Peter Tsanacas Facility Maintenance quote

It’s another thing for restaurant operators to worry about: all the costs of doing business, including food, rent, labor and energy are increasing, according to the National Restaurant Association’s 2024 State of the Restaurant Industry survey, released in February.

It’s bad news for any business operating on razor-thin margins. Restaurant operators complain that they have little control over food and rent costs, while the need to remain competitive often blocks operators from making cuts in staffing and food.

The situation forces restaurant owners, and other businesses such as retail, to seek creative solutions. One option is to slash costs for utilities and maintenance, says Peter Tsanacas, vice president of service for Colt Facility Maintenance.

The Dallas-headquartered Colt has been advising their clients, which range from large restaurant chains to leading pharmacy clients, that a program of preventive maintenance could cut facility costs by up to 30 percent.

Cutting Costs with Preventative Maintenance and Troubleshooting

“We say we’re the facility care experts,” Tsanacas explains. “Care isn’t just getting rid of existing issues and fixing noticeable leaks. It’s also cutting down on costs. We do a lot of troubleshooting work.” Tsanacas and his colleagues perform electrical auditing to diagnose if there is any waste with a facility’s electrical system and cut down on utility costs by pinpointing leaks before they spread.

Troubleshooting on a granular level can result in sizable cost cuts, he explains. For example, many of the locations for fast-casual restaurants work with hard water, which contains harsh minerals and wears down commercial machines, like icemakers. Technicians put a water conditioner on the plumbing lines, which Tsanacas says prolongs the lifespan of the icemakers and other equipment. A longer equipment lifespan provides a larger return on investment, says Tsanacas.

Plumbing and HVAC Maintenance

Managing costs with preventative maintenance also can pay off when service is needed. Tsanacas says restaurants that develop strong relationships with maintenance companies typically benefit from prompt response times during service calls. Restaurants especially need prompt response times for service needs to avoid customer dissatisfaction.

A significant part of Colt’s program is relationship building, which relies on the company’s development of a network of trained plumbers and technicians, Tsanacas says. He describes it as self-performance, or doing jobs in-house.

“As part of our technician training, new hires must ride along with our experienced field supervisors, project managers and technicians. We’re not just throwing anyone into a van. These are skilled technicians that you are receiving, not somebody that’s a handyman with no experience,” he says.

Tsanacas also noted that costs rise when work is outsourced to a third party. “When you can cut out the middleman and the extra hands that are involved, you get a better price,” he says.

Colt’s network reaches across the southern half of the United States. They also employ managers who train plumbers and technicians to execute high levels of service. The company is actively growing in its respective home territories of Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Arizona and is seeking to expand its services across the United States.

“When we do find that we have to use a service partner, we will look at that market and say, ‘How can we get some additional customers here, so we’ll be able to put our own technician there and we don’t have to outsource in the future,’” Tsanacas says.

Disaster Response

Technicians working for Colt are increasingly called to respond to emergencies and disasters, where they serve the community under critical, time-sensitive conditions.

In October 2023, heavy rains destroyed the roof of a retail pharmacy location in Dallas. Colt was dispatched to repair the site’s roof and clean up the store so it could get back to business, Tsanacas says.

“It was kind of an all-hands-on-deck situation. So, we brought in as many technicians as possible,” he says of securing the roof with tarping. “Then we started with removing damaged product, damaged kiosks and getting the site to a safe condition, where the store was able to reopen on a temporary basis,” he says.

Maintaining Commitments

Tsanacas says that his business’s most important achievement is maintaining its commitment to service and self-performance. “The product is a job well done. It’s in all facets; correspondence, prompt response, as well as kind and courteous technicians. Colt is driven by a one-time fix mentality to be a leader in the facilities maintenance sector. This helps keep our customer’s facility maintenance costs on track and under budget.”

— By Andrew Asch. Colt Facility Maintenance is a content partner of Retail & Restaurant Facility Business. For more articles from and news about Colt Facility Maintenance, click here.

You may also like