Equipment failure is common in the restaurant business. The consequences: downtime and poor customer experience. Preventing equipment from unexpected failure is your first line of defense against unforeseen service delivery interruptions.
Fortunately, there are budget-friendly ways to reduce the likelihood of equipment breakdown. Here are 3 ways to save money with effective restaurant maintenance.
1. Avoid Unexpected Equipment Breakdown
When a machine that is crucial to your restaurant operation breaks down, it can leave adverse effects on customer service, besides causing service disruption. Broken equipment is also costly in terms of repair. All of these factors will ultimately lead to lost revenue.
Consider your deep fryer breaks down unexpectedly. Your restaurant depends on this piece of equipment for food preparation. When it ceases to function, it is going to cause considerable revenue loss. If deep-fried foods are your restaurant’s specialty, you’ll have to tell customers that their favorite foods are not available. Now, think about its effects on customer experience and the long-term consequences.
But the problem is most restaurants wait for equipment breakdown to happen and then do whatever is required to repair or replace it. This is a costly approach and comes with serious consequences in terms of customer experience. The best way is to avoid unexpected equipment failure in the first place. You should do everything you can to prevent equipment failure preemptively.
2. Implement Preventive Maintenance
Preventive maintenance is a reliable and cost-effective way for restaurant maintenance. While it is not necessary for every piece of equipment, your high-value equipment has reasons to get preventive maintenance. If a large portion of your menu depends on certain equipment, its failure could result in downtime. Preventive maintenance will reduce the likelihood of unexpected failures and hence downtime.
By implementing preventive maintenance, your staff can quickly identify potential problems and take timely action to prevent breakdowns. Preventive maintenance has a high initial cost but in the long run it saves you money because it reduces the need for costly repairs and replacements.
For example, when a refrigerator suddenly ceases to function, it can put your inventory at risk in the form of spoiled food items. A huge repair bill and poor customer experience are other negative consequences that a broken restaurant refrigerator can cause.
Let’s say you have $10,000 worth of food items in your refrigerator. The machine suddenly breaks down. It takes two days to do a major repair that costs you $3,000. Because the refrigerator is not working during these two days, you lose $10,000 in expected profit. The food items are spoiled. The total immediate loss incurred sums up to $20,000. This amount does not include the $3,000 repair expense.
A preventive maintenance plan will save you from similar worse situations. It allows your staff to inspect and maintain the refrigerator and other equipment regularly. By doing so, they are preventing unexpected malfunctions and prolonging the machine’s life expectancy.
Here are some examples of how you can use preventive maintenance to reduce the likelihood of unexpected equipment failure in restaurants:
- Make sure to clean, lubricate, upkeep, and repair restaurant equipment at regular intervals.
- For a refrigerator, inspect the temperature settings and adjust it if necessary. Also, inspect the coil, fan blades, and defrost settings.
- For a deep fryer, check the temperature, keep it free from floating debris, and clean and filter it twice a day every day.
3. Train Staff Properly
The restaurant business involves a team of staff in and around equipment every day. This could affect your equipment’s operating condition. The lack of training for the team, especially the equipment operators, increases the likelihood of an unexpected breakdown.
Just imagine an operator who works on a piece of equipment they have not been adequately trained to operate. The risk of equipment failure increases considerably under such conditions. The operator may not use equipment properly or fail to spot signs of equipment malfunction. This can lead to unexpected equipment breakdown.
Training your staff is a budget-friendly way of restaurant maintenance. Make sure your staff members receive thorough training in the operating procedures and best practices for the equipment they work with. Also, be sure that you have sufficiently trained staff to use during emergency situations, such as when there is staff absence.
When you train your staff properly on how to use the equipment, it will reduce the risk of operator error for maintenance. Most important of all, do not allow a staff member to use machines or appliances they are not trained to operate. This is yet another way to reduce the risk of operational error. It is also crucial for regulatory compliance. Make sure to do your research about the regulatory implications of using untrained staff for operating certain equipment.
Written by – Warren Wu
Writers Bio – Warren Wu has years of restaurant experience from being a waiter at Common Theory Public House in San Diego, California. He now leads Growth for UpKeep, a software company that helps companies streamline their maintenance.