What is the most common reason for unnecessary maintenance costs? In over a decade of working with multi-location retail and restaurant chains, I have learned that most companies waste money in their maintenance budget because someone is not doing what they are supposed to do.
Let’s take a look at examples before we get into ways to proactively solve this problem.
Plagued By Tongs
Situation: A busy cook is keeping up with the dinner rush. There is a high volume of tickets coming in and one hand is constantly holding a pair of tongs. Does the staff member…
A) Put down the tongs before opening the cooler door B) Use the tongs as a lever to pry open the cooler door, tearing the gasket in the process
Situation: It’s the end of the night and the filters don’t look that bad. The paper checklist states, “drain the oil and change the filters”, but the GM is not working tonight. Does the staff…
A) Do the right thing even though no one is watching, changing the filters and draining the oil B) Drain the oil, but not change the filters
No Self Maintenance
Situation: There is a list of items that need to be done every week because they are easy to do. Things like “change light bulbs, replace cooler filters, use drain cleaner, and check temperatures.” Does the staff… A) Perform the self maintenance B) Wait until breakdowns happen and place an emergency service request
You get the point. You may be wishing you had a better system for managing this type of stuff. But how do you hold people accountable and drive the behavior you know needs to occur for your restaurant to run at it’s peak?
When we built our first application, FM Dashboard, we wanted to give facilities managers a better tool for tracking maintenance data to make better decisions. We still believe facilities managers must have a system like this in place.
We also learned from our customers that they needed a way to be even more proactive. How can we keep unnecessary maintenance problems from happening in the first place? This is why we built LineCheck.
Let’s take a look at our solution applied to the three scenarios above.
Let Me See That Tong
Sorry, I had to do it. Instead of finding out the coils are iced over when the cooler stops temping, there is now a simple checklist created with LineCheck, due each day at 10am. It asks, “Are the gaskets in good shape?” a yes or no question. Additionally, a photo is required to be taken of the gaskets. Since the app does not allow photo uploads, only a new photo can be taken for each cooler. No faking it.
Since the staff knows they are being held accountable, they think twice before sticking their tongs in the cooler door.
Set Fryer Expectations
Instead of skipping maintenance, a fryer cleaning checklist is created. It’s due at 11pm every evening. Again, photo evidence is required of each fryer vat. When this system went into place, the kitchen equipment vendor called the maintenance director wondering if they had been fired.
Take Care Of Yourself (Maintenance)
With the LineCheck accountability system in place, employees get the small stuff done so maintenance contractors are not hired last minute for bigger (read: more expensive) problems.
Life With LineCheck
The beauty of the LineCheck accountability system is that it allows managers to know in real time when their expectations are not met. Since problems don’t accumulate, they are easy to correct. Since employees know there is an accountability system in place, they are more encouraged to take care of the daily responsibilities that drive big results.
The most interesting feedback? Managers love spending their time coaching and training instead of checking up and correcting. Their focus moves away from problems and towards opportunity. Lastly, truly knowing the condition of your restaurant without having to physically be in the building helps everyone sleep better at night.
Proactive processes are a beautiful thing.