Equipment repair firms are forced to provide emergency maintenance “far too often” due to operators lacking suitable preventative maintenance strategies, according to the boss of one of the UK’s leading services specialists.
Steve Elliott, managing director of Stevenage-based Serviceline, insists one of the biggest challenges facing the industry is convincing end-users to take a proactive rather than reactive approach to safeguarding their equipment.
“I guess the customers have obligations for their equipment that they still don’t fully understand and don’t put enough money into protecting, so while the market for preventative maintenance is growing, there are still far too many national and large users who do no preventative maintenance at all,” he told Catering Insight.
Elliott continued: “That is not good because they are not getting the best of their equipment and they are too reliant on the emergency service. We still have to operate at the emergency end of the market far too often. I doubt if there is a car driver in the country who doesn’t have his car serviced sometimes, but there are lots that don’t have their catering equipment serviced!”
Serviceline provides local cover to operators from a range of different sectors and claims to be one of the only services firms to offer nationwide support for both commercial catering and refrigeration equipment.
Despite his assessment of the operator landscape, Elliott admits Serviceline is seeing an “increasing growth” in companies outsourcing the maintenance of their catering equipment to a third party in order to extend its use.
“These days I think people are much more conscious of the need to look after the equipment properly in the long term. And that is not just servicing and maintenance, it is how they clean it, how they operate it, how they use the right utilities, the right detergent— basically all the things that go into a piece of equipment,” he said.