There’s an old adage that we’re all familiar with: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Unfortunately, when it comes to restaurant-related equipment, assets, and systems, this is a bad piece of advice. Reactive or emergency maintenance is always more expensive than preventive maintenance. Preventive maintenance is the time you take to ensure that your equipment stays working. It involves, not only the more time-consuming work of monthly and semi-annual professional maintenance work but also the daily cleaning and upkeep of your equipment. Take to heart these top five preventive maintenance tasks that will help your restaurant stay ahead of the curve.
Task One: Take Care of Your HVAC System
Your heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system may operate in the background, but if your air conditioning goes out in the heat of the summer, you can be sure it will impact your bottom line. Customers prefer a restaurant that has a cool but inviting climate and will not continue to eat at a balmy restaurant on an even hotter day. By employing a computerized maintenance management system, you can easily schedule routine maintenance items such as filter changes, seasonal tune-ups, and regular inspections to keep it running reliably.
Task Two: Use Sensors to Ensure Food Safety
Sensor technology has advanced in performance and dropped in price, making it an excellent investment for restaurants. For example, a temperature sensor can be used on both freezer and refrigeration equipment, constantly monitoring these assets to ensure that food products are safe. As soon as one of these key assets falls out of the acceptable temperature range, an alert can be sent to your computerized maintenance management system software. This allows you to address the critical maintenance item immediately.
No longer will you need to rely on an observant employee wondering if the refrigerator feels too warm or discard large quantities of spoiled ingredients. Reduce or eliminate the risk of sickening your customers or failing to pass health department inspections. All of these consequences are costly and can be prevented with a reliable maintenance management solution and integrated sensor technology. With the many different advances in technology allowing for internet and computerized sensor technology to integrate with your cloud-based maintenance system, all this information is right in the smartphone of anyone who needs access to the information.
Task Three: Maintain Your Customer-Facing Assets
When an ordering kiosk or a point-of-sale computer fails, you’ll want it repaired as soon as possible. Consider using your computerized maintenance management system software to track issues that come up with your customer-facing technology. This will allow you to determine preventive maintenance tasks that can mitigate future issues. At the very least, you’ll have an accurate record of the time, labor and costs associated with repairing these technologies. This data can help you determine when to upgrade systems.
Task Four: Care for Your Cooking Equipment
Your restaurant’s back-of-house crew uses dozens of food preparation appliances each day. Keep your fryers, ovens, microwaves, grills, and ice cream machines operating reliably with a good preventive maintenance routine. Having a good preventive maintenance strategy is beneficial to keep reactive maintenance at a minimum and your back-of-house crew is part of the team that makes that happen.
Start by inputting recommended maintenance, inspection and cleaning tasks listed in the operating manuals of your equipment into your maintenance software. Your system can then automatically schedule tasks on a regular basis so important maintenance items are not forgotten. It is important to then remind and teach your back of house crew the importance of tasks that they do for preventive maintenance.
Task Five: A Place for Miscellaneous Items
The advantage of using maintenance management software is that there is really no limit to the applications that exist. For example, if your restaurant has an indoor play area for children, cleaning, inspecting and maintaining that area for safety can be included. If you run a drive-thru window, you may have additional preventive maintenance tasks for the outdoor ordering or payment kiosks. Outdoor patio areas may require additional maintenance tasks during the warmer seasons. Exterior building maintenance, parking lots, landscaping, and all those other areas that require attention can be incorporated into a central system.
Getting your preventive maintenance program up and fine-tuned is an excellent way to improve both your restaurant’s efficiency and boost customer satisfaction. Taking a proactive approach will minimize the labor, time, money and stress that comes with unexpected maintenance needs. After all, you’re running a restaurant and maintenance tasks often fall into the “necessary evil” category. Implement a reliable computerized maintenance management system, take advantage of technologies such as sensors, and get your eatery organized to stay on top of all your maintenance issues.