Everything You Need To Know About Restaurant Maintenance As a Business Owner

Published on:
May 15, 2024
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Restaurants confront an unusual kind of stress: an unusually short product lifecycle. As a restaurant owner, you probably spend most of your day taking care of one thing or another. It may seem as if you are always faced with challenges, including managing vendors and staff shortages to managing menus and financial predictions. 

But that's just the tip of the iceberg! 

Restaurant maintenance is one of the other aspects that has to be attended to constantly.

Did you know that proper restaurant maintenance software can improve your operations from the front of the house to the back, save you a significant amount of money (without sacrificing the quality of your services), and even help you get better ratings from your customers?

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The global restaurant management software market size was estimated at USD 4.08 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach USD 4.56 billion in 2024.

What is Restaurant Maintenance?

"Restaurant maintenance" is an umbrella term that encompasses all the tasks necessary for maintaining the infrastructure and equipment of a commercial restaurant.

However, despite their recognition of the need of maintenance, restaurant owners often neglect to do proper maintenance due to the hectic nature of their jobs. Business as normal ensues, with maintenance being considered solely in the event of a breakdown.

Why Restaurant Maintenance Gets Pushed To The Back Burner

The front and back of the house have their hands full just accepting and delivering customers' orders. 

Day in and day out, they juggle far too many tasks, including supervising both front- and back-of-house employees, ensuring that customers are satisfied, placing ingredient orders, and paying for every single expenditure. 

Managing R&M is another duty that many restaurant owners are compelled to do. Due to a lack of time and several conflicting demands, restaurant maintenance "to-dos" often go to the sidelines. They go unnoticed until a breakdown in infrastructure or equipment becomes catastrophic enough to warrant attention.

This kind of maintenance management for a single site might be difficult enough. But what about multiple locations? Matters get much more complicated.

Operators must deal with several managers, suppliers, and opportunities for income loss, and they must also keep meticulous records of every problem they encounter. 

Dealing with restaurant maintenance may be quite a challenge. But it doesn't have to be; owners can easily transfer the burden to a reliable partner.

The Scope of Restaurant Maintenance 

Size, cuisine diversity, and cooking technique are three factors that influence the extent to which a restaurant requires maintenance. Having said that, there are two basic types of restaurant maintenance considerations.

#1) Miscellaneous Maintenance Activities

All the necessary yet simple maintenance duties and activities fall under this category. Also, these things are done rather often, like once a day or once a week. Weekly restaurant cleaning, disinfecting, janitorial duties, and waste collection are all part of this category. 

In most cases, you won't need a comprehensive preventative maintenance program or specialist maintenance training to carry out these tasks. Customers' first views of your business are heavily influenced by the tasks in this category.

#2) Restaurant Equipment Maintenance

Your machinery and equipment are essential for the effective running of your facility, just like any other production facility. 

Misfunctioning equipment and breakdowns can have a significant influence on the whole customer experience at your business. For example, if your HVAC systems aren't working properly, it can lead to uncomfortable customers. 

Similarly, if your ovens aren't cooking food quickly enough, it can be a major problem. Maintenance procedures for equipment should, therefore, be optimized following  original equipment manufacturer (OEM) suggestions along with preventative maintenance.

Typically, highly skilled maintenance personnel will be in charge of this second kind of maintenance work. The machinery that will fall under their purview comprises, among other things:

1. Generators

2. Industrial ovens

3. Commercial exhaust hoods

4. Dishwashers

5. Firefighting equipment and systems (manual or automatic)

6. Commercial gas ranges

7. Deep fryers

8. A variety of refrigerators, coolers, and freezers

….and much more.

Types of Maintenance Strategies

To keep a restaurant running well, there are primarily three approaches. Here are the strategies:

Reactive Maintenance

The term "reactive maintenance" describes the practice of returning malfunctioning equipment to operational standards after the fact. 

To prevent things from malfunctioning, or food from going bad, reactive maintenance is necessary in situations like these, when appliances like refrigerators suddenly cease operating. There are a lot of potential complications, such closures, and the costs associated with this form of treatment are often considerable.

To calculate the cost of these shutdowns you need the Avoided Cost formula:

Avoid Cost Formula = Covers Per House x Average Cost Per Plate x Repair Time


  • Eliminates initial costs
  • Requires less planning
  • Decreases staff requirements


  • Incurs high repair expenses
  • Experiences repair delays
  • Raises safety concerns
  • Shortens equipment lifespan

Preventive Maintenance

Regularly scheduled maintenance is an essential component of preventive maintenance, which seeks to proactively minimize unexpected and needless failures. 

Maintaining your refrigerator's condenser coils by inspecting and cleaning them regularly is an example of preventative maintenance. To keep your refrigerator running smoothly and prevent any unforeseen problems, it is recommended to clean the condenser coils regularly.

The preventive maintenance gain formula is as follows:

Preventive Maintenance Gain Formula = Repairs Not Needed Per Year + (Replacements Put Off / Years of Increased Expected Life) + Avoided Cost Per Year


  • Lower costs for emergency repairs
  • Decreased equipment downtime
  • Extended equipment lifespan


  • Higher labor resources and costs
  • Need for maintenance planning
  • Risk of over-maintenance

Predictive Maintenance

The goal of predictive maintenance is to anticipate when your equipment will need repair by using condition monitoring devices and sensors.

A common feature of modern refrigerators is the temperature sensor, which notifies your repair crew the second the temperature drops below or rises over a certain point.


  • Minimizes equipment failure
  • Enhances safety standards
  • Lowers labor requirements


  • High initial investment
  • Limited applicability to specific equipment types

Why is Proper Restaurant Equipment Maintenance Needed?

The success of every restaurant depends on the regular maintenance of its equipment. We'll take a look at a few of the most important reasons why a restaurant equipment maintenance plan is necessary. 

Saves Cost

It is more cost-effective to invest in routine maintenance for expensive restaurant equipment rather than dealing with major repairs after the guarantee has expired. Preventing small problems from becoming serious ones and spending a ton of money on repairs is possible with regular checks. On the other hand, regular maintenance helps cut down on power use and utility costs.  

Prolonged Equipment Lifespan

Kitchen equipment in a busy restaurant will experience normal wear and tear; consequently, it is crucial to maintain the equipment regularly to avoid damage beyond its predicted depreciation. This approach to maintenance helps keep equipment running well for a longer period of time, extending its lifetime.  

Higher Resale Value

Restaurateurs should be aware that kitchen equipment, especially when well-maintained, may fetch a premium price compared to broken or old appliances. This is especially true when it comes time to update. Investing in new machinery might be significantly reduced as a result of this.  

Enhanced Food Quality

What happens to your food depends on how well you take care of your kitchen appliances. In order to keep your business's culinary standards high, it is essential that the kitchen equipment and utensils be well maintained so that chefs may prepare the greatest meals possible.

Increased Operational Efficiency

Your kitchen's operating efficiency is directly correlated to the state of your equipment, which in turn influences the quality of your meals. Old, broken down machinery makes serving customers and preparing meals more of a chore, which in turn reduces productivity and, ultimately, revenue. This is something that restaurants can avoid by making sure their equipment is well-maintained, which will contribute to better overall efficiency.

Reduces Fire Risks

When appliances at a restaurant break down at the worst possible time, it may lead to devastating fires. The likelihood of fires in the kitchen is reduced with regular maintenance of the equipment.

Health And Hygiene

In order to keep up with the high standards of cleanliness and health, it is vital that restaurant equipment be serviced regularly. This process makes sure that the food that consumers eat is safe and follows the standards set by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Restaurant Maintenance Best Practices

Impending problems could have a negative impact on a restaurant's bottom line. Given the many obstacles that restaurants must overcome, it is not surprising that data such as these (from CNBC) show that over 60% of new restaurants fail within the first year and almost 80% close before they reach their fifth anniversary.

Because of the severe decline in foot traffic, several restaurants had to permanently close their doors during the pandemic. This is just one more way restaurants are susceptible to economic disasters. 

Lucky for us, not everything is hopeless. Many restaurants are still profitable. With the right approach, yours can succeed too.

#1) Learn to Manage Planned Downtime

Some of the advantages of restaurant maintenance (such as increased security and happier patrons) have previously been covered.

The reality, however, is that when your restaurant's  equipment needs servicing, you'll need to turn it off. 

In the absence of proper planning, this situation introduces new challenges. 

For example, it is recommended that appliances such as refrigerators and ice makers be left plugged in at all times. However, at regular periods, they will want meticulous cleaning, service, or repair.

The maintenance crew would have to diligently manage the scheduled downtime in such a situation.

To predict the time required to complete maintenance work and the amount of time equipment can "hold on" without failure, it is helpful to understand equipment failure metrics such as MTTR and MTBF.

#2) Focus on Proactive Maintenance

In order to ensure the continued operation of your restaurant for an extended period of time, it is highly recommended that you adopt preventative maintenance practices. Firefighting and suppression equipment, along with other mission-critical assets, can benefit from more sophisticated maintenance techniques, such as predictive maintenance, if the necessary funds are available.

#3) Utilize CMMS

By centralizing and streamlining all of a company's maintenance resources (maintenance plan, labor, spare parts, tools) within a single digital platform, computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) have truly transformed the way physical asset maintenance is managed.

With Xenia, a comprehensive O&M solution, restaurants gain access to maintenance records and a library of hundreds of templates. 

You can also create tasks, create maintenance logs and assign them to your teammates, centralizing the storage of all your inspection-related data, including tasks, assignments, progress, and assets. 

Instead of having to chase down your technicians to find out whether they have finished an inspection, you can monitor their progress in real-time with Xenia.

#4) Establish thorough Training Programs

A well-thought-out restaurant onboarding process can ensure that all employees, from cooks to dishwashers, feel more invested in the tools they use on the job and are more prepared to succeed. 

For instance, your restaurant will reap the long-term benefits, save time and money, and increase overall productivity by allocating time to educating maintenance workers from the very beginning.

Be advised that new hires, particularly those with less experience, have a limited capacity to retain knowledge. 

One possible solution to this problem and the risk of human mistake is to establish maintenance checklists and standard operating procedures (SOPs). This is an excellent method for ensuring uniformity and that all employees are adhering to company policy. 

#5) Choose and Manage Vendors Carefully 

Managing all aspects of maintenance in-house is not viable. In order to handle tasks like supplying replacement components, plumbing, repairing specialist equipment, and electrical works, you will want the assistance of local maintenance professionals. 


Everything You Need To Know About Restaurant Reporting For Streamlining  Business Operations

Hard work and dedication go a long way for maintaining smooth restaurant operations. However, in today's fast-paced world, restaurant maintenance software offer solutions to modern challenges.

Consider Xenia, a robust restaurant operations and monitoring system designed to ensure the seamless upkeep and safety of restaurant equipment.

Schedule a demo to see firsthand how we streamline restaurant maintenance, among plenty of other activities that make up for end to end business scalability & accountability!

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