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Are You Following These 6 Repair and Maintenance Best Practices?

Stephanie Bernstein
September 15, 2021

Any business owner faces the responsibility of maintaining their equipment, but restaurant operators have a unique issue when it comes to repairs - if their equipment isn’t working, they can’t serve their customers the food they came for. Restaurant repairs are a $26 billion dollar industry and R&M is the largest controllable expense for a restaurant - behind food and labor costs. That being said, most owners, operators, and general managers are far from maintenance experts.

Repair and maintenance is not one-size-fits-all, especially as restaurant size and segments differ. While there may not be an R&M 101 training manual, there are a few best practices to follow.

How do we know?
86 Repairs connects the dots and data between service providers, individual restaurant locations, and corporate teams to improve consistency, visibility, and control of the R&M process.

We track value metrics like Total Cost of Ownership, Vendor Performance, ROI, and more for each and every 86 Repairs customer. From these data points, we help other customers benchmark their performance against hundreds of locations, thousands of service incidents, and tens of thousands of assets. Our Account Management team then makes well-informed recommendations, so you’re not managing the optimization process alone.

Ready to save time and money on restaurant equipment repair?

We empower and equip operators with the insights to:

  • Make better business decisions, like when to repair vs. when to replace a specific piece of equipment
  • Make more strategic capital planning decisions
  • Deliver the right approvals and decisions to the right providers
  • Track total cost of ownership at every location
  • Minimize operational distractions and business disruptions
  • Maximize uptime and profits

CALCULATE YOUR ROI

With customers ranging from QSR to full service, from markets to universities, we have a clear, data-backed understanding of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to equipment repairs. That’s why our Customer Success Team follows these 6 industry best practices for saving on repair and maintenance:

  1. Negotiate with Vendors
    When managing repairs on your own, getting the job done ASAP is the priority, especially when something as essential as a fryer or HVAC system breaks down during rush. With more strategic planning and preventative maintenance, emergency repairs aren’t obsolete, but certainly less frequent. PM makes comparing quotes and negotiation in advance of service appointments possible.

    With 86 on your side, our in-house team does exactly this to make sure you're only paying fair prices and getting the right vendor for the job. We leverage the collective intelligence from tens of thousands of service incidents to make sure you pay a fair price for a repair — every time. We leverage our Vendor Mix Analysis, which ensures that we dispatch top-performing vendors by first-time fix rate, mean time to resolution, and hourly rate.

    In Action: For one customer, their preferred vendor quoted $7,770 for an electrical repair. Our Customer Success team leveraged our nationwide network of providers to get an electrician sent out for 60% less than the original quote.

  2. Troubleshoot When Possible
    Sometimes, something breaks but service isn’t even needed. But when you’re unfamiliar with R&M and equipment, stress kicks in and distracts from trying something as simple as resetting a breaker. With consistent maintenance processes in place and a detailed understanding of equipment health, troubleshooting can be easy as pie.

    Our Customer Success Managers’ experience in the industry helps customers troubleshoot simple incidents in real time to avoid unnecessary service visits. In 2020, we were able to successfully troubleshoot 18.7% (nearly 1 in 5) incidents for our customers.

  3. Avoid OT Dispatch
    Similarly, when a repair is less urgent, dispatch avoidance is the alternative for excessive prices. Overtime charges on nights and weekends can be a nightmare; if possible, we recommend employing short-term solutions and holding tight until standard rates resume.

    When done right, a band-aid fix can be helpful to avoid an OT charge. However, we don’t recommend regularly relying on duct tape and a prayer. Preparation, such as data-backed repair vs. replace decisions and preventative maintenance, can minimize the blow of inevitable breakdowns and leave you more equipped to manage these incidents in real time.

  4. Check Warranty Status Before Service
    Manufacturer-to-vendor communication is imperative to understand warranty eligibility and timelines. However, with extenuating supply chain strains and labor shortages putting pressure on the industry, communication is limited.

    Establishing a foundation by taking comprehensive inventory is essential to good asset management. During our onboarding process, we create custom Digital Equipment Inventories of your kitchen assets across locations for you in order to accurately track service history, spend, and warranty status. When issues arise, we can ensure customers never pay for a repair that should be covered by warranty.

    Conversely, we ensure warranty work is authorized to avoid voiding warranty. It’s an all too common rookie mistake. When one part of an HVAC system stops working, and you swap it with a unauthorized replacement, you may be voiding the entire system’s warranty. Some manufacturers even require specific approvals on repairs to maintain eligibility.

    When information is well-documented across all equipment, and there are processes in place - plus, an on-call team dotting I’s and crossing T’s on your behalf - these mistakes are much less likely.

  5. Order Parts Well in Advance
    Maintenance inventory and purchasing vary greatly from business to business, and vendor to vendor. When a preventative maintenance plan is established, detailing materials and parts to keep in stock and readily available is routine. Based on the current state of the supply chain, parts as simple as filters and fryer baskets are hard to come by. What used to take days, is now taking weeks.

    When service jobs are properly scheduled, delays are minimized. We maintain a solid grasp on parts supplies and manufacturer lead times through extensive industry relationships. Often, our customers will need specific parts – sometimes even for self-install – that our Customer Success Team can secure on a one-time or recurring basis. These resolutions avoid unnecessary markups by manufacturers and save on labor and travel charges by avoiding dispatch altogether.

  6. Use Preventative Maintenance
    If the wrong pipe backed up on a Friday night, you may have sewage backed up in the restaurant, or at least the smell of it. You’d want that fixed ASAP.

    If you abide by one best practice on this list, choose Preventative Maintenance. It’s a must-have, not a nice-to-have. Getting ahead of breakdowns and establishing a schedule to assess equipment health eliminates the stress and investment surrounding emergency repairs.

    We’ve built a preventative maintenance program that actually works.

    Our team creates Digital Equipment Inventories, collects various quotes, and maintains schedules and checklists on your behalf. All of this is tracked in your customer profile to provide a single source of truth on your equipment.

    Additional reasons that preventative, or routine, maintenance is recommended are:
  • Wear-and-tear on equipment increases the likelihood of repair or the need for total replacement. Regular cleaning and checking reduces strain.
  • Local health codes and compliance requirements on equipment like grease traps, floor drains, vent hoods, fire suppression systems, and water filtration systems are mandatory.
  • Solid PM programs can save up to 30% on energy costs.
  • Downtime is detrimental. Period. Downtime of specific equipment needed to make a high-margin item – or the need to close down the restaurant completely – leads to lost revenue.


While repair and maintenance is a pain point for many restaurant operators, these 6 best practices can take some of the pain away. By using tactics such as vendor negotiation and warranty checks, as well as creating a preventative maintenance plan, you can alleviate the stress, high costs, and extra time needed to successfully maintain your equipment.

Want help? Let 86 Repairs manage the entire process for you.

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