By Katie Torres
If you own or operate a restaurant, creating an experience that your customers love is probably at the top of your priorities list.
And when that good experience doesn't happen, your customers are the first to notice.
We've put together a list of 12 mistakes made in restaurant facilities maintenance, so that you can make sure to avoid these pitfalls going into 2018.
1. Lack of landscaping, and burned out lights
Nothing is more unfortunate (or funnier) than a restaurant with just the right letters burned out on the sign, to rename the place into something totally different. Just Google "funny sign burnouts" to see why this is a problem.
2. Not actively maintaining the exterior
Does the siding need to be pressure washed? Or the sidewalk out front? Have the birds made their homes in your sign? (You might not mind so much, unless of course your sign lights up and the bird's nest causes a fire...think it's not possible? Totally is. I know this from experience.) These are important things to take care of.
3. Trash and debris on the restaurant's property
It just doesn't look good, or very inviting. It's worth the time to pick up.
4. Dirty service areas
OSHA has regulations for clean service areas. Water buildup is of special concern, as it can cause injury. Make sure to have sufficient drainage, mats, and platforms to avoid this problem.
5. Bathroom doors that pull in rather than push out
This one may be most often overlooked, because no one really thinks about it until they're the ones having to touch a dirty door handle to get out of the restroom. If you can't swing having a door that pushes out, at least make sure you have paper towels and a trash can so your customers can avoid touching the handle.
6. Run-down parking lots
Potholes, loose gravel, debris in the parking lot...none of it is good news for your customers' vehicles, or for their preferences. Upkeep on parking lots can be pricey, but it's worth the investment to know people won't be turned away by the unsightly exterior of your restaurant.
7. Dirty equipment
It's hard to imagine that a restaurant would not keep their cooler clean and orderly, or that they wouldn't clean their kitchen stations regularly. But...it happens. And there are some pretty awful horror stories out there to prove it. This leads to unhappy customers, and even health code violations. Keep it clean.
8. Unorganized floor plans, bar setups and table arrangements
Not only does this make for less-than-ideal appearances, it can also complicate the serving process when having to navigate through poor table placements (and other servers who are trying to do the same).
9. Overspending on linens or cleaning services
That table you're covering up? It looks great. No need to spend extra to cover it up, and then pay to have the table cloth cleaned after every use. The table doesn't look great? It might be time to replace the table.
10. Insufficient budget for facilities maintenance
If you're viewing facilities maintenance as an extra expense, then you are accepting every over-spent dollar as the norm. Facilities maintenance, if not already made evident by these points, is extremely important to the success of any restaurant. It's worth the investment.
11. Inability to negotiate
There are a lot of great vendors out there who would love to serve you well. Make sure you're finding those guys, and negotiating well when someone does give you a number that's just too high. If you need help negotiating these costs, the help of an FM company may be a good option for your restaurant.
12. Purchasing equipment before it's necessary
A great example of this is a fryer that would have lasted much longer, had it been properly cleaned and maintained. Besides proper maintenance work, your restaurant also needs to have data to keep track of past repairs, so you can better determine when they need to happen next.