Restaurants’ Simple Alternative to CMMS Maintenance Software

CMMS maintenance software can technically help manage R&M in restaurants, but there’s a much easier alternative that saves time—and offers a human touch.

When Jeff Palermo, Operating Partner at 4 Rivers Smokehouse, audited restaurant operations, he discovered a big gap in repairs and maintenance (R&M) management.

Despite having a team dedicated to R&M, 4 Rivers didn’t have a consistent process for managing it across their 15 locations. Every repair was tracked manually, so there was no structure. 

“What inevitably happened was stores just communicated directly with [vendors], and the structure was tossed out the window,” he explains.

Jeff knew he needed a better solution to help his team.

What is CMMS maintenance software?

Computerized maintenance management software (CMMS) is usually bundled with computer-aided facility management (CAFM). CAFM helps big companies manage R&M by storing all the repair data on equipment and infrastructure. It’s also referred to as facility management software

Businesses use CMMS maintenance software to perform various tasks, from managing work orders and scheduling preventative maintenance, to organizing inventory, tracking assets, and buying spare parts.

While CMMS maintenance software is applicable to many industries, from manufacturing to real estate to agriculture, it’s not a great solution to manage R&M in restaurants. 

Not only is it built for highly-trained technicians, but it also requires a huge time commitment from staff to set the software up and constantly manage the manual data entry. There’s also a total lack of human touch in CMMS maintenance software—if something isn’t working the way it should, hands-on customer support is lacking. 

So if CMMS maintenance software wasn’t a smart solution for an operator like Jeff, what did he wind up using?

A CMMS maintenance software alternative that's easy to use

Some alternatives to CMMS are specifically built for the restaurant industry, providing R&M support for facility managers, chefs, front-of-house staff, and anyone else who works within the four walls of the business—not just highly-trained technicians.

Since free time at a restaurant is rare, operators struggle to train staff on complicated software. And they definitely don’t have the time to continue training new staff, or even updating the team on software updates that will impact how work orders are managed.

With certain CMMS maintenance software alternatives, staff doesn’t need to worry about entering a repair into the system in a particular way. All they need to do is call, text, or email a Customer Service team, describe the problem, and let the external team handle the rest—from troubleshooting to vendor dispatch to resolution. 

These specific alternatives offer an easy process that can be replicated across every location of a restaurant. Plus, no manual data entry is required: the tech-enabled solution tracks all repair data, making it available in one central location to get better visibility on performance and R&M spend. Want to see how much one location spends on walk-in repair compared to another? This alternative has the data available for you at a glance.

A CMMS maintenance software alternative that saves you time

Uncomplicated software means a minimal learning curve. A CMMS maintenance software alternative requires zero specialized education, so even restaurant groups without R&M processes in place can hit the ground running.

Everyone in the restaurant can get repair and maintenance support, from owners and managers to chefs and facility managers. Plus, multi-unit operators get visibility into every location when they can’t physically be in every restaurant at once, and facility managers get an extension of their team when multiple repair emergencies coincide.

The best CMMS maintenance software alternatives have teams and processes responsible for managing service requests from end to end so operators can focus on keeping restaurant customers happy without the burden of repairs on their backs. 

As Richmond Green, Partner and VP of Operations at gusto! says, “We know we’ve got somebody that can devote their full attention to making sure things get done. Rather than dedicating 5% of my time to making sure it gets done, it’s absolutely worth it to have a partner entirely dedicated to managing repairs.”

A CMMS maintenance software alternative with a human touch

Unlike CMMS maintenance software, where restaurants get minimal—if any—customer support, the alternatives provide support from real humans with extensive restaurant industry experience. 

These Customer Service teams don’t just facilitate communication between restaurants and vendors, but take repairs off your team’s plate completely. They’ll help diagnose the issue, troubleshoot when applicable, identify high-quality vendors at a fair price, and follow up until the repair job is done completely and correctly. 

Experienced Customer Service folks approach repairs with empathy because they’ve experienced the same challenges in prior roles. Common issues get step-by-step troubleshooting advice from people who have seen the same equipment failures before.

They even contact vendors on your behalf to source a second opinion when the first vendor quote doesn’t quite seem right. It’s how restaurants like Rodney Scott’s BBQ in Charleston, South Carolina saved $17,000 on a single repair. 

What CMMS maintenance software can do that? None. It simply offers data that your team has to interpret on their own. But CMMS alternatives include an experienced human touch to help make better, data-informed decisions for restaurants.

Meet the best alternative to CMMS maintenance software

Jeff wound up partnering with 86 Repairs to manage 4 Rivers’ R&M. He saw an opportunity to get hands-on, 24/7/365 support from real people who can manage the entire R&M process from end to end.

He and his team don’t need to know the ins and outs of restaurant R&M or learn complicated software. They get a clear and easy-to-follow structure for managing repairs: when equipment goes down, the team simply calls, texts, or emails the 86 Repairs team. 

From troubleshooting issues with staff and getting quotes, to sourcing the best vendors and scheduling each service, 86 Repairs takes every repair off 4 Rivers’ plate.

And because we track repair data across every location, operators like Jeff can access insights to help make more strategic business decisions, like when to repair or replace a piece of equipment.

Book a demo to learn more about our simple alternative to CMMS maintenance software used by 4 Rivers and thousands of other restaurant groups across North America.


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