Hood Boss has put together this introduction to your Kitchen Exhaust System. This video walks you through the different components that make up your Kitchen Exhaust System. It also walks you through the cleaning process and maintenance involved between services. As a courtesy we have thrown in a few trouble shooting tips for your exhaust fan if it stops working. We feel its important to educate yourself and your staff on how you vent hood works, how to trouble shoot issues with your system, and what to maintain between services. Please don’t hesitate to call us with any questions or concerns. Hood Boss would be happy to help provide information and/or give an in person orientation to your staff. Follow this link to learn more.
In this article by Robert Fiorito, he discusses the importance of day to day awareness in the kitchen. During daily operations, the threat of fire can be a fleeting thought when the restaurant is slammed busy or even in the slower down times. These lapses in awareness allow for the possibility of kitchen fires. Minimizing these lapses comes down to proper training, preventative maintenance, and proper inspection/cleaning schedules. All kitchen fires can be prevented with the proper systems in place. Follow this link to learn more.
This time of year, a lot of us are evaluating our service contracts with our current vendors. Whether its perishables, dry goods, or R&M, we all have criteria that are important to us. Most of our decisions to stay with our current provider, or go with a new vendor, are based mainly on the level of customer service, the quality of the product, and price. The best decisions are made when you trust that the vendor you have chosen is able to deliver on all three characteristics. I am assuming the customer in the example above got a smokin’ deal on his tattoo; I’m not too sure he’ll be happy with the quality.
Here are a few suggestions in determining the value of service providers:
Understand the market.
There are always numerous companies out there that provide similar services. In such, the price of the service is driven a lot by what your competitor is willing to do it for. Do some research. What you will find is that there has been a market value set for the product or service. Get a few bids from different companies. Understand why one company’s price may be higher than another. Understand how it is that another company can offer a much lower price.
If a company is promising the moon, make sure they can deliver. Who better to ask than some current customers of this company? If what they are saying is true, there should be no hesitation in them providing the name and phone number of one, or several, of their current satisfied customers. Next, give them a call. It’s not a job application where they are limited on the response they can give; they can be a candid as they want. Tell them what the vendor is promising and ask them if they deliver. Ask them how long they have been with the vendor. Be blunt and ask if you would be happy in choosing them as a vendor. Their response will tell you everything you will need to know.
I can speak directly for the kitchen exhaust cleaning industry. We have to carry and maintain a high level of liability insurance for property damage and workers compensation. In such, this carries a considerable amount of overhead. Make sure your provider carries sufficient insurance for your individual needs. We also make sure our technicians pass a background check and are drug screened. Make sure the service provider you choose understands the codes that dictate their industry. You want to feel comfortable in your decision and the vendor you choose has the knowledge and know how to get the job done right.
I’m not sure who to feel worse for, the guy getting the tattoo, or the tattoo artist himself. I hope the artist has a good place to hide after this guy finds a mirror. Bottom line is, always be warry of the lowest price bid. Arm yourself with as much information as you can to make an informed decision. Once you have decided what characteristics are important to you and you have found a vendor that can deliver on your needs, rest assured that you have found the best value.
Nurturing good relationships in business is a lot like doing the same in our personal lives. Just like in our personal lives, a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to any type of relationship usually won’t work. A vendor relationship is perhaps one of your most important in business. It’s easy to fall into the, “I’m a customer, and they must do whatever I want” line of thinking. At the same time, there is a reciprocal need on the part of the customers to try to keep the relationship happy. Here are a few things you can do to help maintain the best relationship possible with your vendors.
Learn the Marketplace
When dealing with a vendor, it’s important to know what the marketplace for their services or goods is like. Not that you should be hanging it over their head if you have options, but it is good to know what the norm is and whether you really have any choices at all. For example, if your vendor has a one-day response time but other vendors have four-hour response times, you can use that as leverage for quicker service. In other cases, you may learn that your vendor is the only one you can get the services from at all, so it is in your best interests to play nicely with them.
Know Their Responsibilities and Scope of Service
One of the keys to having a good relationship with a vendor is to know what they must do — and to not expect them to do anything more. Your contract should lay that all out very clearly. If it does not, you need to find out quickly and get the contract clarified. You’ll see a lot of items in this list that boil down to the same fundamental issue: a mismatch of expectations. The contract is the only thing you can count on when the going gets tough, so make sure that your expectations are aligned to it.
Understand that they have other customers
All too often, customers act as if they own a vendor or that they are the vendor’s only customer. Sometimes, the person you want to work with is helping another customer and you need to deal with someone else. Unless you have a contract for long-term, continued work, you can’t expect to shoot an email out with a request and have them start servicing it within minutes of receipt, and so on.
Learn what they need from you
Customers often just want to just wash their hands of a problem and let the vendor take over, but that’s not realistic. Just as a doctor can’t make you better if you refuse to take medicine and get lots of sleep, the vendor usually needs you to do some of the lifting too. Throughout the course of the work, make sure that you know exactly what you can do to let the vendor do their job and try your best to give it to them.
Separate the people from the company
Many times, a vendor’s employees are handcuffed by processes, and it is easy for customers to get angry at the person for not doing what they want. When your needs are not being met, ask the person whether it is the process that is saying “no” or the person making a decision.
Pay them on time
If you want a vendor’s support for you to vanish, try not paying your bill. For whatever reason, some customers feel that not paying their bill in a timely fashion is acceptable. Every now and then, a customer will use non-payment as a sign of displeasure, such as leaving a bad tip at a restaurant.
On occasion, the problem is simply that the vendor and the customer have a different idea of when a bill should be paid. Sometimes, the customer has an accounting policy such as “Net 60” and doesn’t mention that to the vendor during the contract negotiations. As a result, the vendor is surprised when it takes a few months to receive a payment. During your contract discussions, make sure that their expectations of “on time” payment and yours are in alignment.
Meet them halfway
A customer/vendor relationship is ideally a partnership. The vendor is going to have their own way of doing things, and it will be different from yours. Just like you expect them to adapt to your company’s policies, you should be willing to make exceptions for them as well.
Make your expectations known early
The earlier you make your expectations clear to the vendor, the sooner you will find out if and how they can be met. The best time, of course, is during the initial discussions — and to have those expectations baked into your contract. There are lots of things that get omitted from contracts. By talking to the vendor, you can find out what is and is not possible. Without that discussion, you will simply be disappointed and upset.
Remember: They’re human too!
A vendor’s people make mistakes, just like you do. Sometimes, vendors truly are deserving of your anger, but often, the mistakes are the kinds of everyday goofs that we’d do ourselves such as things your own employees might do. There’s no need to get bent out of shape over a simple error.
There are three keys to a great vendor relationship: trust between the vendor and client is the foundation of all vendor relationships; honesty is required on both sides so tough questions receive the right answers (even if they are not the answers that were hoped for); and responsiveness to each other’s issues and concerns is critical. The tips in this article will help you build these satisfying long term relationships and make a big difference in the results you achieve with your vendors.
Regular maintenance and cleaning of your Kitchen Exhaust System is one of the most important services provided for your facility, and it is often the most overlooked as well. Maintaining your exhaust system not only prolongs the life of your system, but more importantly it ensures that your facility is safe from potential fire. When selecting a provider, there are a few important elements to consider.
- Insurance Coverage – (Liability and Workman’s Comp Insurance)
Any reputable provider will carry between 1 and 5 million dollars in liability insurance. Insurance coverage is one of the first questions that should be asked when selecting a provider. Once your provider has completed service they are required by NFPA 96 code, they must mark the system with a certificate (usually a sticker) stating the date the system was cleaned. This certificate holds the company liable if the system does in fact catch fire. This also covers any of your equipment and your system in the event that any damage occurs during regular services. The amount of insurance that the provider carries is very important when a claim is filed for damages caused by poor work. The workman’s comp portion of the insurance is to cover the provider’s technicians if they are injured while working on your premises.
- Documentation Practices
As referenced above, all work must be documented and certified by the provider. Local fire departments, health departments, and insurance companies require documentation that regular maintenance is occurring in order for your facility to operate. Besides the sticker, most companies will leave you with an invoice or form stating what work was performed. This should be provided to you anytime you request it. There are a few companies that will also offer photo documentation of the service showing before and after pictures. Most often this is upon request only, but the more reputable companies include it as part of the service they are providing for you.
- Company Size
The Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning industry is a very competitive sector of facility maintenance. Providers range in size from smaller local operations, mid-level regional operations, and nationwide operations.
Nationwide operations have large client lists and cover huge areas of the country. A good question to ask them is if they are a “self-performing company.” Meaning that all work is completed by their technicians and they do not sub-contract out their work. Sub-contracting work could lead to inconsistencies in the work provided. These companies usually perform above standard work, but will have higher rates than local and regional companies. Nationwide operations are slow to respond to emergency situations and lack the personal element involved in customer service.
Mid-level operations have a smaller client base and limit their coverage area to a more manageable range. The work provided is comparable to nationwide companies and they have competitive rates for service. Limiting the coverage area allows them to respond to clients in a timely fashion and allows for a more personal relationship. Companies of the mid-level category will often times overshadow larger and smaller companies because of customer relations, response times, and organization.
Small operations will have a small client list of happy and loyal customers. Their coverage area may be limited to a large city and a few outlying areas. Their customer relations are great, due to the fact that the owners of the company are performing or managing the cleanings themselves. They can also provide adequate service and usually have very competitive rates. These companies will have limited man power, which can lead to slow response times and disorganization. Companies on this level are known to fall behind on cleaning frequency, putting clients at risk of fire.
Any reputable provider will be able to provide you with adequate service. A good reputation is usually the deciding factor for most when ultimately deciding on a provider. Positive word of mouth feedback and a reputable client list are usually good indicators whether or not a provider will be able to meet your expectations.
These are just a few of the important elements to consider when selecting your provider. Always acquire multiple bids to ensure the market value of your service is accurate. Remember to take in to account the long term relationship you are creating, just like you would with any other vendor. With these elements in mind and a little research, choosing a provider will be an easier decision.