best deal. The icing on the cake: you look like a star to your boss when you plan strategically for capital purchases.
Related article: Restaurant HVAC: 7 Ways to Find a Better Service Provider
Here’s the next step in improving your restaurant equipment service. Chances are you are familiar with maintenance contracts for HVAC, but many restaurant managers are not aware that they can get the same benefits and more with a refrigeration service contract. Here’s a free and helpful resource that explains Refrigeration Preventive Maintenance Contracts: How to Find the Right One for Your Food Service Operation.