Foodservice Equipment Reports
Back Story Maintenance Tips

BACK STORY: Going The Extra Mile

KEYWORDS coker order

When a crucial piece of equipment goes down right before a big weekend, it’s hard for everyone to avoid panic. When T.J. Coker, Director of Operations for Coker Service, Chicago, got a call from a stressed customer in this exact situation, he literally went the extra mile to help him out.

“They called us in to fix an oven that wouldn’t heat up,” Coker says, “and this particular model had just had a streak of failures across both of their other locations and other customers’ restaurants. Sometimes design flaws happen.” With this knowledge, his technician knew immediately to check the element. “Sure enough, our guy found the same element had failed here, too,” Coker says. “Unfortunately, we had recently replaced a few dozen of these exact same elements and had run out of stock. They were on order, but neither the factory nor anyone locally had this element on hand.” There was no telling how long it would remain on backorder.

Knowing that the customer was in for a big weekend, Coker decided to take action. “It just didn’t feel right to tell them they’d have to wait,” he explains. “So, I decided to reach out to members of our association, CFESA, and found out that some good friends in Indianapolis could provide the part we needed.” Rather than wait for the other service company to overnight the part, Coker and his team decided to send their parts runner out to pick it up. “Six hours later, we had the part we needed and returned to complete the call the same day,” Coker says. “The factory was pleased and our customer was very happy.”

There’s no question the service agents went beyond the call to fix the situation, but there are steps you can take to mitigate your downtime in a similar situation. Always be on the lookout for recalls from your manufacturer or dealer and pay attention to trends on equipment that you have across multiple stores. You also should consider establishing a stronger relationship with your service agent, maybe put a preventative maintenance program in place. As Coker says, “Sometimes you need to think outside the box in order to get the job done.” And it never hurts to have some good friends around that you can rely on.

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