Ben Franklin offered advice that was as sage 250 years ago as it is today; he once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Over the past two decades in the business of coffee, we have come to learn through experience that proper and routine maintenance of our equipment costs us far less in the long-run than waiting to deal with the inevitable catastrophes that come along. A roaster motor, for example, isn’t terribly expensive to replace, but the cost of down-time, overnight shipping for parts, emergency labor, etc. can easily multiply the cost of an integral part many times over.
Similarly, our customers must embrace the idea of routine maintenance in their own businesses. We have seen some extreme cases over the years, for example, one of our customers did not have filters on her espresso machine and was duly surprised at the cost of replacing most of the internal components in her espresso machine after a water main break allowed clay to make its way inside her appliance. Instead of just $150 for a filter, she ended up paying $1500 for a complete overhaul of the espresso machine. In this case, the disaster was swift and completely unforeseeable. In a more recent incident, a customer with a brand new, high-end machine ignored a small leak that appeared. Over time, the leak became more severe, and instead of calling in a technician, the leaking water was simply wiped up until eventually an electrical short fried the group head components, and caused damage to additional components nearby. The resulting damage caused well over $1000 repair costs because a service technician wasn’t called out to check the leak and tighten a fitting.
In your business, you certainly have plenty to juggle from the day-to-day fires that must be put out, to looking ahead and making sure you have enough supplies to get you through the weekend. You are bombarded with questions and requests, all while trying to find a way to take your business to the next level. Do yourself a favor and contact your local service provider about setting up routine maintenance for your coffee and espresso equipment as well as your water filtration, refrigeration, HVAC and any other systems susceptible to breakdowns. Then the next time you see your service technician, you can feel relieved that problems are being avoided rather than remedied. You can also budget for these visits to help with your cash flow and use the additional funds for promoting your store.
5 Tips on How to Manage Café Maintenance
1. Take inventory of all systems susceptible to breakdowns.
2. Ask your service providers if they offer scheduled service plans to take away the headache of remembering.
3. Create a log for maintenance to maintain maintenance records for all machines.
4. Learn the basic cleaning and maintenance that should be done to each machine.
5. Coach your staff on spotting symptoms of trouble.