Managing Your Restaurant’s Maintenance & Sanitization During COVID-19

Managing Your Restaurant’s Maintenance & Sanitization During COVID-19
Kuljeev Singh

By Kuljeev Singh

The COVID-19 health crisis has created a new emphasis on sanitization, health, and social distancing in businesses of all types—and restaurants are no exception. Enhanced focus on sanitization and social distancing have become the minimum restaurant operating requirements during the pandemic. Many restaurants have reset their health and wellness policies to include a wide range of COVID-19 preventative measures to ensure new operating protocols are being implemented effectively including staff reopening orientation and training sessions.

Whether you’ve recently reopened your restaurant doors or have been offering delivery and take out, you already know the rigor and frequency needed to implement the long list of COVID-19 health and safety measures, some of which include:

Wearing PPE gloves and face masks

  • Hourly hand-washing (sometimes hand-washing is required every 30-minutes)
  • Enhanced hygiene and cleaning procedures
  • Wellness checks and temperature checks for employees

During the pandemic, ResQ supported some of the leading restaurant brands like Tim Hortons, Panera Bread, Pizza Hut, Paramount, and many more to implement heightened safety measures including equipment repair and preventive maintenance. We’ve learned a thing or two from our experience working with restaurants during and before the pandemic, so we compiled a list of critical information any restaurant will need to successfully reopen and stay operational during the pandemic.

1. Consider specialty sanitization services

In addition to hourly sanitization of all high-contact surfaces (FOH and BOH), ensuring you have access to professional specialty sanitization will provide more confidence and peace of mind to your staff and guests.

There are a million and one things you need to adjust your operations to adapt to the new reality similar to many ResQ customers who decided to include specialty sanitization services as part of their regular maintenance plans. Doing so helped them free up much needed headspace knowing they have professional cleaners coming in as regularly as needed for a thorough sanitization.

Things to consider when working with a professional sanitization service provider:

  • Services need to be conducted by fully trained technicians as shown in the picture below taken from a recent disinfection service completed at a ResQ customer location.
  • Some service providers offer special prices/packages knowing these are tough times for restaurants so find out if labor, materials, equipment, and chemicals are included in the pricing.
  • Ask if the service provider will issue a window certificate for you to use for the added level of confidence your staff and guests are looking for when working or dining in your establishment.
  • Ask them to verify that your ware-washing machines are operating at the required wash and rinse temperatures and with the appropriate detergents and sanitizers.
  • Ensure that they use disinfectants approved by national health associations such as EPA-approved sanitizers or Health Canada approved disinfectants.

2. Reinstate preventive maintenance plans

We gathered insights from 50,000+ service jobs completed through ResQ and we uncovered that on average, there is a need for service between 3 to 5 times per month depending on the size of the restaurant and how well the facility is taken care of.

With all restaurants under extreme pressure of heightened safety and potential staff shortage, you can delegate the reactivation and re-scoping of your recurring preventive maintenance plans to your trusted repair and maintenance solution provider.

Most commonly serviced restaurant equipment:

  • Ovens
  • Ice Machines
  • Freezers
  • Baked Goods Equipment
  • Espresso and Coffee Machines

Most common work orders:

  • Elements, Pilot, Water Pressure
  • Motor / Conveyor Belt / Heat Element
  • Filters
  • Compressor, TX Valve, Thermostat
  • Leaks

If you wait until equipment breaks down before you have it serviced, you’ve already lost more time and money than you would have saved compared to keeping a regular maintenance plan.

Benefits of keeping equipment maintained

  • Cost-effective and increases equipment longevity - the cost of high degree damage is more expensive than opting for regular maintenance. Small problems can be identified before they become big problems. Poorly maintained equipment also uses more energy increasing your electricity and water bills.
  • Maintains food quality - if the tools a chef is using are faulty, there is only so much they can do. The better maintained the equipment is, the better the final product will be
  • Speed of operations - weak equipment slows service down (slow prep time + slow cooking + slow service = lost sales and poor guest experiences)
  • Healthy equipment is hygienic - regular maintenance includes sanitization and is a healthy habit for equipment. A restaurant’s health code depends on it!
  • Reduces fire hazard - most kitchen fires are caused by equipment breakdown

Here is a list of highly recommended recurring services to reinstate and schedule to avoid service interruption when you’re already operating at reduced capacity:

  • Exhaust Hood Cleaning
  • Refrigeration Preventative Maintenance
  • HVAC Preventative Maintenance
  • Grease Trap Cleaning
  • Pest Control Services
  • Waste & Recycling Pick-Up

Until the pandemic is behind us, restaurant dining and operating experience will continue to shift and adjust to the reality of heightened safety measures. Scheduled equipment and facility maintenance are at the core of successful restaurant operations as are on-going sanitization and social distancing protocols. Your equipment and facilities are like the nuts and bolts of your restaurant operations which can be easily overlooked until it becomes an emergency repair situation costing you time and money.

ResQ offers standard pricing across all preventive maintenance plans for multi-unit restaurants so you never have to worry about surprise overpriced invoices anymore, especially during the pandemic when revenue is impacted by the reduced capacity requirements. To learn more, contact us today.

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Kuljeev Singh
Kuljeev Singh

KJ is the Founder & CEO of ResQ and a former restaurateur. Inspired by the challenges in the industry, KJ founded ResQ to empower restaurateurs & service providers to build better-managed businesses.