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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 

Cold Weather is Coming. Are you Ready?

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Hello RFMA members,

Another hot summer is ending and it's still a bit warm but now it's time to begin preparing for cold weather. Are your restaurants and contractors ready? Do you have your snow removal contract specifics finalized? Are the HVAC's ready for heat mode? Following are a brief list of activities to concentrate on to ensure your facilities are ready for winter:

- RTU's. Are the fall start-ups scheduled with your contractors to check on 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 and possibly train a restaurant employee on emergency replacement.

- Building air balance. Are your building positively balanced? After a long 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 trained on what an store air balance is and how to correct issues 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 flashing and roof seams for damage as water penetration then freezing will cause leaks and potentially expensive repairs. Have any issues professionally repaired.

- Irrigation systems. Check with your landscapers to drain the lines and unhook all hoses from their spigots. Mat want them to do a final inspection on the entire system so it'll be ready in the spring

- Exterior lighting. With darkness coming earlier, make sure all parking lot, building, and walkway lights are working and programmed for proper on/off times.

- Exterior doors. Are the sweeps in good condition? Change as necessary. This will keep the cold out along with the 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 and minimize facilities liabilities. Having a contract in place should put your facilities in a higher priority position to get plowed.

- Thermostats. Reprogram accordingly for winter operation. In extreme cold climates do not program below 60-65 degrees.

- 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.

Jeff Dover, CRFP 
Facilities Resource Manager | Restaurant Facility Management Association
972-805-0905 ext. 3

Tags:  air balance  heat exchangers  roof drains  snow removal contracts  winter preparation 

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Get Registered for the Conference and Save!!

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Updated: Monday, August 26, 2019

Hello RFMA Members,

RFMA 2020 conference registration is now open. This 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 management. 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.

Please note the following concerning the registration:

- For restaurant members, register by December 15th to receive the $150 early bird registration rate. If you register by November 1st, you will automatically be placed into a drawing for a free 3-night stay at the Gaylord in Aurora (Denver), CO.

- After December 15th, the rate is $300 and by waiting to register on site the cost is $450.

- 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 2019/2020 RFMA membership is current and up to date

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

Dover and out. 


Jeff Dover, CRFP 
Facilities Resource Manager | Restaurant Facility Management Association
972-805-0905 ext. 3

Tags:  Denver  education  netwroking  RFMA National Conference 2020 

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RFMA Events a Plenty

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, August 28, 2019
Updated: Monday, August 19, 2019

Hello RFMA Members,

The hot summer is finally ending. Hopefully, your workload is becoming a bit more manageable as the cool weather approaches. RFMA's gearing up for a busy fall and we have a host of events lined up for the next few months that will include great opportunities for education, networking, socializing, and giving back. Take a look at the following to consider:

- Dallas Restaurant Roundtable, Wednesday, Sept. 4th

- Member Meet-Up, Westmont, NJ on Tuesday, Sept. 10th

- Peer to Partner covering "Plumbing Maintenance" on Monday, Sept. 16th

- Western Region Restaurant Roundtable, Denver, on Friday, Sept. 20th

- RFMA Gives Volunteer Day in Denver on Saturday, Sept. 21st

- Peer to Peer call covering "Preventative Maintenance and Refrigerators/Chillers" on Tuesday, Oct. 1st

- Member Meet-Up in Tampa, FL on Thursday, Oct. 10th

- Franchisee Focus Peer to Peer call covering "Repair vs Replace" on Wednesday, Oct. 16th

- Member Meet-up in Naperville, IL on Thursday, Oct. 17th

- Peer to Partner call covering "Snow Removal" on Monday, Oct 21st.

There's a lot going at RFMA the next few months. Pick a few of these to expand your knowledge and further your growth in our industry. Check out additional details on any of these under "Events" on our website. Going to be a busy fall. Any questions or comments, let me know.

Dover and out.

Jeff Dover, CRFP 
Facilities Resource Manager | Restaurant Facility Management Association
972-805-0905 ext. 3

Tags:  member meet-up  restaurant facility education  restaurant roundtable  RFMA events  RFMA Gives 

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It's Prime Hurricane Season Time

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, August 14, 2019
Updated: Friday, August 9, 2019

Hello RFMA members,

The prime hurricane seasonal time is here. This would be a good time to review your Disaster Management Plan with other internal departments to ensure all bases are covered so everyone knows what to expect and do in preparation, and during a storm. When was the last time the plan was reviewed and discussed? Following are a few items that may need review:

- Planning. Are the stores employees ready and informed on what actions are required in planning for a storm event? Does everyone know what to do and when to do it? What about corporate personnel?

- Decision making. Who is responsible for the critical decisions and when? What are the critical decisions? When should stores close to keep employees safe? When should contractors be notified and set-up to board and/or prepare the restaurant for the storm?

- Communication timing. Who is responsible to communicate the decisions reached? Are the disaster communication devices available and ready, i.e., satellite phones, 2-way radios, etc.?

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

- Recovery. Are the Response and Recovery parts of the plans on target? Are the local public officials contact information up to date and written down which will be needed in reopening the restaurant.

- Insurance. Is your coverage up to date, active, and include all potential disasters, i.e. hurricane, flood, fire, etc?

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.

Dover and out.

Jeff Dover, CRFP 
Facilities Resource Manager | Restaurant Facility Management Association
972-805-0905 ext. 3

Tags:  disaster management  Hurricanes  restaurant emergencies 

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Electrical Interruptions

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Hello RFMA Members,

We here in Dallas have been very lucky so far this summer with no days over 99 degrees. Unfortunately, most of the rest of the US has been treated to brutally hot and dangerous conditions. For some areas of the country, the high heat stressed the power grid beyond its normal capacity creating "brown outs" that lasted anywhere from a few minutes to a couple hours. Additionally, with the powerful storms generated, electrical outages have existed 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.

- 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.

- Check other areas of the building for guests and/or employees that may be stuck in restrooms, storage areas, etc.

- 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.

- 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.

- Note the emergency lighting system normally will last for 1 -2 hours. Ensure flashlights are available for outages that exceed this length of time. Do not use candles as there may be an unknown gas leak.

- 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 a power outage. Each restaurant will have additional items reuired. 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. For additional store outage information, check out the Facilities Toolkit under the Resource Library on the RFMA website.

What other items can be included?

Dover and out.


Jeff Dover, CRFP 
Facilities Resource Manager | Restaurant Facility Management Association
972-805-0905 ext. 3

Tags:  brown outs  electrical  electrical outage  power surges 

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The Learning Continues

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Updated: Monday, July 15, 2019

Hello RFMA Members,

Educational information continues within our association. Events are ongoing throughout the year. We just had a great Peer to Peer call this past Thursday covering 'Energy Management, LED Lighting, and Green Buildings'. Wayne Brayton, CRFP, from Sonic Restaurants, was the moderator and there were numerous great takeaways. Some of the highlights were as follows:

- Discussions on solar power as it's becoming more economical due to lower manufacturing costs, increased efficiencies, and potential rebates, making the ROI much better.

- Utilizing basic, common sense approach in saving valuable utility dollars by implementing restaurant education on proper turn on/off times for equipment and lights and correct temperature settings and night setbacks on t-stats.

- Restaurants normally need a minimum ROI of 2-3 years on energy initiatives.

- Water management is becoming more important and expensive. Increasing needs to control usage is becoming mainstream.

- Discussions on partnering with utility management companies that process invoices (gas, electric, water) for the stores and provide energy reports detailing utility usages for each location. The charge for this service is easily worth it at a few dollars per invoice as internal accounting personal's time can be reduced along with added value of reports showing high usage which will require investigation to determine what caused the spike which can minimize future costs by actionable items.

- Discussions on converting all exterior and interior lighting to LED which is one of the easiest "low hanging fruits" to implement for immediate cost savings.

- LED saves in electric & cooling costs, better overall lighting, and lower R&M expenses. Some manufacturers and installers are providing a labor and parts warranty for up to 50,000 hours per bulb. This is a deal that our industry needs to take advantage of.

- There is a website that provides all pertinent rebate information from local utilities for energy saving equipment. Feel free to access and use at:

- Always check with local electric providers to see if rebates are available for LED’s.

- Most lighting vendors will complete the proper paperwork to get the rebates. In some cases, the documentation is very complex, so this is a great service to take advantage of. Most companies provide this service free of charge as they are making money providing the bulbs and/or fixtures.

- Discussions on how to obtain a LEED rated building. Several different factors (LED, HVAC’s, increased insulation, Energy Star equipment, etc.) must be completed or implemented to receive the proper certification, or ranking. There are 40-50 different items that determine the type of ranking a building can receive, i.e., Gold, Silver, Platinum, etc.

- The process is complex and somewhat hard to understand. Most use a LEED certified architect and/or contractor to discuss what is required. Hard to complete on your own. Need to partner with a professional.

- Payback for the increased cost of building materials and equipment will need to be determined. In some cases, it’s very expensive with a relatively high ROI.

These calls always provide a good opportunity to learn from your peers and I recommend them highly. These are open discussion and only last up to one(1) hour. Some of the educational events forthcoming are:

- Peer to Peer call, on August 8th discussing "CMMS, IoT, and Workflow Automation"

- Restaurant RoundTable at Wendy's Headquarters in Columbus, Oh on August 6th covering "CMMS, Equipment Training for Operations, and R&M Cost Controls"

- Peer to Partner call on Sept. 16th discussing "Plumbing Maintenance"

Take advantage of this free learning. Professional development is one of the main goals of our association.

Feedback is always appreciated.

Dover and out.

Jeff Dover, CRFP 
Facilities Resource Manager | Restaurant Facility Management Association
972-805-0905 ext. 3


Tags:  Educational information  Energy management  Green buildings  LED lighting  utility usage 

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Vacation Time!!

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, July 3, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Hello RFMA members,

Summer is almost half over and I hope your emergencies are few. Summer is the time for vacations and it's your responsibility to take time off. Restaurant facility professionals are on call 24/7 every day of the year. It's a demanding job that can cause burnout if people do not take time for themselves and their family to relax and forget about their restaurants. Trust me, I've been there and sometimes it's simply overwhelming. For you and your organization, you must be able to get away and recharge. It will help both yourself and your company. It's been proven through many studies that employees in high pressure positions lose their productivity without any real time off. When taking vacation, take vacation. No checking email and definitely not answering your phone. You can easily be sucked back into emergencies which require follow-up and phone calls. Communication prior to your vacation is critical. Establish back-ups for your projects and complete an "out of office" automatic email notification. Talk to your supervisor and vendors who may be in the middle of your projects. Let critical individuals know you will not be available. I'm on vacation now in historic Philadelphia and enjoying every minute. Tomorrow is our nations Independence Day and I can't think of a better place to celebrate.

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

Have a safe rest of the summer.

Dover and out.

Jeff Dover, CRFP 
Facilities Resource Manager | Restaurant Facility Management Association
972-805-0905 ext. 3

Tags:  refresh  time off  vacations 

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Hot Weather is Back!

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Updated: Thursday, May 16, 2019

Hello RFMA members,

Cool weather has long since disappeared. Summer is here again. It's already hit triple digits in many parts of the US and it's not even July yet. It is going to be another hot summer. How are your restaurants doing? Had any emergency calls in the past 20 minutes? Check out this Summer facilities checklist to keep emergency calls down and efficiency up!  

Check out the following items to ensure your stores are operating at an efficient level this Summer:

- Air balance: Check to see the restaurant is positively balanced, which means when opening an exterior door, a little air rushes out of the building rather than in. This is very important to correct as a negative store will waste energy cooling dollars and make it uncomfortable for guests seated by the doors.

- PMs: When was the last PM completed on the HVAC units? When were the filters changed? Due to the longer run times during the summer, the frequency of filter changes may need to be increased. A well running unit will save utility dollars and ensure customers and employees alike are both comfortable in the restaurant.

- Roofs: Now is the time to check for leaks and clean out all roof drains in preparation of summer storms. Also, pick up any loose screws and other items that could potentially cause a leak if stepped on.

- Carpet/Floor Cleaning: After a wet spring, have all carpeted areas deep cleaned to remove embedded dirt to provide a safe environment to the customers and employees.

- Tile & Grout: Warmer weather will normally increase the humidity and moisture level. Check grout lines to see if they need to be scraped and repaired. This will minimize chance of moisture getting below the tiles, holding mold in check and extend the life of the floor.

- Parking Lot/Sidewalks: Check for cracks and possible shifting of underneath soil due to warm, dry weather to ensure there are no tripping hazards. Summer is normally a busy time of the year and preventing any slip/falls is of great benefit. Also, check for proper striping and correct any ADA issues accordingly.

 -Doors: Warm weather means pests are active and more likely to enter the facility. Check to ensure sweeps are installed and in good condition.

- Building sealing: Check all windows and exterior doors for proper sealing. Re-caulk if necessary.

 -Irrigation: Check proper on/off times for exterior irrigation and spray head operation. Replace any broken heads as required.

- Ceiling Tiles: For good "branding", replace any stained ceiling tiles which may have been damaged from leaks over the spring

Hot weather can be damaging to your restaurant facilities. Completing these tasks will protect your brand and assets and again hopefully minimize the emergency calls this summer. Have a safe season!

Dover and out.

Jeff Dover, CRFP 
Facilities Resource Manager | Restaurant Facility Management Association
972-805-0905 ext. 3

Tags:  air balance  doors  floors  Hot weather  parking lots  roofs 

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Educational Calls

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, June 5, 2019
Updated: Thursday, May 16, 2019

Hello RFMA Members,

Since our conference in Austin, we have had numerous Peer to Peer and Peer to Partner educational calls with great participation and engagement discussing topics unique to our industry. Our last Peer to Partner call discussed Disaster Management and there were numerous takeaways. Following are brief notes from the call:

- Disaster Plans are the heart and soul of keeping your employees and customers safe along with protecting company assets.

- The plan needs to have the involvement of several internal departments, namely, Risk Management, Accounting, IT, Facilities, Supply Chain, and Operations. All need to have input in developing the plan and rehearsing it periodically.

- Priority #1 is keeping employees safe. It's better to close the restaurant a bit early rather than late to minimize potentially Brand liabilities.

- Most on the call noted they do not have employees boarding up or sandbagging the facility. Insurance should cover any damage done to the building.

- Corporate should be sharing their Disaster Plan with their franchisees.

- The decision on when to close normally is made by regional operations personnel or the corporate Risk Management or Supply Chain departments.

- Most agree the store closings should be done 4 days prior to the event (hurricane) plan activities commence.

- Flooding was noted to be the number 1 disaster in the restaurants.

- Negotiate contractor costs as part of your plan prior to a disaster. This minimizes the chance of get price gouged after the event.

- Disable or cancel your on-line ordering for each closed location as locals may try to order food and even come to the restaurant to pick it up.

- Building good relationships with your food provider(s), recovery contractors, and local municipal inspectors is a must to minimize downtime and get back open.

Check out our website for future Peer to Peer and Peer to Partner calls and join in. It's a great way to learn, further your education, and protect your Brand.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Dover and out.

Jeff Dover, CRFP 
Facilities Resource Manager | Restaurant Facility Management Association
972-805-0905 ext. 3

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Conference Roundtable Discussion - Franchisee Challenges

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Hello RFMA Members,

We understand that as restaurant facility professionals you all have some similar challenges within your restaurants. We also understand that our Franchisee members have some additional challenges that they have to face. At our RFMA 2019 Annual Conference in Austin we had specific restaurant roundtables just for our Franchisee members to cover and discuss their specific needs and challenges. 

Below is a recap of some of their discussions:

  • PM contracts - Some noted they were only having their HVAC equipment PM'd twice per year while most others noted the "normal" frequency of four times per year. The lower frequency will save money in the short term but the risk of higher R&M costs. Some noted the PM frequency decision was made by other internal departments. Most commented that periodic filter changes was separate from the PM contracts.
  •  Ice machine preventive maintenance - This was consistently being completed every three months by the group of Franchisees. Restaurants having in-house service technicians were saving money by having them change out the water filters as opposed to having an outside service provider. Others noted store managers completed this task and the filters were being forced ship to each location which then alerted the managers the need to replace.
  • National vs. Regional Vendors - Franchisees with restaurants in a smaller geographical area tended to use regional vendors more then national vendors. Others liked using national vendors to minimize the number of contacts to keep up with and standardize the scope of work for each service. Seemed easier for them to supervise fewer contractors.
  • Challenges facing Franchisees 
    -Getting corporate specifications on anything. Hard to keep up with corporate initiatives for equipment, building, and operational changes.. 
    -Lack of consistent communication between corporate and franchisees.
    -Franchisees are sometimes held to a different standard versus the corporate locations. Standards need to be set and communicated to all parties and each needs to be held to the same metrics.
    -Some noted the attitudes of corporate were teetering on being arrogant and felt as if they were looking or talking down to their franchise partners.
    -Lack of franchisee involvement and input in the decision making process for new initiatives. Need to have more input from the franchisee community for any accounting, operational, and construction issues.

These were some of the major items noted in our roundtable discussion. Due to the current conditions in our industry with some of the larger chains going to a full franchisee model, it's imperative that the line of communication and decision making is at a high standard between corporate and franchisees. Both parties need to work together to protect their overall brand.

If you are a Franchisee and would like to continue this conversation with other RFMA Franchisees members, make sure to join our Franchisee Group within SocialLink and look to the Franchisee Forum within our Restaurant Group. Plus, check out our RFMA Event Calendar for specific Franchisee Focus Peer to Peer Calls. 

If you have any comments or questions, let me know.

Dover and out.

Jeff Dover, CRFP 
Facilities Resource Manager | Restaurant Facility Management Association
972-805-0905 ext. 3

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