Column contributed by Eric Schechter, SendaGuy Now
Maintain now or pay later
A little maintenance is such a sensible way to prevent unexpected expenses. Yet, without a plan for it, preventive maintenance is easily overlooked in the day-to-day operation of a busy restaurant. The following ideas require little more than your attention and perhaps a little elbow grease. You will be surprised how following a schedule of inspection and maintenance will prolong the life and help to control repair expenses of the following equipment.
Walk-In Coolers and Freezers:
- Keep the doors closed when not in use. If doors are left open for any extended amount of time, ice can quickly build-up on the evaporator coils and cause cooling problems. Keeping doors closed will help cut down on any unnecessary service calls.
- If doors must remain open, consider adding an air curtain or air door to the doorways.
- Keep evaporator and condenser coils clean and free from dirt and debris
- Check all door gaskets to ensure they are not torn or not sealing properly.
Steam Tables/Warmer Wells:
- Some units require the heating element be immersed in water at all times. It is important that the water level in the well never drops to a level where the immersible element is exposed, as this can cause premature failure.
- Keep the heating elements clean and free of any mineral build-up as this can also decrease the life of your equipment.
Air Conditioning/Heating System:
- Have your air conditioner filters changed or cleaned monthly or as needed. This will help save immensely on your electricity bill, as air conditioning can be a considerable percentage of your electric bill (20-30%).
- Be sure to get your air conditioning/heating system checked by a qualified professional at least twice yearly to ensure both the heat and cool cycles are operating safely and efficiently.
- Keep condenser coils clean on all refrigeration equipment, such as: ice-making equipment, refrigerators, freezers, salad coolers, air conditioning units, etc.
- Keeping condenser coils clean and free from dust and grease will help prevent breakdowns and costly repair bills, and will also save on
- Dust can usually be brushed off the coils or blown off with compressed air. Grease build-up sometimes requires a service company to clean it thoroughly with a coil cleaning solution.
- Ice machines are one of the most important pieces of equipment in your restaurant/bar. Keeping it clean will make it run better, it will make more ice, and it will cause less wear and tear on component parts, thereby saving money on electricity, as well as excessive repair costs.
- Keep your ice machine in good working order with a high-quality, properly installed water filtration system. Change those water filters every 3-6 months. Both of these suggestions will help extend the life of your ice machine, cut down on costly repairs, and finally, make cleaner, better tasting ice for your customers.
- Ice-making equipment must be properly sized for your particular establishment’s needs.
- Keeping clean air filters in your exhaust hoods will keep them working more efficiently, the motors running cooler and with less stress and strain, thereby extending the life of the motors and belts.
- Ensure scheduled cleaning of all hoods and ducts by a professional service provider.
- Have your exhaust hood and fresh air fans checked quarterly for proper operation and belt tension, which allows for peak performance.
- Wipe out spills from your oven daily. This will cut down on rust and corrosion in the oven cavity, while reducing the possibility of fire hazards.
Controlling your repair and maintenance costs really boils down to just two tasks. The first is the relatively simple and very sensible process of establishing a preventive maintenance schedule and sticking to it. This will extend the service life of your equipment, eliminating costly repairs or replacement.
The second part of controlling R&M costs having a strong team of service providers. This task requires a lot of effort which is why a service like SendaGuy Now is so valuable. SendaGuy Now saves you the time and effort of locating and validating quality service providers because all contractors on the SendaGuy Now Network have to apply and have to be approved. Which means they need to be licensed, insured and certified in the trades that they manage. In addition, SendaGuy Now customers can also rate their service providers so the community curates who’s doing a good job and who’s not.
You can now order Preventive Maintenance services directly from the SendaGuy Now app. SendaGuy Now can help your repair and maintenance tasks to run as efficiently as your kitchen. Then you will be in complete control of your business and that is a profitable place to be.
Eric Schechter is a Certified Restaurant Facilities Professional (CRFP) with over 25 years’ experience in the restaurant facilities industry.Eric is also Chief Business Guy at SendaGuy Now, the mobile app for restaurant repairs on demand, where he’s in charge of Strategy, Product & Service, Development & Evaluation, Go-To-Market Strategy and Product Management. Eric can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org