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Tips, tricks and essentials for restaurant and foodservice equipment in one place.

What is Preventative Maintenance & Why Is It Important?


Preventative maintenance tasks are conducted as a form of planned maintenance, which is maintenance activity that is planned, documented and scheduled.

There are two main types of planned maintenance.

  1. Planned preventative maintenance, which is scheduled maintenance aimed at making repairs BEFORE failure occurs. Tasks like cleaning equipment or replacing air/water filters represent a form of routine preventative maintenance because there is a set cadence that occurs regularly regardless of how the equipment is running. Here, you're preventing it from breaking down or running inefficiently.
  2. Planned unscheduled maintenance, which is having a strategy in place to repair or replace an asset as quickly as possible when it fails. Replacing and/or repairing gaskets or a compressor can be considered unscheduled because it usually occurs on an as-needed basis whenever wear is present or the unit breaks down. This situation can also incorporate a planning element by either having real OEM replacement parts on hand or budgeting for the cost of repairing/replacing a failed part.

In a nutshell, planned maintenance is an operational strategy for conducting both preventative and unscheduled maintenance tasks.

Why Is Preventative Maintenance Critical To Your Bottom Line?

According to an independent research study conducted with restaurants and institutions on the impacts of unplanned equipment downtime, one in four respondents did not feel PM is necessary or that it is too costly. These respondents were also unsure about frequency and timing.

The facts are that Original Equipment Manufacturers recommend regular preventative maintenance for their equipment and most often include PM instruction in their operating manuals. Failure to do regular maintenance can lead to unexpected downtime and costly, unnecessary repairs.

For instance, not surprisingly fryers are one of the top three most critical pieces of equipment in a chain restaurant. Here are some stats from the research study.

  • 52% said fryers need repair at LEAST once per year
  • 47% said nearly half of these fryers are down at least ONE DAY
  • 16% reported 10+ repairs annually
  • The average daily cost of downtime for a fryer is $605

So, if you have 4 fryers in one location and all of them need to be repaired just one time per year with each down for only 1 day, you’re looking at an average cost of $2,420 annually. And that doesn’t include the impacts unexpected downtime could have on areas like customer satisfaction and productivity. These impacts (both monetary and non-monetary) are only compounded when you have additional locations, units (in this case fryers) and number of days of unplanned downtime.

By having a plan in place for these fryers (and really all of your critical equipment) on a weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual preventative maintenance, these impacts can be significantly reduced.

As noted above, this plan will include not only scheduled maintenance activity like cleaning and changing filters but also unscheduled maintenance to ensure you have the genuine OEM parts on-hand to handle unexpected downtime swiftly and efficiently.

Check out our recent Planned Maintenance article below to find more specific recommended activities you can implement in your planned and unplanned maintenance strategy. Or consider signing up for planned maintenance packages with your authorized service agent, so all major preventative tasks and checkups on crucial parts are conducted regularly to avoid unnecessary downtime.

Note that you can find most OEM equipment manuals along with many interactive Smart Manuals on