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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  time off  air balance  hurricanes  recharge  roofs  COVID-19  irrigation systems  power outage  RFMA Gives  Vacation  Benchmarking  Disaster Management  electrical outage  heat exchangers  irrigation  RFMA national conference  Spring start ups  Vendor management  ADA  Asset management  Best Practices  booths 

Clock Changing Time/Restaurant Communication

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Hello RFMA members,

Daylight Savings time officially ends early on Sunday, Nov.4th. It's time to turn the clocks back one(1) hour. This is also a normal time to follow up with your restaurants reminding them to adjust their clocks and perform a few other housekeeping items preparing for shorter days and cold weather, such as:

- Adjust time clocks for all interior/exterior lighting. Also check for any burned out bulbs (especially exterior) and change or have professionally replaced as it will be darker substantially earlier. This is a must to protect customers, employees and your brand.

- Change times for exterior signage on/off times (time clocks).

- Clean photocell lenses for exterior building and parking lot lights.

- Change programmable thermostat settings for proper times and temperatures. Do not program under 60 degrees in extreme cold climates.

- Adjust irrigation controls to correct time and ensure they are properly winterized for the cold season, where geographically applicable.

- Change times for the security systems, i.e., burglar, fire, POS, and CCTV, if not done automatically.

- Have roof drains cleaned out as they be be clogged from summer/ fall storms.

- Walk the roof and remove items that could cause leaks if stepped on.

- Check all exterior door sweeps for good conditions. Replace as needed.

- Ensure HVAC/R fall PM's have been completed or are scheduled.

On your personal residence, now is a good time for:

- Change batteries in all smoke/CO2 detectors.

- Change filter on hvac unit.

- Clean out dryer vent.

- Clean refrigerator coil.

- Check windows for drafts, caulk where necessary.

- Check all exterior door sweeps to ensure they are in good condition.

- In the northern, colder climates, unhook all exterior hoses from their spigots and cover with insulation cap.

What did I miss? Always looking for feedback.

Dover and out

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






Tags:  changing clocks  daylight savings time  winter tasks for restaurants 

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Hurricane Season Ending Soon

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Hello RFMA members,

The hurricane season is coming to a close but the chances still remain for a storm to hit during the next few months. Thus might be a good time to review your Disaster Management Plan with other internal departments and make adjustments as necessary. All plans are living, breathing documents that need review and updates from time to time. Restaurant facility professionals are looked at to lead in protecting local stores (assets) and may be asked to initiate a complete review of current disaster management plans. Some items to look at are as follows:

- Planning. Are the stores employees ready and informed on how to plan 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 an set-up to board and/or prepare the restaurant for the storm? These are just a few of the critical questions.

- 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 may 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 follow-up  disaster management planning  fires  floods  hurricanes 

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Winter is Quickly Approaching !

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Hello RFMA members,

OK, we all probably experienced a record hot summer and it's still warm but it will be changing soon. With a little while before winter hits, now is the time to make plans to ensure your restaurants are ready for cold weather. 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:

- 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 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 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. 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 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 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.

- 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




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Are You a CRFP (Certified Restaurant Facility Professional)?

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Updated: Friday, August 24, 2018

Hello RFMA members,

Wow, the year is flying by. Cool weather is right around the corner. Hopefully your workload is getting a bit easier with the summer months behind you. How has your year gone? Have you achieved all your goals? How about Professional Development? A CRFP designation would surely help. Attaining RFMA's CRFP is a huge step in increasing your facilities management knowledge and elevating yourself within our industry. The prerequisite, in general, for taking the exam for the designation requires 3-5 years of restaurant facility experience, knowledge of all aspects of facility management, and a commitment to advancement of the restaurant facility management industry. To prepare for the exam there is a CRFP Prep course on the RFMA website consisting of fourteen (14) topic areas (modules) to review. They are:

- Site Work

- Building

- Kitchen Equipment


- Electrical Systems

- Plumbing Systems

- Preventative Maintenance

- Disaster Management

- Energy Management

- Financial Planning

- Financial Management

- Project Management

- Property Management

- Codes & Guidelines

The modules are free to RFMA members and are online for self training with no time constraints. Each has a pre-test, the learning material, and a post-test. They take anywhere from 15-45 minutes to complete and will prepare you for the CRFP exam. The modules provide valuable information that will benefit you in your day to day decision making activities. I highly recommend this great learning tool as it will only help in your professional development. How about a great way to finish off 2018 in your professional development?

So, are you up for it? Are your ready to elevate yourself in our industry? Challenge yourself. You will be better qualified in restaurant facility maintenance. Feel free to contact me to discuss further.

Dover and out.

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




Tags:  CRFP  facility management education  restaurant facility management  rfma 

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Conference Registration is Now Open

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, August 29, 2018
Updated: Friday, August 24, 2018

Hello RFMA members,

RFMA 2019 conference registration is now open. RFMA 2019 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:

- For restaurant members, register by December 1st to receive the $150 early bird registration rate and be entered into a drawing to win a free 3-night stay at the Fairmont Austin Hotel.

- After December 1st, 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 2018/2019 RFMA membership is current and up to date

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

We are looking forward to seeing you all again in Austin 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:  facilties education  networking  peers  Restaurant facilities  RFMA 2019 

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Power Losses

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Updated: Thursday, July 26, 2018

Hello RFMA members,

Well, it's been a long hot summer everywhere in the US with some regions getting little rain while others received too much. 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. 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.

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

- 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.

- 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 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. 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.

Tags:  electrical issues  emergency lighting  guest safety  power outage 

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RFMA Events

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, August 1, 2018
Updated: Thursday, July 19, 2018

Hello RFMA Members,

A few weeks ago, Jen Rivera and I were at a RFMA Restaurant Roundtable event in Denver at Red Robin's corporate office. It was a great gathering, discussing several restaurant facility topics pertinent to our industry. Following is brief recap:

R&M Cost Controls

- Group discussions on how the members handled the overall R&M spending in their restaurants, notably in maintaining or reducing costs.

- Having good business partners in for your service providers was one key element in controlling and/or reducing costs.

- Proper review of existing service contracts for correct scopes of work, labor/parts charges, frequencies of service etc. All these items need to be reviewed and renegotiated from time to time to ensure your are efficiently and effectively protecting company assets.

- Utilize CMMS, if available, for current asset spending, tracking, etc., then concentrate efforts on high spending equipment.

- Elimination of some PM services was discussed but a few members noted the equipment R&M costs shot up dramatically soon after cutting the service.

- Look at extending warranty terms on some equipment.

- Examine overall warranty procedures to see if there is an opportunity to increase collections.

Equipment Training for Operations

- Create a Facility Manual for store operators to use for troubleshooting and minor repairs to equipment.

- Develop short YouTube type training videos on specific equipment showing proper operation, troubleshooting, cleaning, and repairs.

- Get with manufactures to supply training reference materials to store employees.

- Provide managers education on exactly what services and tasks are to be performed during a service call.

- Tie in equipment training videos to current CMMS showing how to make repairs prior to placing a service request.

Water Management

- The overall water situation in the World is getting critical. It is a limited commodity that requires restaurants to minimize their usage and ensure it is safe.

- Several members noted they have changed their landscaping to comply with minimum water needs.

- Filtration is becoming more and more required due to the increase in chemicals and minerals in the water.

- Factors in proper water management include the type of equipment in the store, i.e., boilers, beverage equipment, steamers, dishwashers, etc.

- Maintenance on water management systems was discussed at length on who is responsible centering on in-house versus outside vendor.

- New water saving equipment is available in irrigation systems, dipper wells, pitcher rinsers, aerators, etc.

RFMA is a wonderful source for continued education in our industry. Their are several upcoming, namely:

- Peer to Peer Call, Aug. 2nd

- Member Meet-Up in Dallas, Aug. 9th

- Restaurant Roundtable in Atlanta, Aug. 14th

- Restaurant Roundtable, Austin, Sept. 7th

Feel free to check these out on our website and register. There's always something to learn in our industry. Any questions or comments, let me know.

Dover and out.

Tags:  operations training  R&M cost controls  restaurant facility education  Roundtable  water management 

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Take Time Off

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Hello RFMA members,

Well it's been a record hot summer thus far. Hope your store's A/C's are keeping up. This is normally 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. Restaurant facilities professionals are 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.

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

Tags:  recharge  time off  Vacation 

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Peer to Peer and Peer to Partner

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, July 4, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Hello RFMA Members,

On June 7th, we had a Peer to Peer call on "Kitchen Equipment, Equipment Repair vs Replace, In-House vs Outside Technicians". The call went well with Gene Davis, CRFP, from California Pizza Kitchen moderating and the group was engaged. Discussions on equipment life cycle costs and maintenance training produced several educational opportunities for the participants. Several metrics were noted and talked about for the Repair vs Replace decision making process. Some of these include age of equipment, cost of repair, remaining book value, cost of new, remaining building lease terms, etc. It was noted, some equipment, like water heaters, should be proactively replaced thereby minimizing the chance of a total restaurant shutdown. Who ultimately makes the repair or replacement choice was also discussed. Most on the call noted their facility representatives made the decision. Very few indicated store mangers were responsible for this.The final topic about In-House versus Outside techs concentrated on the pro's and con's to each. The group was in agreement with their stores having lower R&M costs utilizing internal techs but finding and managing them is an added task on the facilities department. Most companies that use their own techs only charge their stores enough to break even for the departmental total costs. Some use their techs for PM tasks only but outside vendors are still needed for all other services.

On June 18th, we had a Peer to Partner call on "Hot Side Equipment PM's and Equipment Break/Fix Decision Making". Shane Brock, CRFP, from Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores was the moderator and this call also was very educational. Discussions on the hot side equipment PM's centered on if they are truly needed and have a payback similar to other equipment PM services. Most on the call do not have PM contracts for this but the ones that do indicated the service definitely had a good payback by lowering overall R&M costs for the specific equipment and better operating performance. Steamers and combi-ovens were specifically noted they need regular PM service due to the incoming water quality and potential liming issues. Daily cleaning and regular maintenance of the equipment must still be completed by restaurant staff even if there is a contract in place. On the Break/Fix discussions, several of the metrics from the Peer to Peer call above were talked about. Having a CMMS in place was also noted to greatly improve the decision making process and timing. Good service provider communication to the customer was discussed as they normally know the piece of equipment overall condition better than anyone. Use their input in the decision.

Both calls provided good input from the participants and great educational material. Check out the event calendar on the RFMA website for future calls. They provide an opportunity to learn on different topics and how your peers take care of these issues. If you have 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:  hot side equipment  in-house technicians  outside vendors  Preventative maintenance  repair versus replacement 

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Summer is Here

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Updated: Monday, June 4, 2018

Hello RFMA members,

Well, so much for spring weather. Summer has hit with a vengeance again. It's already been over 100 degrees in Minnesota and it looks like we are in for another long, hot summer. How are your restaurants holding up? Check out the following to ensure your store's are doing the best they can to keep customers and employees comfortable while saving utility dollars.

- 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.

- 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.

- 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.

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

- Air balance: Check to see the restaurant is somewhat 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.

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

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

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

Hot weather is very tough on restaurant facilities. Completing these tasks will protect your brand and assets and 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  HVAC PM's  roofs  tile and grout  Warm weather 

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