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What to Know About Commercial Kitchen Equipment Repair

A multi-concept kitchen means multiplied losses when equipment breaks down. Discover why commercial kitchen equipment repair is so important today!

Functioning equipment is crucial to any restaurant. Without a working espresso machine, a coffee shop can’t serve specialty drinks. If an ice cream machine is down, soft serve sales flounder. When the walk-in won't temp, expensive, perishable goods are destroyed. 

It’s even more critical for large-scale operations with multiple concepts like commissaries and ghost kitchens, with more at stake: more customers, more staff, and more food to serve.

Although repairs and maintenance (R&M) account for the largest controllable line item on a restaurant’s P&L statement, the industry loses an estimated $46 billion in revenue each year because of equipment downtime.

So how can restaurants cut back on losses? To support the function of large-scale food operations, you need to think critically about commercial kitchen equipment repair. By preventing expensive last-minute equipment breakdowns, avoid costly downtime and lost sales. 

Here’s what you need to know.

What is a commercial kitchen?

Unlike a restaurant kitchen that supports a single concept, a commercial kitchen is a large-scale kitchen that supports multiple concepts and produces a large volume of food. 

Examples of commercial kitchens include: 

  • Commissaries, which are rentable commercial kitchens where high-volume equipment is shared and multiple concepts operate under one roof. Virtual restaurants, which only serve customers via delivery or pick-up, usually fit into this category. They’re also known as ghost kitchens. 
  • Caterers, who might produce such a high volume of food and drinks that they need a large space with multiple pieces of high-volume equipment. How else could they serve hundreds of people at a wedding or gala? 
  • Hotels, where one kitchen might prepare food for multiple concepts within the building’s four walls, along with room service.

Institutions like hospitals, universities, and senior living facilities. These kitchens need to prepare food on a large scale for many different groups of people with different dietary requirements and strict health and safety requirements.

Why commercial kitchen equipment repair matters

Routine and preventative maintenance (PM) are critical for all types of kitchens. Maintaining equipment and infrastructure helps avoid expensive repairs, downtime, and lost sales.

However, it’s arguably more important for commercial kitchens due to the sheer scale of operations: because the equipment is shared with more people and needs to accommodate more customers, downtime has a domino effect.

Consider this: When one piece of equipment goes down in a restaurant, only the restaurant is affected. But in commercial kitchens, multiple businesses and concepts can bear the brunt, whether it’s a bakery, a burrito shop, or a burger joint sharing a commissary space, or even a hotel that can no longer offer room service or late-night bar snacks.  

The overall happiness of more customers is at risk—and they either have to wait longer for food or accept they won’t be able to get certain dishes.

That’s not to mention the large volume of lost sales due to businesses unable to serve certain menu items or even needing to shut up shop for the entire day in extreme cases.

And then there’s the shared responsibility for finding a solution. When a piece of equipment goes down, and multiple businesses are using it, who’s responsible for finding a vendor for repairs and following up to ensure the job gets done? 

The point? If you aren’t prioritizing maintenance, commercial kitchen equipment repairs create costly downtime for multiple businesses.  

But even the best-maintained kitchens experience breakdowns. So what can commercial kitchen operators do to eliminate as much risk and confusion as possible?

Where to begin with commercial kitchen equipment repair

Start by creating a repeatable process everyone in your commercial kitchen can follow—even when you’re super busy. It’s easy for repairs to slip through the cracks, especially when working across businesses where confusion can arise about who needs to report what, and to whom.

Next, decide how you will manage and track your R&M process. Pen and paper technically works, but gets complicated fast in large commercial kitchens. 

Why? There’s a lot of equipment to track and many employees—all of whom may be responsible for tracking repairs on a given day, and none of whom may work for the same company. They likely have their own way of doing this, from jotting something down on a notepad to storing it in the memory bank. 

Managing repairs manually also leads to more time spent verifying any work was done at all. Without a consistent process, and with several points of contact recording service requests in different ways, it can be tough to track down the history of a repair.

Brandon Stewart of Starboard Investments dba Jimmy John’s experienced this with his staff and a piece of cold side equipment at one of his locations: “That same cold table would break three, four weeks later, or I would find out that nobody ever came out.”

“And then I find out that either A, nothing happened, or B, they came out, and then we have no idea what they did when they came out, so we don’t know what was actually wrong with it. Because there’s just so much information flow, for me, tracking was impossible.”

Using technology is a better approach. Facility management software improves the manual way of tracking and managing repairs, but requires a huge time commitment. Not only do you have to spend a lot of time setting up your operational data and learning how to use it, but you also still have to manage all the information around each service request. Imagine doing this for multiple concepts!

The more efficient option is to invest in a tech-enabled solution that simplifies commercial kitchen equipment repair.

How to simplify commercial kitchen equipment repair

86 Repairs provides an end-to-end repair management solution that supports the equipment and infrastructure found in large commercial kitchens like commissaries, hotels, universities, and hospitals.

Not only is 86 easy to use, requiring zero specialized training to get up and running, but we take commercial kitchen repair off your plate by handling the entire R&M process from end to end.

Our solution gives one single point of contact to everyone working in the commercial kitchen. We understand that working across businesses can lead to confusion about who needs to report what. That’s why with 86, when something goes down in your commercial kitchen, anyone can call, text, or email our Customer Service team about an issue. 

We take the repair from there, from troubleshooting issues with staff to avoid unnecessary service, to selecting and dispatching the best-fit vendors for commercial kitchen equipment repair. We also provide actionable data across equipment and locations to help you make better business decisions.

Book a demo to see how 86 Repairs can help simplify R&M for your commercial kitchen!

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