Is Your Refrigerator Running?
Three words c-store foodservice operators never want to hear: The machine’s down. But as foodservice programs grow more sophisticated, best practices for equipment maintenance, repair and staffing are critical.
Steve Every, vice president of managed service and international for The ICEE Co., Ontario, Calif., likens buying equipment without preventive maintenance to “buying a car with the ‘check engine’ light on.”
Also, too many operators omit preventive maintenance to save costs. Instead, they use and abuse equipment “without taking into consideration that when it does go down, the repair costs are probably higher,” Every says.
Considering the store environment is an important step in establishing the equipment maintenance schedule, says Scott Bingham, CFSP, product marketing manager for Follett Corp., Easton, Pa. “If you’re in a location where there’s bread being baked on premises and there’s a lot of yeast in the air, that can cause different problems than at a location that doesn’t have that airborne particulate,” he says.
Refrigeration and ice machines accounted for 22.6% of commercial foodservice equipment dealer sales in 2015.
Likewise, follow the manufacturers’ installation instructions for appliance location, says Gary Kramer, manager of the parts and service team for Hatco Corp., Milwaukee. Hot-holding units, for example, “located near an A/C vent ... may cause the operator to believe there is a food-warming temperature issue [or] malfunction with the unit, when it actually may be environmental factors causing the concern.”
Although daily maintenance functions may be assigned to one staff member, close oversight is still necessary, says Matt Swift, vice president for Zink Foodservice
Group, Westerville, Ohio. Swift suggests assigning cleaning or maintenance jobs to a particular time so employees “know ... this is part of their daily regimen, and they have to stick to it."