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Winter is Coming

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Hello RFMA members,

The temperatures may still be in the 80's but winter is coming. With all the recent disasters, you probably haven't thought much about preparing for cold weather but now is the time to make plans to ensure your restaurants are ready. Are your contractors ready? Is the equipment ready to perform effectively and efficiently? It's time to finalize plans to ensure your stores are prepared. Following are a list of activities to review and complete before the cold hits:

- RTU's. Are the fall start-ups scheduled with your contractors? These units need to be checked for proper winter operation. Heat exchangers, blower motors, filters, wiring, and belts all need to be looked at and serviced as required. Now is still a good time to replace a cracked heat exchanger if needed. May be a good time to replace the belts also. Don't want to lose heat in the winter on such an inexpensive repair. Make sure an additional belt is on hand for emergencies.

- Building air balance. Are your building negative or positively balanced? After a long hot summer there may be some adjustments necessary to have a slight positive building air balance. This is extremely important during the frigid temperature conditions in the winter. A negative balance will waste energy and, more importantly, create drafts which will make customers and employees uncomfortable. Have your contractor add this task to the fall check list. Make sure the technician is fully versed on what an store air balance is and how to correct issue(s) effecting it.

- Roof drains. Make sure these are clean and free of debris. With normal fall and winter precipitation, water needs to be drained properly off the roof. Check the flashings and roof seams for damage as water penetration then freezing will cause leaks and potentially expensive repairs.

- Irrigation systems. Have the lines completely drained and unhook all hoses from their spigots.

- Exterior lighting. Going to be getting darker earlier. Make sure all parking lot, building, and walkway lights are working and turning on and off at appropriate times. Reprogram the timers as required.

- Exterior doors. Are the sweeps in good condition? Change as necessary. This will keep the cold out along with pests.

- Snow removal. Who is responsible for the snow removal at the restaurant? If it's not handled by the landlord, do you have a contract in place for snow and ice removal? Is it updated? What are the parameters when they need to come out to plow? After 2 or 3 inches? Work out the details now or the facilities liability may be increased.

- Thermostats. Reprogram accordingly for winter operation.

- Pest control. Colder weather drives pests inside where it's warmer. Schedule your restaurants accordingly for a treatment and review their report to correct any minor facility issues to keep pests out.

Getting ready for winter now saves money, time, and increases customer and employee satisfaction which always protects your brand.

Always looking for feedback. What other activities do you complete for winter preparation? Let me know.

Dover and out.

Tags:  building air balanc  HVAC  roof drains. cold weather  snow removal  winter equipment start-ups 

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Conference Registration is Now Open

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Hello RFMA members,

RFMA 2018 conference registration is now open. RFMA 2018 is the premier annual event for restaurant facility professionals to gather with peers, vendors, and other industry-shapers under one roof. Two (2) full days of building existing and new relationships, learning from speakers and education sessions, sharing knowledge, networking, and gathering new resources. This is the place to be for anything related to restaurant facility items. This conference will help you in your mission to "protect your company's assets". Everything from energy saving devices to new building materials to better ways to perform necessary services will be displayed for your interest and education. We're not sharing recipes just restaurant facilities best practices.

Please note the following concerning the registration:

- Register by November 1st to receive the $125 early bird registration rate and be entered into a drawing to win a free 3-night stay at the Sheraton Grand Phoenix Hotel

- Register by December 15th to receive the $125 early bird rate

- After December 15th, the rate is $275 and by waiting to register on site the cost is $425

- Remember to use your RFMA member number to get the reduced rate. By using this number when registering the majority of the required "fields" will auto populate. If you do not remember your number, log into the RFMA website and check on the "Manage Profile" at the top of the page to find or feel free to contact anyone within RFMA to obtain.

- Ensure your 2017/2018 RFMA membership is current and up to date

- Restaurant companies will be rebated one(1) conference registration for every ten(10) registrations

- For large groups needing ten(10) or more rooms, check out the hotel rebate program

We are looking forward to seeing you all again in Phoenix This will be another great conference. Any questions, feel free to contact anyone in the RFMA office.

Dover and out.

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Hurricane Disaster Follow Up

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Hello RFMA members,

Hurricane Harvey and Irma are almost over but the devastation isn't. The massive amount of rain and wind damage will continue to cause problems for months. I'm sure you are now just beginning to wrap your hands around the next steps in getting your restaurants open. How did your Disaster Management procedures work? In a few weeks, it may be a good time to meet with other internal departments to review what went well and what did not. Every disaster presents different, difficult challenges and decisions. Restaurant facility professionals are looked at to lead in protecting local stores (assets) and they may be asked to initiate a complete review of current disaster management plans. Some items and a brief review review are as follows:

- Planning, how was the overall plan and what input is needed for a better response in the future? Were the restaurants ready for all the water damage?

- On site store procedures, was the written portion of store procedures satisfactory? Were utilities turned off? Did unit restaurant managers know who to contact and when?

- Decision making, were the critical decisions made in a timely, safe manner and by the proper, designated individuals? Were the stores closed early enough to keep employees safe and protect company assets?

- Communication, was it timely? Were the responsible parties able to communicate? Are other forms of communication needed, i.e., satellite phones, 2-way radios, etc.?

- Store supplies, were the proper supplies and their quantities enough or are additional needed, i.e., flash lights, batteries, First Aid kit, drinking water, phone chargers, cash, generators, etc.?

- Contractors and boarding up materials, were shutters and/or plywood available and contractors ready to install? Did they have enough time to install?

- Recovery, were the Response and Recovery parts of the plans on target? Were local public officials contacted and included in reopening the restaurant?

- Insurance, was your company properly protected by the correct insurance coverage? What, if any, changes may be needed?

Hurricanes are just one of the natural disasters to plan for. Periodic practice and review of your plans are necessary to protect company assets and keep employees safe. RFMA has several Disaster Management planning resources on our website in the Resource Library in the Facilities Toolkit section and there is an Online Learning Module in our CRFP Prep Course. Additionally feel free to review past articles in the Facilitator magazine.

Let me know how your plans went.

Dover and out.

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Smaller Operators, RFMA is Here to Help

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Hello RFMA members,

Larger restaurant chains normally employ a complete staff for their Facilities Department. They have Facility Managers, Facility coordinators, and a Facilities Director to manage all the functions required to protect company assets. With the large increase in restaurant franchising and smaller regional chains, many do not have a formal Facilities department. The functions and tasks still need to be supervised and completed. Normally a General Manager or Area Director is tasked with taking care of the routine PM activities which would include, hood/exhaust cleaning, fire suppression inspections, greasetrap pumping, HVAC/R services, line jetting, etc. In most cases the person responsible may not have the full expertise and knowledge in dealing with the vendors for proper scopes of work, price negotiation, and project follow up. This is one of the main reasons RFMA was created. We are here to assist with all store facility functions and offer education, guidance, and networking with other restaurant professionals to properly maintain the stores. There are scopes of work available on our website for many of the PM services mentioned above. They are located in the "Resource Library" under "Facilities Toolkit". Feel free to use these when dealing with your service providers. Also, utilize the "Insite" section on our website to post questions concerning any facility item by posting on the Facility Manager Forum. With the large pool of experienced restaurant professionals in RFMA, use their knowledge in researching answers to any facility issues that show up. Trust me, they've seem it all from locating smelly sewer odors to grout issues in the kitchen. In today's fast paced world it makes sense to network with experienced professionals. Also, utilize the CRFP Education Modules to expand your facility knowledge and then take the exam to become certified (CRFP). Additionally, reach out to our vendors. They are skilled on correcting problems and completing projects on time and within budget. Lastly, call me. I'm here to help you take care of your stores and protect valuable company assets. I can be reached at (972) 805-0905, x-3, or at jeff@rfmaonline.com.

Dover and out.

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Hurricane Harvey

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Monday, August 28, 2017

Hello RFMA members,

We at RFMA want to send along our thoughts and prayers to all our fellow RFMA members and other Texans who are based in South Texas or have restaurants there that are currently being impacted by Hurricane Harvey. We want to remind you that RFMA is here to be a resource for you and your company.

Remember, we have an online directory that you can access from the website on your mobile device to help you find vendors to assist you during this disaster. Or you can search for other restaurant peers who have stores in South Texas who might be able to provide valuable advice or suggest alternative resources such as facility board & clean-up, temporary power, dry ice, and other emergency items and services.

For additional support, feel free to contact me at (972) 805-0905, x-3 or at jeff@rfmaonline.com. I will do my best to point you in the right direction as you deal with what is being termed one of the largest natural disasters that has ever hit the United States.

It is times like these when all of us in the restaurant facilities community must pull together to help each other and we want you to know RFMA is here for you.

Be safe.

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Are You Prepared for the Next Hurricane?

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Hello RFMA members,

Well, we are about half way thru the hurricane season and have been lucky so far. It's not a matter of if a hurricane will strike the US, it's when. Are you and your stores prepared? Is your Disaster Management Plan been updated and ready? Might be a good time to check up on your plan. A few main items to review are:

- Are the proper communications for decision making satisfactorily documented?

- Who make the call on when to close the restaurant? When to give the ok for board up?

- Do you have your contractor lined up? Are they prepared with the proper manpower and materials to protect your store(s)?

- Are the restaurants prepared with the correct materials to have on hand, i.e., flashlights, batteries, generators, drinking water, first aid kits, spare cash, etc?

- Who makes the decision on when to reopen?

- Does store operations have all the correct contact info for their employees, food suppliers, Health & Building department officials?

These are just some of the questions that need to have answers in preparing for the next Hurricane. Safety is always the number one concern for this type of event. Better to be over prepared than under.

There is a large amount of Disaster Management resources available on our website in the Resource Library in the Facilities Toolkit section and there is a Disaster Management Online Learning Module in our CRFP Prep Course. Additionally, check out some of our past Disaster Management articles in Facilitator listed below.

Facility Manager Project Profile: Disaster Recovery
By: Curtis Dukes, CRFP

Repairs & Maintenance: Forming a Crisis Management Plan
By: Bill Schaphorst with JC Gonzalez and MaryAnn Velez contributing

Facility Manager Project Profile: Disaster Preparedness Planning
By: Charlie Hartmann

Dover and out.

 

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A/C Retrofit Program

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Hello RFMA members,

Well, we're into August and I'm sure each and everyone of you have had to deal with numerous a/c issues over the past few months. The worst case is when an old unit dies and a total replacement is required. Operations only wants to know "when will this be fixed?" At this point you must 'jump thru hoops' to get one ordered, delivered and installed. This is costly and inefficient. Sometimes you won't be able to get the proper unit but will take anything that works and blows cool air.

How can some of your a/c emergencies be avoided? By implementing a yearly HVAC Retrofit Capital Program. Some organizations do a great job in identifying what units need to be replaced with appropriate financial back-up data to support their decisions. A few of the advantages to having this program are:

- Buy replacement units in bulk, saving valuable capital dollars.

- Easier lead times for the manufacturers for correct units, sizes, and shipping dates.

- Scheduling/installation advantages. The a/c units can be scheduled and installed during the cool months (fall, winter, spring) which will present an opportunity for labor and crane savings due to it being the off-peak months for the installing contractors.

- Less stress on store operations, customers, and employees due to the low or non-existent cooling loads during the cool season(s).

- Protects your brand by minimizing customer complaints during the hot months by consistently providing a comfortable restaurant.

- Energy savings will be maximized due to the increased efficiencies provided by the new units.

- Lower R&M costs

It really is a "win-win" situation for you, your Brand, your installer, and the a/c manufacturer. Data collection is key for a properly coordinated program. You'll need the type, age, and condition of each piece of equipment including model and serial numbers. This information should be relatively easy to obtain thru your internal accounting dept. and the local service providers who maintain the equipment. Any unit 10+ years old needs to be examined for possible replacement. Any units 15+ years should be replaced. Working with your a/c manufacturer on energy and maintenance savings will provide a ROI for each expenditure. All this information can be packaged and discussed with Finance for implementation. Data collection and planning are the keys in a successful program.

Curious to see how many of you are doing this on a regular basis. Let me know. Your lives will get better in the summer months, trust me.

Dover and out.

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Store Audits for Capital Planning

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Updated: Monday, June 19, 2017

Hello RFMA members,

How does your company prepare its facilities capital plan? There are numerous ways it can be done but yearly on site store audits are a great way to collect what is needed for the short and long term. These should be completed at least once a year per restaurant location. A good, thorough audit will take 4-8 hours to complete and compile into a database program. The store audit needs to be comprehensive enough to include existing conditions of major equipment, building, parking lot, sidewalks, roofs, etc. Project prioritizing is a must showing the estimated time frame of when the project needs to be completed or equipment replaced and the estimated cost. Assigning one(1), two(2), or three(3) year periods for when the project is required is generally accepted. This enables the financial decision makers a proper view of what the actual needs are for the next 1-3 years. This also is needed when negotiations start in determining the budget.The store audits also provide an opportunity for FM's to complete emergency items that directly affect customer and employee safety along with Brand protection. These items may have been missed by store operations in the day to day running of the restaurant. Photos need to be taken for all items included in the audit showing existing conditions.

When all the  audits are finished, they can be rolled up into a program that needs the flexibility to sort many different ways. It has to be able to produce reports on overall capital requirements, regional needs, specific projects, and priorities. The data then can be provided to the Financial department for their review and input and then the negotiations can start on what projects stay and which ones can be deferred. Going by historical spending is a fairly inefficient way to produce yearly plans. Audits always will provide a clearer direction for exactly what is needed and when.

How does your company prepare its capital plan?

Dover and out.

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How's Your Equipment Doing?

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Updated: Monday, May 22, 2017

Hello RFMA members,

Well summer is almost half way over. We've had another hot one in the Dallas area again. Do you know how your stores are doing? Equipment, especially refrigeration, take a beating during the hot summer months. It's extremely important to regularly monitor it's performance and condition. Failing to do so may put your store operations at risk by a main equipment failure. Mid summer is always a good time to see how things are going. A/C units are the number 1 priority item to check on. They have been running hard for the past 2 months. When was the last time the filters were changed? What condition were they in? Does the frequency of changing need to be more often during the summer? It's a very small price to pay to be overly conservative on this which minimizes a potential major failure. We've all had to deal with the emergency compressor or blower motor replacement when it's brutally hot out. It not only could potentially drive guests away with a hot dining room but if it's a BOH unit, the employees suffer. Take into account your local HVAC/R vendor is in their busiest period and it may take longer to repair than normal.

Obviously you can't be at all your stores to check on equipment conditions so it's imperative you have a plan with your local service provider to plan an extra visit or 2 to review equipment conditions. Besides A/C's some other items to check on are as follows:

- Irrigation controls: How is the landscaping and/or grass look? Still alive? Is the irrigation system operating properly? Is it coming on, turning off, and running the proper amount of time? Make adjustments as required. Are there any local water restrictions in place? Are all the heads working? Unless the area is in full drought mode, dead landscaping is not appealing to incoming customers. Keep it watered.

- A/C stats: Are the settings still correct for on/off times and the correct temperatures? Is the night setback operating? Some of you can remotely mange this. For those who can't, have store managers check and/or the HVAC/R vendor take a look at when they are there changing filters.

- Refrigeration: When was the last time the coils were cleaned, pressures checked? Summer is a killer of refrigeration equipment. Don't want to lose a walk-in during this time. Another high priority item for your contractor to check on.

- Roof drains: Late spring and summer produces strong storms. Are the drains clean and operating properly? Keep then free of debris.

- Exterior lighting: Are the parking lot and building lights coming on and turning off at proper times? Any bulbs need replaced? Very important for security's sake.

Summertime is brutal on your stores. PM's need to be completed and in a timely manner to save energy, R&M expenses, and minimize security liabilities.Stay cool!

Dover and out.


Tags:  HVAC  irrigation  refrigeration  roof drains  summer equipment check up 

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Use Your Vacation !!

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Updated: Monday, May 22, 2017

Hello RFMA members,

We are well into summer and I'm hoping your day to day emergencies are few. Summer is generally the time of the year for vacations. With all the responsibilities of a restaurant facilities professional, it's imperative you take time off away from work. For awhile now, FM's have been basically on call 24/7, 365 days a year. In our industry, there is a real possibility of job burn out. Years and years of being constantly on call dealing with typical restaurant facility issues can, and will beat you down. You must be able to get away from all of it for short periods throughout the year. It is imperative to use your vacation and get totally disconnected. It will not only help you recharge and refresh but your productivity, patience, and attitude will all improve. It's been shown through many work related studies that employees in high pressure positions lose their productivity without any real time off. When taking time off, take time off. No checking email regularly and definitely not answering work phone calls. You'll be easily sucked back into a situation where you'll waste some of your vacation time and whatever the call is about may require additional calls and follow up. Communication prior to your vacation is very important.  Establish strategic back-ups for your projects. Complete "out of office" automatic email notifications. Talk to your supervisor and vendors who may be in the middle of a few of your projects. Let everyone know you are off and not to call.

I know it sounds easier said than done but both you and your organization will benefit from your time off.

Have a safe and wonderful rest of the summer.

Dover and out.

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