Maintenance Starts During Design of Restaurant:
Once you have gone through the process of Design and Construction of your Restaurant or lounge, the key to the success of your business is in your hands and how you operate. Your restaurant or lounge is not any different than a car or a machine, if anything it is more like a high performance exotic car. It will require regular maintenance, and we’re not talking about the backend of running the business, such as marketing or customer acquisition; physical maintenance of the building and equipment. As an entrepreneur, you have invested a tremendous amount of capital into developing your restaurant or any business for that matter, it only makes sense to maintain it, as you would with your vehicles, to ensure its reliability and functionality. Your design team should have addressed the future maintenance of the restaurant or lounge as it is an important variable to delivering the proper design solution. Any commercial building takes a beating due to the volume of use, and the higher the use, the more pronounced and frequent the wear and tear on the facility. This wear and tear is exponentially higher on Hospitality establishments such as Restaurants, Lounges, and Entertainment venues, merely due to the higher volume of guests cycling through. Typical areas that tend to get affected more frequently are walls, finishes, bar area, millwork and seating. Your first line of defense is your design team. Their responsibility should have not been just delivering a design that just looks good, but also analyzing the use and abuse your specific restaurant concept would take during its projected lifespan, unfortunately there is no “one size fits all” solution as each project is unique in terms of guest cycle and lifespan. With this information your design team should have developed a design that is a balance between aesthetics and material performance. Most design teams do keep future and ongoing maintenance in mind and would specify additional quantity of finishes to be stored and used when needed. Think of it as spare parts for your car.
What To Do After Your Restaurant or Lounge Is Open:
Once you have gone live (past grand opening) with your restaurant or lounge, it would be a great idea to have an ongoing contract with an outside company to provide maintenance on regular basis. If you are a seasoned operator, you would have a good sense of how frequent this would be and as mentioned before, each concept is unique and varies. First impression is everything and the cosmetic health of your establishment has a direct impact on your revenue. It dictates and justifies your price point and not dedicating a small percentage of your revenue towards cosmetic maintenance could and WILL have a much larger impact on your bottom-line. This should not be isolated to just Front Of the House, but should also be applied to Back Of the House, infrastructure and any technology used in the building. To clarify, the health of your BOH does have an impact on your guests, bottom-line, minimizing liability, and most importantly employee performance which leads back to your bottom line again. We have seen countless times, like the picture in this article, spaghetti of wires, data wires not labeled, filter on equipment not cleaned or changed and equipment not cleaned. Good rule of thumb? Major house cleaning at the change of every season, many of your equipment, lighting, audio, visuals, computers, dimming racks, POS servers and etc. have cooling fans with air filters to keep dust out of the internal electronics of the equipment. Failing to change or clean the filter on regular basis suffocate the air intake of the equipment and cause overheating leading to a shorter lifespan, and once again dipping into your ROI. Your staff should be fully trained to ensure the health of your power and data wires. We can write a whole article just on this topic alone explaining why having spaghetti of wires is a hazard to your operations, performance and a maintenance nightmare. Each and every single wire should be neatly organized with a cable management system, and most importantly labeled throughout the run of the cable. Your design team should have already specified that.
Plan of Action:
- During the design phase of the restaurant, the performance and maintenance should be addressed. (we will have a follow up article on this topic alone)
- Have an understanding of the required maintenance intervals for your concept. With a specific pre-planned procedures.
- Make sure your restaurant, lounge, or venue looks flawless. The cosmetic quality of your venue has a direct impact on new customer acquisition and maintaining customer loyalty. Keep those walls, floors, finishes, millwork, and lighting like the day you opened. Yes customers are shallow and will judge your business by its looks.
- Don’t forget about your Back Of the House! Yes, that includes storage areas, clutter is your enemy. ‘Make the most of your leased area to utilize every square inch properly. Clutter will cause a waste in space which is not any different than wasted inventory.
- Be sure to keep a spare quantity of parts and finishes on hand and neatly organized and labeled. Failing to do so, will cause extended downtime and unnecessary time for employees on the clock to search.
- Keep your technology and lighting clean to extend their lifespan.
- Keep those wires organized! We can’t stress this enough!
Image is everything!