Managing commercial restaurant repairs can be stressful and time-consuming. But the right approach takes repairs off your plate entirely—want to know...
What to Know About Using A Restaurant Repair Service
Margins may be tight in the restaurant industry, but a restaurant repair service can help you rein in your R&M costs. Here’s how.
Restaurants spend roughly $28 billion on repairs and maintenance (R&M) every year and an additional $35 billion on new equipment.
In a business with notoriously tight margins, how can operators control these costs?
The right R&M solution can help restaurant groups make smarter spending decisions, reduce downtime, and increase visibility into equipment performance.
Nope, it’s not too good to be true—thousands of restaurants across North America are already using a restaurant repair service! Here’s what you need to know.
What is a restaurant repair service?
A restaurant repair service is a partner in R&M management. Their team won’t come on-site for equipment maintenance. They will, however:
- Facilitate all communication and scheduling between restaurants and vendors
- Dispatch restaurants’ preferred vendors for repairs
- Source new, highly-rated vendors when preferred providers are unavailable
- Assist restaurant staff in troubleshooting common equipment issues
- Collect repair data on all equipment and infrastructure across all locations
- Offer R&M data analysis for operators to make better business decisions
In short, a restaurant repair service handles the R&M process from end to end.
Common repairs addressed by a restaurant repair service
Running a restaurant requires many different pieces of equipment and infrastructure to all work seamlessly. When just one piece of equipment—like a deep fryer or walk-in fridge—goes down, the entire day’s profits could go down with it.
A restaurant repair service helps restaurant operators get issues resolved with ease and speed so they can worry less about staying out of the red and think more about bringing in the green.
These are some of the most common equipment and infrastructure issues that a restaurant repair service can support:
Hot side equipment repairs
Hot side appliances in your restaurant apply heat to your food. Common hot side equipment repairs include:
- Commercial ovens that won’t get as hot as they should—or won’t heat at all.
- Flat top grills that won’t hold a flame or power on.
- Commercial deep fryers that won’t filter oil, creating a less-than-fresh food flavor.
Cold side equipment repairs
Cold side appliances keep perishable goods cool or apply cold temperature to change the state of matter from liquid to solid. Typical cold side equipment repairs include:
- Restaurant refrigerators that won’t hold a cold temperature.
- Ice machines that consistently create misshapen ice.
- Ice cream machines that have stopped dispensing product, even after intensive cleaning.
HVAC systems ensure the temperatures in your restaurants remain consistent and comfortable while ventilating unpleasant scents and smoke. These repairs include:
- Air conditioning that won’t produce cool temperatures when the thermostat is set properly.
- Restaurant hood systems that won’t turn on, causing the kitchen to be out of code.
Electricity is critical for restaurant operations, giving power to all of your equipment. Common electrical repairs include:
- Breaker panels that turn off immediately after toggling.
- Electrical outlets that smell scorched, feel hot, or smoke.
- Exterior restaurant lighting that won’t turn on after replacing bulbs and checking the timer.
Plumbing infrastructure is a system of pipes that allows fluids to flow in and out of restaurants. Typical plumbing repairs include:
- Old grease traps that are overdue for line jetting.
- Restaurant sinks that won’t drain, even after all clogs have been removed with a wet vac.
Additional benefits of a restaurant repair service
The best restaurant repair services go above and beyond handling repairs. Not only does their partnership help lower R&M expenses, but they also offer a full, standardized procedure for R&M management—offering multi-unit operators the consistency, control, and visibility they need for success.
Get a consistent, documented R&M process
A restaurant repair service offers a standardized process for R&M that’s easy for anyone on a restaurant team to follow. There’s no confusion about what needs to be done, who needs to be called, and who’s responsible for handling repairs: everyone knows exactly what to do when equipment fails, and the service documents every repair on their behalf.
Take Pacific Drive-Ins' R&M process. It’s clearly defined and simplified: when equipment goes down, staff simply texts or calls their restaurant repair service, and a Customer Service representative takes the task from there.
More control over business performance
Having a consistent R&M process offers operators more control over R&M strategy. Downtime is decreased, costs are reduced because duplicate visits are avoided, and more staff time is spent on customers
As the President of Pacific Drive-Ins puts it, “Having loose ends [around R&M] and no standard operating procedure is not something a professional organization would do. We saw R&M [expenses] inching up every month. We continued to dump money into equipment and had no way of attaching spend to specific assets besides recollection and memory.”
Today, that President has a strong command over R&M spend and enjoys year-on-year savings with his restaurant repair service.
Increased visibility into the entire R&M process
A restaurant repair service helps operators keep tabs on R&M across every location. It tracks all repairs performed on equipment and infrastructure, offering access to the repair history online instead of having to sort through physical notes spread across multiple locations.
It also provides the resources to help you interpret this data so you can make smarter business decisions. For instance, you can discover if it’s more cost-effective to repair or replace equipment, and dive deep into why one location is outspending others on R&M.
How to choose a restaurant repair service
Now that you know how a repair service can help your restaurants, how exactly do you find the right one? Here’s what to look for:
Is it built for the restaurant industry?
Restaurant operators face unique R&M challenges. Free time is rare, and having dedicated onsite technicians for each location is uncommon.
So be sure to avoid solutions designed for large organizations with highly trained technicians in-house. Instead, find one made specifically for the restaurant industry that’s simple enough for anyone on staff to use.
Is there a big time commitment required?
With operators having very little time to get to all their work in a day—let alone repairs— it’s crucial to find a restaurant repair service that gives time back to you and your team.
With a restaurant repair service, Richmond Green, Partner and VP of Operations at gusto!, got 5% of his time back. As he puts it, “It's absolutely worth it to have a partner that is entirely dedicated to managing repairs."
Is every need included in the price?
Ever used a product, service, or software, only to discover hidden costs? Sadly, that can also happen in restaurant repair services.
You may be charged extra to submit more repair requests, or if you need to give more staff access to the service. So, find a service with transparent pricing to avoid unexpected costs and keep costs consistent.
Are vendors getting charged?
Choosing the wrong R&M software or repair service can harm relationships with vendors.
For instance, if you start using facilities maintenance software, vendors must pay a fee to continue working with your restaurant group. How is that fair to your business—or your vendors?
With the right repair service, vendors can participate for free, helping you build and maintain long-lasting relationships with them.
Take repairs off your plate
86 Repairs is a restaurant repair service specifically made for the restaurant industry. Not only does our team manage repairs from end to end, but contacting our team is as easy as sending a text.
No one in the restaurant group needs specialized R&M knowledge to use our service. Simply call, text, or email when a piece of equipment or infrastructure breaks down, and 86 does the rest.
Pricing is transparent, so service expenses stay consistent month over month, and vendors don’t need to pay a fee to join our network—giving you the space to continue nurturing relationships.
With 86 Repairs, restaurants have access to data-driven insights and 24/7 support to control their facilities, reduce their R&M costs, and spend less of their team's time on equipment repairs.
Book a demo to learn more about our simple R&M solution!