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6 Tips for Reducing Restaurant R&M Spend

Ariel Upton
July 27, 2020

So you want to invest in facility maintenance strategies to reduce your restaurant's R&M spend?

Our first piece of advice?

"The best offense is a good defense.” 

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in our years of experience in the industry it’s that being proactive can save your restaurant a lot of time and money in the long run. 

Any aspect of a restaurant, front-of-house or back-of-house, can flounder without a well-organized plan, but the financial effects of reactivity may be most obvious in equipment repairs and maintenance. 

We’ve put together a few key facility maintenance strategies that can help restaurant owners and operators get ahead of their repair & maintenance issues and add dollars back to their bottom line.

#1: Asset Management

Before you can create your overall facility maintenance strategy, you need to be able to easily identify each piece of equipment in each of your restaurants.

Having a comprehensive digital inventory of your assets at each of your restaurant locations provides you with easy access to service history, associated invoices, and make and model numbers for warranty checks. 

Many restaurants utilize CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management Software) for this task, as this tool boasts the ability to act as an all-in-one R&M dashboard, managing and analyzing all R&M-related activities in one place.

However, these systems still require someone to manually enter data - which means you and your team are still shouldered with an enormous amount of responsibility, including the set-up of:

  • Service provider relationships
  • Location information
  • Service category details
  • Do not exceed levels
  • Invoice retrieval and transcription

On top of that, you’re still on the hook for managing the entire incident management process whenever something goes awry with your equipment.

Outsourcing facilities management to a company like 86 Repairs gives you access to the software tools and reporting available in a CMMS, in addition to a 24/7 customer service team who manage the entire repairs and maintenance process for you.

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#2: Preventative Maintenance Management

Investing in routine maintenance and making a concrete plan for preventative maintenance can save your equipment from unnecessary strain, premature wear down, and expensive repairs that could have been avoided.

Conducting preventative maintenance will result in fewer reactive repairs and longer lifespans for your equipment. 

Now that you have a thorough history of your equipment (thanks to strategy #1), we recommend proactively creating a calendar of the preventative maintenance you’ll need to take throughout the year. 

Not all preventative maintenance plans are created equal, so if you’re having second thoughts about your strategy, we suggest reaching out to a trusted repairs & maintenance expert.

Copy of Copy of Laurel saved Store #35828 - $413

#3: Warranty Tracking

Remember that asset inventory and history compilation you completed in the asset management strategy? That information will come in handy for this step.

Most restaurant equipment comes with a warranty in the form of Equipment or Manufacturer Warranties. These warranties cover defects and repairs for a specific period of time from the date of purchase.

As useful and important as warranties are, there are several barriers that prevent restaurant operators from effectively using them.

In the heat of the moment of incident management, frontline staff often overlook the step of checking warranties before contacting service providers.

Whether this be lack of consistent training or lack of access to warranty information, failing to check warranty status before calling a vendor for service can cost your restaurant unnecessary money. 

By keeping your warranty information organized and proactively keeping track of when a guarantee is set to expire, you can effectively leverage your equipment’s warranty to lower your repair and maintenance expenses.

#4: Clear Communication

Good communication improves almost everything in life, and this applies to facilities management and equipment maintenance.

Establishing clear lines of communication with service providers and front-line staff members will help you reduce your R&M spend. 

  • Front-line staff: setting clear directives on how R&M should be handled and establishing standard operating procedures for incident management handling will ensure all repairs go through approved channels. 
  • Service providers: strong communication between your restaurant and your network of trusted service providers will result in more honest conversations, accurate quotes, and quicker service response times. 

Of course, this step takes time and dedicated effort. To offload some of that work, we recommend adding another player into the mix: a repairs and maintenance management partner who can manage the process for you.

#5: Measuring Success

True cost savings occur when restaurant owners and operators stop seeing R&M as a reactive action to be dealt with whenever a piece of equipment breaks down, and start seeing it as an area of their business that can genuinely benefit from analysis and strategy. 

When you are able to track and report on the entire lifecycle of your repairs and maintenance process, you can make stronger business decisions based on questions like:

  • Should this piece of equipment be repaired or replaced?
  • What equipment is costing me the most? 
  • What restaurant location spends the most on repairs?
  • What service providers are the most expensive?

It’s so important to remember that in order to measure success in this way, you must have complete and clean data to work with. Without it, you won’t have an accurate or actionable read on the state of your repairs and maintenance program or the status of your equipment.

Take Repairs Off Your Plate 

#6: Outsourcing Restaurant Maintenance

You could take our advice and implement all five of these strategies, or some combination, to find opportunities to reduce R&M spend at your restaurant. Or, you could find a partner to handle your repairs and maintenance process and outsource your facilities management program altogether. 

Choosing a partner to handle your repairs and maintenance process can not only relieve you and your team of some responsibility, but also ensure that that R&M is being handled by experts who treat it as their #1 priority. 

An effective facility maintenance strategy requires time, dedication, and consistent effort. To ensure that you’re making the most out of your budget and reducing R&M spend efficiently, we recommend partnering with experts who treat your repairs as their #1 priority. However, when executed correctly, a proactive R&M plan can save your team headaches - and save your restaurant money.

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