Restaurant Facility Management: How Technology Can Help Restaurants Run Smoothly

Focusing on keeping the building and everything inside and outside of it in top shape will help guests better relax and enjoy their dining experience.
By Susan Daywitt, President & CEO of SLM Facility Solutions - 11.5.2019

The customer experience is more important in the dining industry than ever before. With people eating out less, it’s vital restaurants offer a memorable, seamless and delicious experience for diners.

Restaurant facility managers know providing an exemplary diner experience has to do with incredible work from behind the scenes. Diner experience starts with the food, but there’s much more: is the HVAC system working to provide a comfortable, consistent temperature? Is the plumbing working well in the restroom, and are the dishes spotless with the help of optimal water pressure in the kitchen?

At a time when it is difficult to get guests to dine out at the same restaurant time and time again, restaurants have a lot to lose when facility management isn’t top of mind. Here, we take a look at the pitfalls to avoid.

Too Many or Not Enough Outside Partners

To run a restaurant smoothly, it can take a village. But the size of that village truly matters. Restaurant facility managers must find the right partners to assist them in making sure atmosphere and ambiance are never disrupted.

At first thought, the idea of bringing in outsourced partners may seem like more trouble than it’s worth. And, as new partners are introduced to your restaurant or restaurants and getting up to speed, there is a learning curve. However, the value of having one or a small handful of trusted partners can save both time and money. This way, only one or a few vendors need to be managed and tracked, not one team for HVAC issues, one for electrical issues, one for plumbing.

A major benefit of having outside partners manage services like construction, HVAC, electrical, plumbing and exterior maintenance is it frees up regular staffers to manage day-to-day tasks. Taking internal staff away from their regular work increases the chances of something being overlooked, causing a poor experience for guests.

Not Utilizing Top Technology

While guests may be making reservations via a fast, informative app and servers may be utilizing the latest POS solutions when the bill comes, restaurant facility operations are not always in-tune with the latest technology offerings. There are a few software solutions restaurant facility managers should consider to streamline processes and save money.

Computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) can assist with task scheduling, inventory management and work order management. While features like work order management allows managers to have useful information at their fingertips, all in the same place, at any time, the inventory management feature allows managers to track the performance of a restaurant’s most valuable assets, enabling them to make more sound, economic decisions about when to repair and when to replace high-cost items, like an HVAC system.

An energy management system (EMS) or building management system (BMS) can be used to provide a better look at how energy is used and controlled at a restaurant or restaurant group. While these systems don’t affect diner experience so much, they do affect the bottom line, pinpointing opportunities to save operational spend.  The money saved y can be spent elsewhere to further enhance diner experience.

Overspending on Emergency Repairs

As the cold season begins knocking on the door, emergency repair prevention must be top of mind for restaurant facility managers. Whether it’s a frozen pipe that has burst or a heat pump which has stopped working for an unknown reason, there are many things to look out for this time of year, and almost all of them can impact diner experience.

Avoiding emergency repairs can save restaurant facility managers in two ways: it saves the financial setback, which is often big, and it typically doesn’t require shutting down a restaurant temporarily for an unexpected repair—which would otherwise mean cancelled reservations and unhappy, would-be guests.

The best way to avoid emergency repairs is to keep up on regular maintenance for the facility’s HVAC, roof, plumbing and electrical. Keeping track of maintenance can be done through one of the software solutions previously mentioned, or can be handed off entirely to an outsourced restaurant facility management partner. Either way, avoiding emergency repairs at all costs is well worth the resources it requires.

Restaurant owners and operators: Don’t overlook the role restaurant facility management plays in the overall success of your restaurant or franchise. Focusing on keeping the building and everything inside and outside of it in top shape will help guests better relax and enjoy their dining experience.

Susan Daywitt is President & CEO of SLM Facility Solutions, a USA and Canadian facility services management company. The company provides a tailored hotel facility management solution for on-demand type services such as Handyman, Plumbing, Electrical, Lighting, Signage, Parking Lot Repairs & Maintenance, HVAC repairs, coupled with recurring services of Waste and Recycling, Grease Interceptor and HVAC services to match the requirements of each facility.

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