Foodservice Equipment Reports
Editor's Take

Make A (Financial) Case For Planned Maintenance

Years ago, a coworker came in late one morning. When we asked him where he’d been, he said, “You know how they recommend you change the oil in your car after so many miles?” We nodded. “Well, if you don’t ever change it,” he said, “you’ll trash your engine and it’ll have to be replaced,” which was the verdict he’d been given that morning. (Confession: This was news to a lot of us; we were in our 20s and naïve.) 

A few hard lessons like this one, and you learn that there are just some planned-maintenance tasks you avoid at your peril. But it’s starting to dawn on me that for all of the evidence we have that proves planned maintenance pays for itself—in fact and theory—we just naturally balk at paying for things up front for the promise of a return on the investment in the future. 

For our Exclusive this issue, Senior Contributing Editor Mike Sherer spent the better part of a month tracking down the answers to the elusive question: Why is planned maintenance such a hard commitment for multiunit operators? I believe David Pogach, Facility Manager for Darden’s LongHorn Steakhouse concept, Orlando, Fla., hit the nail on the head when he said, “I don’t believe it’s individuals who don’t believe in planned maintenance. It’s organizations.”

So, what do organizations understand best? The bottom line. As our Exclusive suggests, unless you centralize the process of tracking the service records on your equipment and tallying the costs (not just on repairs, but the costs on replacement, down time, loss of sales—everything), you will have a very hard time establishing the true cost of equipment neglect. I guarantee it’s a lot higher than you think. Armed with numbers, the cost of planned maintenance begins to look like a real bargain.

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