Outsourcing commercial kitchen equipment maintenance is a rising trend in the foodservice industry owing to its remarkable contribution to the efficiency of production and service operations while decreasing the costs and duration of planned and unplanned downtime.
Commercial kitchen equipment is the principal part of a food service establishment, and it is impossible to prepare, cook, or service meals, desserts, or even cold water to your guests or customers in case of an unexpected breakdown. Hence, all foodservice businesses must and should have a regular maintenance schedule regardless of their inventory size. Previously handled by in-house practitioners, regular checks and fixes, as well as more complex tasks like repairing vital components, are now increasingly contracted to third-party companies to outsource commercial kitchen equipment maintenance because of the 4 primary advantages:
- Expertise and Specialization
- Access to Advanced Tools and Equipment
- Time Management and Focus
- Cost Savings and Efficiency
What is The Importance of Commercial Kitchen Equipment Maintenance?
All foodservice businesses must set daily, weekly, and monthly maintenance schedules to check, evaluate, and repair their equipment to sustain their performance, extend their service life, and lower energy and water bills. Additionally, this preventative maintenance identifies minor failures and allows you to fix them before resulting in costly and time-consuming problems.
Outsourcing commercial kitchen equipment maintenance is crucial to regularly maintain your valuable tools and equipment to ensure smooth work and service flow in your establishment. Commercial kitchen equipment, which refers to a wide range of refrigeration, storage, food processing, preparation, and service appliances that are designed for commercial use, needs to be ready for use at all times with their full performance to help you prepare and serve delicious foods, refreshing drinks, and tasty beverages.
All these units gradually wear off in time and need minor or major fixes and part replacements. If not, they probably break down during rush-hour service, and you may come up against dirty plates in your dishwashing pit or full trays waiting to be baked.
The Advantages of Outsourcing Commercial Kitchen Equipment Maintenance
Although some tasks such as cleaning the gaskets, deliming the dishwashers, or dusting the HVAC air intake can be conducted by your servers or regular staff, technical and preventative maintenance surely require a trained person to handle the complex systems of refrigerators, ranges, HVAC or hoods. Suppose you run a large foodservice establishment and have tens of appliances. In that case, you can employ maintenance personnel, offering several benefits like rapidly intervening in the breakdowns and gaining experience in the company’s inventory.
However, when you consider the variety of equipment and appliances used in a commercial kitchen, you will realize it is almost impossible even for a team of several employees to specialize in such a diverse inventory. In addition, you have to pay a salary and handle HR benefits even though you do not need constant service from your maintenance personnel. Therefore, outsourcing maintenance for restaurant equipment stands out as a reliable, cheaper, and more efficient alternative to in-house maintenance.
1. Expertise and Specialization
Outsourcing commercial kitchen equipment maintenance outweighs the in-house maintenance primarily thanks to staff flexibility, which provides expertise for each of the utilities in your kitchen. Preventative maintenance companies can employ more technical personnel and train them more effectively since repairing commercial appliances is their core business.
Outsourcing commercial kitchen equipment provides you with a reliable fix for your tools by sending an expert technician with enough training, technical skills, and experience on the products, which would otherwise take a long time to train such personnel in-house. For instance, when your HVAC system needs to be fixed, you can demand a skilled HVAC technician to ensure a quality repair that lasts for a long time.
Moreover, when you contract for outsourcing commercial kitchen equipment, you will also have a warranty on the service provider’s repair. Yet, a failed in-house repair will try to renew the maintenance process.
2. Access to Advanced Tools and Equipment
Just like a high-traffic restaurant that retains a fully equipped kitchen to present a rich menu with deliciously made recipes, a company that specializes in the repair and offers service for the maintenance of kitchen equipment owns and uses an extensive inventory of state-of-the-art inspection, diagnosis, and repair tools. So they can provide more reliable repair and maintenance, minimizing downtime in your facility.
3. Time Management and Focus
Notwithstanding the importance of equipment maintenance for a smooth workflow, it is still out of the core business of the foodservice industry. Rather, it is a vital but auxiliary task to ensure the smooth procession of principal foodservice duties. Outsourcing commercial equipment maintenance and transferring the responsibilities to an outside expert party will allow you to create more time to focus on improving the food quality, service efficiency, and customer satisfaction, which are all at the very center of every foodservice business.
4. Cost Savings and Efficiency
Shifting from in-house maintenance to outsourcing commercial kitchen equipment maintenance presents a 15 to 31% cost reduction for businesses, as stated by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Among the several cost savings that can be achieved through outsourcing, we can cite the following:
- Employing an in-house technician requires the payment of monthly salary, overtime wages when needed, and medical, pension, and other benefits. At the same time, an outsourcing company handles all such concerns for their staff, serving you as required by the contract.
- The lowered energy bills through regular maintenance will preserve the high efficiency of your appliances.
- Skilled expertise and long-time experience of service providers will help lower unplanned downtime and shorter planned downtime with quicker repairs.
What are the Potential Risks of Outsourcing Commercial Kitchen Equipment Maintenance?
While outsourcing offers many benefits, being aware of potential downsides is crucial. Quality control can sometimes be more challenging to enforce with a third-party service provider, risking inconsistent maintenance standards. Additionally, although outsourcing can be more cost-effective in the long run, initial contracts may include hidden fees or charges that could surprise you later. Always read the fine print and vet your potential partners carefully to mitigate these risks.
What are the Considerations When Choosing the Right Maintenance Partner
When deciding on the company you will sign a contract with, you should consider finding the most suitable service provider for your business, taking into account the basic issues, such as experience and reputation, maintenance program, and emergency support service and response time.
1. Evaluating Experience and Reputation
You must first consider and look for the company’s experience in the industry. To understand whether you are confronting a scam company or a reliable future partner with a proven track record, you can start your research by Googling the company and reading the customer reviews. You can also browse Yelp and the Better Business Bureau to see the feedback from previous clients. Furthermore, you can ask for references and check their reputation and earlier work before signing a contract with the service provider for outsourcing commercial kitchen equipment maintenance.
2. Customized Maintenance Programs
After finding an expert company with a positive impression and reputation in the industry, you must demand a customized maintenance program from the company officials to meet the specific requirements of your establishment with special resolutions specifically tailored to your needs. The service provider must address peak hours in your establishment, equipment usage time patterns, and additional challenges of your facility with a comprehensive and well-built maintenance plan.
In addition, to minimize unplanned downtime, you need to ask the company to conduct preventative maintenance, evaluate critical parts’ conditions in the vital units, and replace them before a major failure.
3. Emergency Support and Response Time
Even after regular checks and maintenance, your equipment may fail during rush hour. Thus, you must discuss the emergency support conditions and set clear rules that will not lead to confusion and leave you single-handed. So, you must ensure you get prompt responses when needed and quick repair in case of an unexpected breakdown of your vital equipment to make the most out of outsourcing commercial kitchen equipment maintenance.
Substituting in-house maintenance with outsourcing commercial kitchen equipment maintenance seems to be a hard decision that must be taken carefully and adequately. It becomes harder when you think you leave the initiative to an outside company. However, as long as you work with a reliable and experienced service provider that offers a customized maintenance program, you will see that it is a time, staff, and cost-saving solution to your needs by freeing up additional budget to hire more staff and providing extra time to focus on core business.