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FM Insights
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Our FM Insights blog delivers restaurant facility tips, trends and emerging technologies. Created and curated by our resident facility manager, Jeff Dover, CRFP, FM Insights will help you keep up to date of all things restaurant facilities! Subscribe below to never miss a tip, trend or emerging technology!


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Top tags: education  HVAC  CRFP  Roof drains  CMMS  daylight savings time  Parking lots  RFMA  air balance  roofs  time off  hurricanes  power outage  recharge  RFMA Gives  Benchmarking  electrical outage  heat exchangers  irrigation  irrigation systems  RFMA national conference  Spring start ups  Vacation  Vendor management  ADA  Asset management  Best Practices  booths  Coil cleaning  Disaster Management 

Check Out Our Upgraded Insite

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Hello RFMA members, Just a quick note and reminder to check out our new upgraded Insite section on the RFMA website. it has been greatly enhanced to provide a better way to communicate and share information with other RFMA members. There are a few new items and a few that have been changed for easier navigation. Check out the following:

- Update your Profile - Reach out for connections

- Send/receive messages

- Create/update Groups

- Quick link page

Become a "Top Contributor" today!!

Have a great week!

Dover and out.

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RFMA 2017 Conference Registration Now Open

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Hello RFMA members,

Just a quick blog today to inform everyone the RFMA 2017 conference registration is now open. RFMA 2017 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. When I was in restaurant facilities, I always came away with new products and services that were necessary for testing and/or implementation. We'll not sharing recipes just restaurant facilities best practices.

Please note the following concerning the registration:

- Register by November 1st to receive the $100 early bird registration rate and be entered into a drawing to win a free 3-night stay at the Gaylord Hotel

- Register by December 15th to receive the $100 early bird rate

- After December 15th, the rate is $175 and by waiting to register on site the cost is $400

- 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 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 Orlando This will be another great conference. Any questions, feel free to contact anyone in the RFMA office.

Dover and out.

Tags:  2017 RFMA Conference  conference registration  RFMA national conference 

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Cold Weather is Coming!

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Hello RFMA members,

The temperatures may still be in the 90's but cool weather is right around the corner. Are you and your restaurants prepared for winter? Are your contractors ready to provide support to ensure equipment will perform effectively in cold weather? It's time to begin the work to ensure your stores are ready. Following are a list of activities to review and complete before the cold hits:

- RTU's. Is your HVAC service company scheduled for fall start ups? 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.

- 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.

- 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 helps your brand.

Let me know what other items you do to prepare for cold weather.

Dover and out.

Tags:  exterior lighting  heat exchangers  pest control  roof drains  Winter conditions 

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Power Loss Procedures

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Hello RFMA members,

It's the middle of summer which means rain is normally hard to come by but recently we have seen major rainfall in several states throughout the nation. With the powerful storms, flooding becomes a huge concern and problem, invariably producing power outages that can last from a few seconds to several days. Are your stores prepared to handle no electricity for several hours or days? Do you know what actions to take to keep your guests, employees and food safe? Following are brief procedures that can be utilized by restaurant managers and facilities personnel to ensure you are prepared when power is lost or flooding is present.

- Employee and guest safety is always the first priority. If storms are powerful, take shelter in an interior safe room, like the restrooms or even the walk in's. When weather permits, get everyone out of the building.

- If flooding is a problem, get to higher ground immediately. You should have evacuation plans in your Disaster Management Plan.

- Know the history of flooding in your store's area. Follow the weather closely and listen to future forecasts. If potentially dangerous flooding is anticipated, food may need to be transferred to another restaurant in the area where flooding is not expected. Secure the building as best as possible by sand bagging facility entrances or stuff towels under doors to minimize interior water damage.

- Turn off all electrical equipment asap at its source by switching it to off or unplugging it. Don't forget to turn off the a/c's and hood exhaust and make up air fans. Ensure electrical breakers are marked accordingly for each piece of equipment and switch those off too. Total utility shutoff to the restaurant may be needed if flooding is a concern.

- Report power outage to supervisors and other operational personnel.

- Determine if electric is out for your restaurant and/or the surrounding areas by checking with neighboring establishments.

- Contact the local utility to report outage and, if possible, get details on when they expect power to be restored.

- Keep all refrigeration equipment and walk in doors shut. Do not open unless absolutely necessary.

- Put lids on all topping stations.

- If electric is scheduled to be out for longer than 3-4 hours, transfer food from the walk in's to other stores in the area if possible. Ensure internal food temperature has not exceeded the health code requirements. Contact your supervisor for discussions.

- When power has returned, go the the electrical panel and turn on equipment slowly, one at a time over several minutes which will decrease the electrical surge that will occur when power is restored. This will minimize the kilowatt demand charge.

- Go to the individual pieces of equipment and slowly turn then on or plug them in, one at a time. Wait a few minutes between each.

- Reset all time clocks accordingly.

This is a general list of action items for power outages and flooding. Each restaurant will have additional items needed. If not done so already in the store's disaster management plan binder, I recommend summarizing this on one page and have it handy for restaurant operations.

What other items can be included?

Dover and out.

Tags:  electrical outage  power loss  power loss procedures  power restored  staging equipment turn on times 

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Time Off

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Updated: Thursday, July 7, 2016

Hello RFMA members,

Do you wake up at night thinking about work? Do you hear your phone "beep" signaling a new message while in bed then frantically get up after a few minutes because you don't want to miss an important message? Are you constantly checking your phone on weekends and on vacation? Welcome to the restaurant facilities world.

Through the advancement of technology, FM's are now on call 24/7. In our business this is required but there should be a limit on availability. I've been around this too long to see the effects of years of being on call 24/7/365. Getting burned out is a real threat within our industry. You need breaks to refresh your soul and get recharged. Today is my last work day before taking some time off on vacation. I recommend to take all of your allotted, approved, paid vacation days. It seems there is a tendency withing facilities to not use all your vacation time. Many think their company can't get along without them or fear losing their position while they are gone. Studies have shown people need time off to recharge, regroup, and refocus. Additionally, when on vacation, be "on vacation". Try to minimize all work activities. Have the proper discussions with your supervisor to ensure you have back-ups to handle any emergencies that you would normally tackle. My recommendation would be to take one(1) extra day, usually a Monday after your initial vacation is over, to slowly get back into your work routine. You can check and prioritize emails accordingly so that when you officially return it's not as stressful.

In closing, take time off and try to completely forget about work. Your company will understand and should want you to get away to recharge.

Dover and out.

Tags:  recharge  time off  vacation 

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Giving Back - RFMA Gives 2017

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Hello RFMA members,

Today's post is about giving back to the communities we serve. As most of you are aware, through RFMA Gives, RFMA members donate equipment, materials and time in assisting a local non-profit that is located in the city where RFMA's annual conference is held. RFMA Gives helps in remodeling the recipient's facility(s) which helps them serve their clientele better and provides an environment to assist additional people and families. Our membership year after year has shown an amazing example of how to change people's lives for the better. This year we are working with a local facility, The Daily Bread in Orlando, FL. To view what this great organization does and what projects we are looking at, please subscribe and visit our RFMA Gives 2017 Blog.  You can access the blog by clicking here or you can visit and visiting the Blogs under our InSite tab. You can subscribe to the blog by clicking on the “Subscribe” button at the top of the blog page once you have logged into with your username and password. Subscribing will allow you to receive emails whenever there are new posts or updates on the blog.

Currently, our members have generously stepped up to assume responsibility of several items requested. We are still needing help in several areas.Check out the RFMA Gives blog for details.

Also, the Volunteer Day is scheduled for Saturday, September 24th. Feel free to register online on the website.

Please get involved in this great volunteer event. You will not be disappointed. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at: or call me at (972) 805-0905, x-3.

Thank you !

Tags:  Daily Bread  giving back  RFMA Gives 2017  Volunteer day 

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Summer Time Check-Up

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Hello RFMA members,

Well, the temperatures here in Dallas have been in the upper 90's for the past several weeks. The summer is almost half over, do you know how your stores are doing? May be a good time to do a quick check on things to ensure there are no major breakdowns before the hot weather disappears. Pretty sure the a/c units have been running full out for the past several weeks. When was the last time the filters were changed? How do you know when your local contractor completed this service? Do you keep a spreadsheet or log? Does the contractor notify you? Are the filters dated when they are changed? Obviously you can't be at all your stores every month or two to check so it is essential to have a plan with your service provider to communicate when the filters are changed and the frequency required. The recommended time is every two(2) months during the summer season. Changing filters regularly is probably the biggest factor in saving energy, prolonging the life, and minimizing R&M costs for your HVAC's.

Additional items to check on are:

- A/C thermostats, are they set properly? Can you remote access this data? Is the night setback programmed correctly? Put this on your contractor checklist when they are changing filters and servicing the unit periodically.

- Irrigation controls for landscaping. Are the bushes, shrubs, plants, and grass looking good and still alive? Does the irrigation system need adjustment? Is the time correctly set along with the day and watering duration? Are there local watering restrictions? It's very expensive to replace dead landscaping and it doesn't look good to incoming customers.

- Roof drains. After the spring storms, have they been checked for proper water flow? Storms can quickly clog these up. Keep them clean and free of debris.

- Refrigeration. Summer is brutal on refrigeration units. Make sure they are scheduled for PM's to clean the coils and check for proper operation.

- Exterior lighting. Are the lights coming on and turning off at the programmed time?

Summertime is hard on your facilities. Preventative maintenance completed in a timely manner and done correctly will save you a bundle in energy and R&M expenses. Stay cool.

Dover and out.

Tags:  Coil cleaning  filter changes  landscaping roof drains  thermostats 

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Franchisee Members

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Updated: Friday, June 10, 2016

Hello RFMA members,

Today's post is geared mainly towards our franchisee restaurant members and others with a small or no facilities staff. With the recent development of some of the larger chains franchising a majority of their corporate locations and the explosive growth of the fast casual segment, numerous additional franchisees have entered the restaurant industry. Typically the new restaurant owners may not have a dedicated facilities professional on staff. This is where RFMA can step in to assist. Our website and membership is full of useful, educational information to enable organizations to be more effective and efficient in handling the numerous facility related tasks that protect valuable company assets and save you money. Check out the following:

- Need a specialized vendor to clean your hoods, service the a/c's, or repair floor tile? Use the Member Directory and click on "Vendor Search".

- Are you hiring or building a Facilities Department? Look at the Job Descriptions in the Resource Library by clicking on "Facilities Toolkit", then post the position on our website.

- Need a preventative maintenance scope of work document to review and provide to vendors for a RFP? Again, check out the "Facilities Toolkit".

- Learn more about what facility professionals need to know to help with their job by reviewing the fourteen (14) certification/learning modules. They provide great educational information ranging from Energy Management to Plumbing. They are free to members and, after you review them, take the CRFP exam to get certified.

- Have a specific facility issue or question? Post it on one of the Forums under the "Insite" tab. No reason to spend valuable time researching a nagging issue that has probably already happened 100 times in other restaurants. Simply reach out to a peer for answers.

- Want to get more involved with RFMA? Join a committee, attend a regional event.

- Need information on a particular piece of equipment? Check out the "Industry Guide"

RFMA's mission is to equip members to advance their professional careers and organizations. Our purpose is to promote the advancement of the restaurant facility management professional.

Any questions or comments, feel free to call me anytime at (972) 805-0905, x-3.

Dover and out.

Tags:  assets  facilities education  franchisee  preventative maintenace  RFMA 

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Disaster Planning

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, June 8, 2016
Updated: Monday, May 23, 2016

Hello RFMA members,

It's early June and officially the hurricane season has started. It began June 1st and ends on November 30th. Are your coastal restaurants prepared? What about the other natural disasters like floods, fires, tornado's, and power outages. Is your Disaster Plan ready and up to date? Has it been reviewed and practiced? Has a plan been developed? Unfortunately, disasters will happen in your stores and the planning stage is the most important part for protecting the employees, customers, and company assets. The plan needs to be in place to minimize the decision time required before, during, and after the event. Obviously, this blog cannot cover all the requirements for proper planning but can provide a few items to consider for your plan. A comprehensive plan will cover the four areas:

- How to prepare

- Minimizing the effects

- Response

- Recovery

Preparing positions your facilities to handle the event by having protection supplies like shutters, plywood, generators, and contractors lined up ready to act. Flash lights, drinking water, first aid kits, 2-way radios, extra cellphone batteries, and spare cash also will come in handy. All great plans will need the input of several internal departments like Operations, Legal, Food Safety, Facilities, etc. The Response and Recovery sections should include who makes on the ground decisions as supplies should already be in place. Prior discussions with local public food safety officials should also be considered as this is a huge potential liability. Obviously the goal is to reopen ASAP as along as the food, facilities, employees and customers are safe.

The plan needs to be practiced periodically to familiarize everyone what is exactly is expected. It can then be revised accordingly. It remains a "living, breathing, document". Also ensure your company has the proper insurance protection as some polices do not include flood or earthquake damage.

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. Two additional articles will be featured in our upcoming  June/July Facilitator magazine.

Click here to view our Facilitator article: Repairs & Maintenance: Forming a Crisis Management Plan
By: Bill Schaphorst with JC Gonzalez and MaryAnn Velez contributing

Click here to view our Facilitator article: Facility Manager Project Profile: Disaster Preparedness Planning
By: Charlie Hartmann

Dover and out.

Tags:  disaster planning  floods  generators  hurricanes 

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It's Almost Summer

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Updated: Thursday, May 5, 2016

Hello RFMA members,

Well, it's almost Memorial Day weekend and you know what that means. Summer is here. Very hot weather is right around the corner. Are your stores prepared? After a long winter and wet spring, now is your final chance to make sure your restaurants are ready for the next several months of hot, intense weather. Following is a brief list of last minute items to check on to keep your stores cool, looking good, and saving energy throughout the summer:

- Carpet/floor cleaning. After a long winter and wet spring, deep carpet/floor cleaning is required to remove the embedded dirt and soil that was dragged in.

- Tile & grout. Seems like this is a never ending battle but check all grout lines to see if they need to be scraped out and replaced or if they even exist. This will keep the tile dry underneath, hold the smell down from potential mold, and extend the life of the floor.

- Doors. Check all exterior doors to ensure they close properly and have sweeps installed. These will help keep the cool air in and pests out.

- A/C units. Probably the most important item to check prior to summer. Absolutely need these running optimally for customer/employee comfort and minimizing energy usage. Double check with your local vendor to make sure these have been PM'd. Address any repairs immediately.

- Caulking. Check all exterior doors and windows to see if they need to be caulked. Will save in energy and possible warm drafts into the restaurant.

- Ceiling tiles. After a wet spring, some tiles may need to be replaced.

- Roofs. Check for leaks and clean out all roof drains as they may be clogged after the spring storms.

- Parking lot. Checks for cracks and possibly reseal/stripe to protect and extend the life of the lot.

The hot weather is always a demanding time for your stores. By completing these simple tasks, you'll protect your company assets and possibly make your life a little easier this summer.

Dover and out.


Tags:  a/c unit  Summer start ups  tile/grout  window caulking 

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