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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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Hot Side PM's

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hello fellow RFMA members,

Today's post concerns hot side PM's in the restaurant. Most companies have PM (preventative maintenance) contracts or agreements in place for their HVAC/R, fire suppression, trap pumping, hood cleaning, etc. One area that seems to be neglected is having regular scheduled PM's for the hot side cooking equipment. Restaurants with broilers, fryers, ovens, ranges, and other gas (or propane) cooking equipment need timely PM's also. Proper PM's will minimize failures, produce even cooking temperatures, save energy, and extend the overall equipment life. The cost of a PM program will more than pay for itself over time by reducing repairs while maintaining top operating efficiency. PM's will normally catch minor malfunctions or worn out parts before they cause a breakdown. Some minor maintenance and/or daily cleaning can be done by store personal but it's recommended to use professional contractors. Generally, the following items will be completed during a normal visit:

- Inspect electrical connections and components

- Inspect gas service and components

- Check pump operations (fryers)

- Check ignition systems and components

- Check/calibrate thermostat settings

- Check operation controls

- Run thru normal operations

- Check frypot conditions

- Clean burner orifices

- Change/clean filters as needed

- Check overall condition of the equipment cabinet, operating surfaces, vents, etc.

The required PM frequency is normally every six (6) months but it is recommended to check with the equipment manufacturer for their policies. RFMA has numerous contractors that perform this service. Check them out. As always, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me.

Dover and out.

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Computerized Maintenance Management Systems

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Hello fellow RFMA members,

Today's post is on Computer Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS). In today's tough economical climate, it's imperative to make sound financial decisions concerning facility spending. CMMS has made tremendous progress in assisting facilities professionals in this area. CMMS systems introduced properly can reduce overall facility spending and ensure dollars are being used efficiently. It now makes economic sense to utilize some portions of these systems in your day to day handling of job responsibilities. CMMS can provide detail information or assist in the following areas:

- Generating R&M work orders via phone or email

- Repair costs by individual equipment

- Asset management

- PM scheduling

- Vendor certification

- Site surveys (condition of assets)

- Alarm/emergency generation if building automation system (BAS) is present

A good example of CMMS would be deciding on a fryer repair versus replacement. For example, let's assume the fryer has a cracked frypot. Should it be repaired or replaced? By utilizing CMMS, a facility professional could review in a minute the initial cost of equipment, the age of the fryer, the remaining dollars left on the books, the repair (work order) history including what has been done and the costs associated. Then a well thought out financial decision could be reached. Some in-house accounting departments will have varying degrees of this information but probably will not have repair cost history.

CMMS can also simplify generating a repair call. Usually an 800 number will be used for all facility R&M repair calls. The CMMS company will generally complete a quick troubleshooting with the caller on the affected piece of equipment and then contact the proper vendor for service. In most cases, the vendors used will be the same ones that were utilized prior to partnering with a CMMS company. They will generally work with your contractors.

The costs for supplying these types of services has dropped considerably over the past few years and it has become economical in the data that is provided back to the customers. The future is now for CMMS.

RFMA has several companies supplying this type of service. I recommend contacting them to begin the discussion on how they can help you. I would also appreciate feedback from individuals using CMMS for their comments. Obviously this article could not cover all the benefits available. Thanks for your time.

Dover and out.

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Waste & Recycling

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Updated: Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hello RFMA members,

Today's post is on waste and recycling. Most facilities professionals are involved with the decision making on waste management procedures and contracts. In some cases, the landlord assumes the trash removal responsibility but there are still cost saving and green initiatives that can be implemented. Almost 75% of material in landfills consist of recyclable and compostable materials. 

The City of San Francisco's Integrated Waste Management Board has published a food service waste management guide that encompasses all areas of restaurant operation. I recommend reviewing it at This article is perfect for organizations just entering the green environment or looking to reduce operating costs. Some of the highlights are as follows:

- Utilize refillable condiment bottles

- Only use paper products from recycled materials

- Use multipurpose cleaners rather than job specific types

- Develop and implement in-house monthly cleaning and maintenance programs for equipment

- Have employees use washable or permanent ware mugs rather than throwaway paper

- Minimize excess use of trash bags by manually compacting and only emptying when full

- Set up rendering service for used fry oil

- Set up cardboard/glass/plastic recycling program with local collector

- Set up food donation program

Another good article to review is entitled "Restaurant Waste Reduction" and it can be reviewed at: It provides additional suggestions for reducing waste upstream, direct, and downstream.

To learn more about this topic, feel free to register and join in on the next Peer to Partner call on Friday, Oct. 17th from 1:00 - 2:00 PM, CST. Participants will be sharing their success stories. It's everyone's responsibility to save our planets' resources.

Dover and out.

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Energy Management

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hello RFMA members,

Today's post is more about sustainability, or what we used to call it in the old days, energy management. We had a great Peer to Partner call last week on sustainability covering several initiatives Chipotle, Red Lobster, and others are currently doing in their restaurants in the areas of energy, water, and waste. This topic is gaining traction throughout the restaurant industry in the US and will only grow larger in the future. This article will cover basic energy management items that can be implemented to save utility dollars and go hand in hand with sustainability.

Most chains have energy policies in place but for smaller operations or companies without programs, the first "low hanging fruit" to look at are programmable thermostats. These are cheap and easily installed. They can be programmed for proper temps throughout the day and have night setback to save utility dollars at night when the restaurant is closed. Most have override capability so managers can adjust the temp up or down a few degrees for a set amount of time. Occupied temp settings should be between 74-76 degrees for cooling. Remember the old rule of thumb..."if the employees are comfortable, the customers are cold". Winter setting should be 71-74 degrees.

Another easily and cheap item is installing LED lights in existing Exit signs. No need to replace the entire sign, just the bulb. There are light adapter kits available that will replace the incandescent bulb with LED, saving energy along with bulb replacement costs. LED's can also be used for exterior signage, menu boards, and general lighting.

Other items to consider are as follows:

- Refrigeration gaskets. Ensure they are clean and not worn out.

- Exterior door sweeps.

- Strip curtains on the walk-in cooler and/or freezer.

- Properly adjusted door closers.

- Air curtain device on the back delivery door.

- Use Energy Star rated equipment

- Ensure PM's are done timely

Common sense plays a huge roll in energy management. Simple start-up time stickers can be manufactured and placed on the individual cooking equipment. If you were cooking at home, would you turn your grill on 3 hours before it's needed? Probably not. I've witnessed operations personnel turning on all the grills, fryers, ovens, and exhaust fans early in the AM without needing to use them for several hours. They are ensuring the equipment will be ready to use but it makes no sense.

There are many other energy saving programs and devices available. Feel free to call me anytime (972-805-0905, x-3) to discuss further or reach out to our RFMA vendors who deal in energy management. They can save your stores money. Would like to hear about your success stories. Please provide so we all can save the planet!!

Remember the old saying, "If you don't need it, turn it off".

Dover and out.

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Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Hello RFMA members,

Today's topic is sustainability. Over the past decade or so the importance of sustainability has grown dramatically, and rightly so. It will continue to be a major factor in restaurant design and operation. In general, restaurants use about 5-10 times more energy per square foot than other businesses. It's up to us to continue to find and use better equipment, materials and processes to minimize energy, water, and waste usage. Most restaurant chains have begun incorporating sustainability items and methods into their daily operation. Sustainability is no longer thought of being "nice to have". Federal, state, and municipality laws are now beginning to govern usage requirements for restaurants. Obviously this post, with it's space limitation, will not be able to dive deeply into this subject but there are a few items to consider when designing a restaurant or replacing equipment. HVAC/R and lighting are the two (2) largest energy users in the stores. Switching to LED lights, for example, saves tremendously on both electrical and bulb replacement costs. For HVAC's, a simple "Start Up Time" chart will ensure equipment is not running when not required. There's no reason to turn on all the a/c's, exhaust and make-up air fans when not needed. Stage the turn on times as required. This should also apply to cooking equipment. Consider EMS (Energy Management Systems) and/or programmable t-stats. Plumbing is another large item to consider. Go with low (or no) flow toilets and faucets throughout the facility. Use Energy Star rated equipment wherever possible. Ensure all preventative maintenance is being done in a timely manner.

RFMA is fortunate to have a large number of restaurant facility individuals and vendor partners that can assist you in the entire sustainability arena with ideas and products that have proven successful. Don't be afraid to reach out to others to see what has worked best for them. We are not sharing recipes but are becoming a force for positive social change.

There are so many great sustainability programs currently in use. Feel free to comment on what is working for you. It will benefit everyone. With that in mind, consider registering and joining us for the next Peer to Partner call on Friday, Sept. 12th. The topic is "Sustainability".

Dover and out!

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Vendor Performance

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Hello RFMA members,
How well are your contractors performing? Sometimes this is a difficult question to answer. Normally you are not on site to communicate with the service tech(s) and review their work. In most cases "no news is good news". It seems we only react when sub-par performance is perceived. Usually it's a call or email from the store manager or Area Director explaining their dissatisfaction in a recent service call. We all know there are two (2) sides to every story but good contractors want feedback on their performance. Now, after the busy summer season, is a good time to put together a short performance survey for your major service providers and send it to store managers to complete. It should be no more than 5-7 questions with a space for general comments. Questions can be rated on a 1-5 point scale and should include basic information such as:
- The overall appearance and attitude of the technician
- The timeliness of the call
- Clear communication on problem(s) with store operations
- Quality of repair, clean-up, callbacks
- Accuracy of service reports/invoices
Assuming the technician is well trained and technically sound, I believe one of the most important traits they can have is their ability to communicate with managers. They can be instrumental in training store personnel on basic equipment care and troubleshooting which prevents repair calls.
Finally, the survey results need to be shared with the vendor. Both the good and bad should be discussed and action plans put in place. Continued feedback between you, operations, and the vendor keeps everyone informed and usually makes easier for all parties to work together. Appreciate any comments.

Dover and out!

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Winter is Coming

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Thursday, August 7, 2014
Hello RFMA members,

It's almost 100 degrees again here in sunny Dallas. Hard to believe winter is right around the corner. Seems strange but now is the time to start thinking about preparing your midwest and northern stores for the upcoming cold weather. What have you done in the past? What has worked and what needs improvement? Do you have a list of activities needing too be done when heavy snow and/or ice hit the region? Have you identified the areas in and around the facility that will need the most maintenance? Parking lots, sidewalks, entrances, and landscaping areas will all need attention. Has a contract been negotiated for snow and ice removal with local service professionals? It's not too early to have these items set up. Waiting to react to the first weather event will hurt business, cost additional dollars, and potentially create a safety situation. Get prepared now. For further discussions and learning, I recommend registering and attending the next Peer to Partner call concerning "Preparing for Winter" on Friday, August 15th at 1:00 PM, CST. If you have any comments, let me know.

Dover and out!

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Monitoring/Approving Projects

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Hello RFMA members,
It seems like FM's rarely have a slow period. There is always projects or paperwork to scope or complete, surveys to be done, invoices to process, etc. In the summer, due to various factors, a FM is normally at their busiest. This always gave me trouble in properly following up with my vendors in processing their invoices in a timely manner. Obviously, you can't be on-site to review the work being done for all jobs. For some projects, I required "before" and "after" photos showing the work while others I relied on the MOD (manager on duty) to sign off on the work. I would like to hear back on how you handle approving invoices. How do you handle PM work i.e., hood cleaning, trap pumping, HVAC? How are your typical R&M projects handled, like floor tile, sidewalk, of parking lot repairs? Do you rely on managers or pictures? Please let me know as I am looking at "best practices" for this important subject. Thanks.

Dover and out !

Tags:  photos  projects  sign offs 

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Welcome To "From the Inside Out"

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Monday, July 14, 2014
Hello all and welcome to the new RFMA member Blog site, "From the Inside Out". This is being created similar to my Facilitator magazine article which is intended to provide members with periodic facilities information to assist you with protecting company assets and general information on RFMA activities. My initial entry is to remind everyone to get involved with our yearly RFMA Gives project. It is a fantastic way for us to give back to a local homeless community shelter. The planning for the 2015 project in San Diego is well under way and we are currently looking for any type of donation you can provide. For further information, feel free to see the initial entry in the RFMA Gives 2015 Blog. It briefly describes the chosen site along with who to contact to get involved. As always, if you have any questions, call me direct at (972) 805-0905, x-3 or email me at
Also, it's been a hot summer thus far. I'm sure the a/c's at your stores have been running full time for a few months. The more they run, the dirtier the filters get. Ensure these are being changed or inspected, at least every other month during the summer. Have your contractor send you before and after photos when they are changed. This will keep your units running efficiently and minimize major component repairs.

Dover and Out !

Tags:  Facilities  HVAC  RFMA Gives 

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