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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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2020 Best Practice Articles

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Updated: Friday, October 25, 2019

Hello RFMA Members,

Hope you enjoyed the August/September edition of the Facilitator Magazine which included a separate Best Practices booklet. We are now accepting article submissions for the next booklet on Best Practices for the late summer, 2020 printing of our magazine. The next set of topics are:

- Facility Condition Assessments

- Facility Manager Survival

- HVAC, Air Balance & Humidity Control

- Paint Specifications

- Remodel or Refresh?

- Water Intrusion

If you are interested in submitting an article on any of the above topics, feel free to click on the following: Submissions are accepted thru February 1, 2020. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at (972) 805-0905, x-3.

Thanks for your support!

Dover and out.

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

Tags:  Best Pracitices  education  facility assessments  HVAC  paint specifications  water intrusion 

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Are Your Stores Ready for Hot Weather?

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Hello RFMA members,

Winter is over in most parts of the country and hot weather is fast approaching. Soon your restaurant's A/C's will be running all the time. Are your stores ready for another long, warm season? This time of year provides the last opportunity to ensure your restaurants are ready. As a final checklist of items to review, the following list summarizes tasks that should be completed prior to the summer:

- A/C units: The most important item to have the units professionally serviced for preventive maintenance. Filter changes, coil and condensate line cleaning are a must along with changing the belts. A well running unit will save utility dollars and ensure customers and employees alike are both comfortable in the restaurant.

- Roofs: Spring and summer storms will bring items on the roofs that could potentially damage its surface and/or clog the drains. Now is the time for a roof check. Ensure all drains are free of material and flowing. Also, pick up any loose screws and other items that could potentially cause a leak if stepped on.

- Parking lot/sidewalks: One of the most expensive assets that needs to be maintained throughout the year. Check for cracks and possible shifting of underneath soil 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 cold, wet winter & 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 extending the life of the floor.

 -Doors: Warm weather increases pest activity which means they are 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. Have you service company check on this during their PM visits.

- 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.

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:  HVAC  preventive maitenance  roofs  summer start ups 

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Going To Be Hot Soon. Are Your Restaurants Ready?

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Hello RFMA members,

Even though it's the end of February and still cool, it's time to begin the warm weather transition. Are your stores prepared for the hotter temperatures? Are your contractors ready to get the equipment preventative maintenance items completed? There are several tasks where inspections and actions are needed to prolong the life of equipment and to ensure the restaurants are ready to switch from cold to hot mode. Now is the time to begin preparations and ensure the store is ready for the summer months. Following are areas and equipment that need to be addressed:

- HVAC's: All units need to be professionally PM'd. Coils need to be cleaned for maximum performance and energy efficiency. Depending on the coil condition, chemical cleaning may be necessary as dirty coils will use up to 40% more energy. This is also the time to change the filters. Go with a pleated type or mesh that can handle the local environment and don't need to be changed every month. In harsh climates, these may need to be changed every 2 months. This is not an area to skimp on as it's relatively inexpensive to replace rather than having the a/c run longer and harder. Changing filters regularly provides a great ROI on maintenance costs, saving energy, and prolonging the life of the equipment. Refrigeration pressures need to be checked to ensure they was no leakage over the cold months. Have all electrical connections and amps/volt usages checked for the compressors, condenser and blower motors. Check with your contractor on their checklist of PM services. Lastly have the condensate drain lines blown out to be clean and free of debris. For a complete a/c maintenance list inspection report, visit the RFMA website under "Resource Library" and "Facilities Toolkit".

- Roofs: After a long winter, a general inspection needs to take place to pick up all loose items, clean out roof drains, and check all roof penetrations for any gaps. Reseal as necessary. Check all areas where the roofing membrane and flashing meet to ensure there are no splits or gaps. Reseal as required. Due to the importance of a sound roof to protect the restaurant interior, it's recommended an inspection takes place every month. Again, check out the "Roofing Care & Maintenance" report under the Resource Library on the RFMA website. This is one of the most expensive assets and is commonly overlooked on periodic maintenance.

- Irrigation Systems: Check to correct times and dates and the programmed start/stop times as there may have been a power outage that will require resetting. Turn on operation and check for any broken sprinkler heads. Replace as necessary.

- Parking Lots: In some areas of the country the lots have deteriorated from the long, cold winter. Check for any potholes, cracks, and alligatoring that may cause vehicle damage or pose a safety risk (trip & fall). Repair asap to minimize liability. Check for worn discolored sealer and reseal/restripe as necessary. Having a nice looking lot is one of the first impressions on a potential customer and also reduces liability when the lot is striped properly.

- Other: Check for proper time clock settings for all exterior lighting and ensure all bulbs are working. The long darker winter months enabled all exterior lights to be on longer periods of time. Check t-stat settings for proper on/off times, temperature, and night setback functions.

These actions will ensure your restaurants will be saving utility dollars and keep your customers and employees safe and comfortable. It also greatly minimizes your Brand liabilities. If I missed anything, feel free to let me know.

Dover and out.

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




Tags:  HVAC  irrigation systems  parking lots  roofs  Summer preparedness 

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Winter is Coming

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

Hello RFMA members,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Thermostats. Reprogram accordingly for winter operation.

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

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

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

Dover and out.

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

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How's Your Equipment Doing?

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

Hello RFMA members,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dover and out.

Tags:  HVAC  irrigation  refrigeration  roof drains  summer equipment check up 

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Are Your Stores Balanced?

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Updated: Monday, November 28, 2016

Hello RFMA members,

With the cold air from winter here or coming soon, it may be a good time to ensure your restaurants are positively balanced. We all know what an unbalanced store feels like. The first sign is having difficulty opening the front door. Once it's pulled open you can feel the air rushing in from the outside. My experience has shown me the majority of restaurants are running a fairly high negative pressure. Due to all the air handling equipment especially the exhaust fans, it's no wonder the buildings are negative. Cold air rushing in thru and under the doors and cracks around the windows not only wastes energy it creates a very uncomfortable environment for the customers and employees. It's very easy to check on a store's balance. Make sure all the HVAC's are turned on and running along with the hood(s) exhaust fans. Go to an exterior door from the inside of the store and crack it open a few inches. Using a lighter, put the flame up against the opening and see which way it flickers. If it flickers towards the inside, the restaurant is under a negative airflow. If it is pulled towards the outside, the building is positive. The ideal setup is for the store to be slightly positive. Negative airflow will waste utility dollars, cause potential smoke rollback, and produce cold, uncomfortable spots throughout. This is always a terrible situation during the winter months. Some easy items to survey by both store managers and your local HVAC service provider are as follows:

- Check to ensure all equipment is running. Go to the electrical panel and make sure all breakers are on

- Ensure all air filters for all the HVAC equipment, especially the MUA (make up air) are clean and properly located within the units

- Check thermostat settings for proper programming and the fan in the "on" position.

- All coils need to be clean as dirty ones will restrict air flow

- Outside air dampers on a/c units open, set properly, and/or operating as required

- All HVAC equipment on the roof sealed properly

- All hood filters in place and in good condition with no gaps

- All HVAC motors running at FLA (full load amps)

If not done so already, have these items included in your HVAC PM contract for review each time the preventative service is completed. Your contractor should understand basic air balance principles and be your eyes in the field to make any necessary minor adjustments as needed. This will save energy dollars and keep both your customers and employees comfortable.

Dover and out.

Tags:  air balance  air handling equipment  HVAC  negative pressure  outside air dampers 

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Are Your Stores Ready for Spring?

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Hello RFMA members,

It's only the middle of February but warm weather is right around the corner. Are you, and your restaurants, ready? With the hot weather, there are several items to check to protect and prolong the life of your company's assets. The time is now for getting plans made for the following areas:

- Parking lots: with the long, cold, winter months, the lots take a beating, especially in the northern climates. Check for worn discolored sealer. Reseal and restripe where necessary. Check for new cracks and expanding potholes and repair accordingly.

- Roofs: a general inspection and clean up is required prior to the spring weather. Clean out all roof drains (should be done monthly) allowing for proper flow. Check all roof penetrations for any gaps and reseal as required. Check all areas where roofing membrane and flashing meet to ensure there are no places for moisture intrusion.

- HVAC's: have all units professionally serviced. The coils all need to be cleaned for optimal performance. Ensure the filters are changed and condensate lines are not clogged. Have all electrical connections checked. For a complete a/c maintenance list inspection report, visit the RFMA website under "Resource Library" and "Facilities Toolkit".

- Irrigation Systems: check to ensure the date & time are correct and the start/stop times are programmed properly. Check on battery back-up if applicable. Check for proper sprinkler head operation, cleaning out any dirt or obstructions. Replace broken/worn heads.

- Other: check for correct time clock settings for exterior lights to save energy and keep the facility safe. Inspect landscaping and trim all overgrown areas as necessary.

By completing these items, you will protect your stores, save energy dollars, and keep your customers and employees safe.

Dover and out.

Tags:  HVAC  landscaping  parking lots  roofs  Spring start ups 

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Summer Check Up

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Updated: Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Hello RFMA members,

We are about halfway thru the summer. Seems like a good time to check on a few maintenance items. With the rooftop a/c's running constantly for the past several weeks, it may be time for the filters to be changed. Surely they are clogged up, minimizing the efficiency of the unit. How do you ensure the filters are changed in a timely manner? Do you have the contractors notify you with "before" and "after" photos of the filters? Do you track by the invoices received for the PM service? Are the filters dated with a sharpie when installed? Realizing you can't be at all your stores every month to check, it is essential to have a plan with your service provider to communicate when the filters are changed and how often they need to be changed. Usually in the summertime, they need to be changed more often as the unit is running more. Recommended frequency would be every two (2) months, minimum, during this high volume time.

Other maintenance items to check on are:

- Roof drains, are they clean and free of debris. The summer storms can clog these up quickly.

- Landscaping, how is the irrigation frequency working out? Should it be adjusted? Are the shrubs, grass, and plants still alive? It can be a very expensive option to replace the landscaping if left dry and dying.

- Walk in equipment coils clean? In the summer, the refrigeration systems on the walk in units are stressed due to high temperatures.The interior and exterior coils need to be cleaned frequently for efficient operation.

- Interior t-stats, do the settings need adjustment? Is the night setback programmed properly? Lowering the thermostat by one (1) degree can increase the overall electric consumption up to 3%.

Summer provides a tough environment for your facilities. Preventative maintenance done timely and properly can save literally thousands of dollars in R&M and energy expenses. What other items do you check on during this tough time? I'd like to know.

Stay cool....

Dover and out.

Tags:  coil cleaning  filters  HVAC  PM service  roof drains  Summer check list  t-stats 

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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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