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From the Inside Out
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A blog specifically created for RFMA intended to provide pertinent information on protecting company assets.


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How Clean are Your Hoods?

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Hello RFMA members,

It seems we read every week about a fire in a restaurant. The number one origination point for fires is the cooking equipment. All hot side equipment must be maintained properly for safe operation. To that extent, the hood(s) covering the equipment must be serviced correctly and cleaned in the proper frequency. Restaurant facility professionals are hired to protect company assets. Hood cleaning may be the most important service performed in the store. Proper hood cleaning must be done professionally and in a timely manner. Since facility personnel are not readily available during the cleaning they must rely on their service provider to ensure the cleaning was done correctly. Some items to assist the FMs are:

- Cleaning frequency: For normal restaurant operation, all hoods must be cleaned at a minimum of four(4) times per year, or quarterly. If solid fuel (wood) is being used then the frequency has to be increased, normally to every other month or six(6) times a year. These schedules are mandated by the government's NFPA-96 guidelines.

- Photos: Since the FM is not generally present, the service provider needs to supply before and after photos of the cleaning process to include the ductwork, fans, underneath hood including the fusible links and areas on the roof immediately surrounding the exhaust fan(s). All areas have to be cleaned to the bare metal. These photos should be sent to the FM for their review along with the service ticket and invoice. All good contractors will have no problem supplying this as it protects them legally in case a fire does happen. It is vital to review the pictures for every cleaning. It's that important.

- Cleaning Report: The contractor needs to provide a report of the cleaning detailing what was completed and any issues encountered, including all areas cleaned and any inaccessible areas that were missed. In some cases of long duct runs, access panels need to be installed for cleaning and inspection and/or hinged curbs may be needed for the exhaust fans. Correct any deficiencies asap.

- Sticker verification: Contractor must provide a sticker or certificate showing name of service company, date of service, and date of required next service.

In case of a fire, the contractor may be responsible for damages if it's shown the cleaning was not done properly. It is ultimately the restaurant owner's responsibility to ensure the KES (kitchen exhaust system) is being cleaned correctly and at the proper frequencies. It is a dirty job but must be done with no short cuts. RFMA has several great providers for this service. Check them out.

Dover and out.

Tags:  exhaust fans  fire suppression  fusible links  grease  hood cleaning 

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How do your Stores Know Who To Call?

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Hello RFMA members,

With summer almost here and vacation time right around the corner, does your store operations team know who to contact in your absence? With all the responsibilities of today's restaurant facilities professionals, they simply do not have the time to call and set up service for every R&M issue. Add in being on vacation and it makes it extremely tough. There is nothing worse than being off work and having to stop and make a few phone calls to set up a service call. If your company has a CMMS it's very easy for store managers to initiate a service request via either email or phone. But what if your company doesn't utilize a CMMS?

First, a simple facilities "Who To Call" sheet needs to be created for each restaurant that covers who to call for repairs on the different pieces of equipment in the facility. This would include HVAC, cooking equipment, water heaters, dishwashers, ice machines, beverage dispensers, etc. A lot of equipment can be grouped together as they should be getting serviced by the same provider, i.e., refrigeration equipment, hot side cooking equipment & HVAC. The list also should include who to call in your absence and emergencies like fire alarms, utility company contacts and account numbers, grease trap pumper, hood cleaner, and fire suppression vendor. Of course, all the companies on the list should have been previously vetted by the FM to include proper service response times, costs, insurance, etc. Second, this list should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure it is updated and accurate on who to call. Lastly, the list should be discussed with the store's managers periodically to review who to call and how to escalate on emergencies. It can be very frustrating for both the FM and restaurant managers in following the correct procedure when the FM is not available.

Vacations need to be taken for relaxation and getting recharged. Spending time on the phone for service issues defeats the purpose of vacations. You all know what I'm talking about.

Really would like feedback on how you handle this in your organization. Let me know.

Dover and out.


Tags:  approved vendors and contractors  facilities call list  vacations 

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Hot Weather is Quickly Approaching

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Hello RFMA members,

Only a couple weeks till Memorial Day which means warm weather is right around the corner. In some cases, it's already here. It's now crunch time for your stores to be prepared to handle the hot weather. Are they ready? 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 professionally PM'd. 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 prior to the 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 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 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 winter.

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.

Tags:  a/c preventive maintenance  air balnce  carpet cleaning  hot weather  irrigation  roof leaks 

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Asset Management

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Updated: Monday, April 24, 2017

Hello RFMA members,

How do you handle "asset management" within your organization? Do you have a CMMS to help with decision making? Do you have internal programs containing data on all your assets? Do you have anything in place to track asset repair history, book values, length of depreciation, etc? In today's tough economic environment in the restaurant industry every dollar spent or invested is being looked at. The Facilities professional's role is continuing to expand to now include proper asset management. A good CMMS will enable the facility decision maker to quickly analyze specific metrics and make sound economic decisions. Some of the information obtained from CMMS data should contain:

- Initial equipment purchase date

- Remaining book value

- Length of depreciation

- Repair history, showing specifics on what was repaired, when, and cost

- Individual store Lease information

All of this information will support decisions on repair vs replacement on individual assets. Normally a piece of equipment will be replaced if the repair exceeds 50% of the new replacement cost. Another great item to consider is "planned replacement" of equipment. HVAC is a good example of equipment that can be replaced prior to total failure or costly repairs that will keep a unit out of operation for long periods of time during the warmer or colder months. It makes economic sense to have a planned replacement program to change units out during the mild months when restaurants can go a few hours without them. By reviewing good CMMS provided data, decisions can be made on when to replace, timing of replacement, and volume purchasing decisions with an A/C provider and installer. This can be done with water heaters, refrigeration, cooking equipment, ice machines, etc. All of this equipment is critical to store operations and replacing before failure (or expensive repairs) will save money and downtime if done properly. Facilities is beginning to be directly involved with C-Suite decision making when it comes to capital planning and spending and a CMMS is the way to go. Get on board. RFMA has several good companies that can help. Don't be left behind.


Dover and out.

Tags:  Asset management  CMMS 

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Green Landscaping

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Hello RFMA members,

It's finally spring and time to finalize your landscaping tasks for the summer. With the latest push on going green and the sustainability initiatives, here are some thoughts to promote proper landscaping:

- Enrich your soil. Some restaurants are having to compost their food waste. It will do your soil good to fertilize using your food scraps. No need to buy organic material from the local Home Depot.

- Ensure the landscaping is designed to properly catch and hold all moisture to prevent water runoff. Ensure landscape areas are well mulched.

- Save water. Consider installing rain barrels hooked into the downspouts.

- Utilize recycled products for landscaped border materials like reclaimed wood, or recycled brick.

- Ensure your irrigation is set to go off in a timely manner, with proper intervals, and no broken sprinkler heads. Only water early in the morning or late evening.

- If possible, chose native, water efficient plants. Eliminate plants not suited to the existing site condition and irrigation.

If possible discuss with your local landscape vendor for additional ideas on efficient watering, plant usage, and design as they will know what works best in the region. RFMA has numerous vendors that will be glad to discuss your specific situation. This is an area where large amounts of water and money can be saved and your stores will look better.

Dover and out.

Tags:  landscaping 

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RFMA's Website Provides Answers

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Updated: Monday, March 27, 2017

Hello RFMA members,

When was the last time you checked out what was contained within the RFMA website? When was the last time you were on the site? I get frequent requests for information concerning technical questions, finding vendors and other members and other general facility questions. When you need help, feel free to check out any of the following:

- Vendor/Member search. Looking for a specific member? Need a contractor in a certain part of the country? Check out the Member Directory.

- Forums. Want to discuss a facility issue with another member? Have a need to interact with your peers? Don't use Google, talk to one of our members on any of the available Forums: FM, Industry Exchange, Regional, National, etc. Don't need to reinvent the wheel as our members have seen it and done it all.

-Education. Check out the CRFP learning modules. They will teach you and help you in your day to day facility activities that are required in the profession. These are free to members and will prepare you for the certification test.

- Insite section: This area was upgraded several months ago to enable you to easily update your profile, send or receive messages. post questions, comments, or photos. It's a great social link to use within our association.

- Check out the 'Member Tools' or 'Resource Library'. Both contain great information on our committees, posted technical documents, job seeking and posting opportunities.

Spend the time to get to know our website. It has evolved and will continue to evolve to assist our members in their restaurant facility responsibilities. Check it out.

Dover and out.

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Conference Recap

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Updated: Thursday, March 9, 2017

Hello RFMA members,

Wow, what a conference. I hope you all had a good time and were able to have a few great takeaways. From the opening party out on the lawn to Mel Robbins motivational speech to Jason Hewlett's hilarious act, and of course the entertaining closing party, it was non stop. Oh yes, there were also some great educational sessions and plenty of time to spend on the exhibit floor checking out new vendors, technology, and networking with all. Mel's speech utilizing the "5 second" rule hit home with me. Not only can this help out in your business activities but your personal life could probably be improved which may lead to a better work life too. Are you ready to change your life in just 5 seconds? Make the call you've been dreading, get into action. 5-4-3-2-1-GO!! It has the enormous potential to change your work and your life.

I realize it's somewhat overwhelming to get back into the work routine after the conference but now is the time to keep the momentum going on the items you learned to assist you with your daily facilities responsibilities. Reach out to those vendors, suppliers, and peers on new initiatives that will benefit you and your company by saving time, money, and provide a better quality product and/or service. RFMA has the tools to help. Embrace the ever changing facility environment. Be proactive and make a difference.

Thanks to all for making this conference a success. Don't hesitate to contact anyone at RFMA on any issue. We are here for you as "YOU ARE RFMA"!! Rest assured, we are already working on making the next conference in Phoenix better than Orlando.

Dover and out.

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Only a Few Days Till The Conference!!

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Updated: Thursday, February 9, 2017

Hello RFMA members,

Only a couple days until the conference. Have you done your planning? This is the most exciting time of the year for RFMA. We're ready to go. This conference is designed to give everyone an opportunity to network, learn and investigate what is available to save your company time & money and make your life easier. Ensure you have downloaded the free Conference App as RFMA is 'paperless'. What educational sessions are you registered for? LED Lighting, IoT, Energy or Project Management, Roofing? There are many. Take advantage of them to learn what's new in these specific areas and what could you bring back to your company. Do you have a plan for visiting the exhibitors? To be efficient, it makes sense to have one as there are over 370 booths. Do you need a new contractor? Check them out. Hopefully you also signed up for the Restaurant Roundtable  as it provides a great opportunity to network with other local FM's in the same geographical area. Don't miss the Opening or General Sessions as the Keynote Speaker, Mel Robbins, explains her "5 second rule" to help you reach your full potential and Jason Hewlett will make you laugh with his many impersonations as the Keynote Entertainer.

Lastly, have fun. There are no secrets in what we do. We are not sharing recipes, just facility best practices.

Stop by the RFMA booth to learn more. We're here to help.

See you in a few days!!

Dover and out.

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Are Your Stores Prepared For Warm Weather?

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Updated: Thursday, February 9, 2017

Hello RFMA members,

It may be cold and snowy in your part of the country but it's the middle of February and warm weather will be here before you know it. Are you and your restaurants prepared? Are you contractors lined up for the proper PM's? Transitioning from winter to spring gives facilities professionals an opportunity to do what they are hired for, namely, protecting company assets in an economical manner. They are several items 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 preparation for the summer months in these areas:

- 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 versus saved 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 evaporator 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.

- 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 take a beating from the long, cold winter. Check for any potholes and cracks that may cause vehicle damage or pose a safety risk. 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.

- Other, check for proper time clock settings for all exterior lighting. 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.

Dover and out.

Tags:  HVAC PM  irrigation systems  minimizing liabilities  parking lots  Roof drains  Spring start ups 

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Renewable Energy Rebates

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Hello RFMA members,

Are you getting money back for energy saving initiatives utilizing renewable energy? How about a subsidy for energy efficient replacement equipment, like a/c units, refrigeration and/or cooking equipment? Some equipment and lighting suppliers will refer you to a local utility company for rebate information but for those interested and unaware, there is a website available called 'DSIRE' that is a complete national database of state incentives for renewable energy. According to its website, "DSIRE is the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewable energy and energy efficiency in the United States". Renewable energy has become competitively priced with non-renewable over the past several years and it's always a good thing to save valuable natural resources, reduce your carbon footprint, and promote within your brand.

The DSIRE website is very easy to navigate. There's a tutorial on how to use or simply click on a state to check on current incentive programs and policies. You can also type in a zip code to populate current programs. Rebates vary by electric providers but typically offer a subsidy or rebate in the 25-60% range. I highly recommend checking this out prior to implementing an energy savings initiative or replacing a piece of equipment that consumes a large amount of electricity, like an a/c unit, lighting, cooking and refrigeration equipment. Don't leave money on the table. There's no risk in checking what's available. For easy access, the link is posted on our website under Resource Library and Industry Links.

Dover and out.

Tags:  energy reductions  energy subsidies  rebate programs  renewable energy 

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