A failed piece of kit can bring a foodservice business to its knees, and its profits with it.

So when a piece of kitchen equipment goes down or stops working properly, operators understandably want it up and running again as quickly as possible.

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The first-time fix rate of service providers has therefore become an important barometer for end users looking at which partner is best suited to getting them out of any potential spots of bother that might arise.

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In theory, a high stated first-time fix rate (typically around or upwards of 90%) suggests to most operators that a company possesses the necessary experience to identify the issue in the first place, the expertise to know how to correct it and the resources — namely stock to hand — to carry out the surgery.

While the perception of what constitutes a ‘first-time fix’ is generally as it sounds — a service provider fixing the problem on his first visit to a site so that he doesn’t need to return — there are some grey areas that cloud the topic.

“From our experience of the industry, first-time fix means different things to different service providers and is something that varies dramatically depending on the service provider,” said Neill Pearson, service director at Jestic Foodservice Equipment, parent company of Jestic Technical Services, which sets itself a target of a 90% first-time fix result.

“We know of examples of other service providers basing their first-time fix results on their ability to get an appliance up and running again, even if it is only on a temporary basis while they wait for the correct part or component.

“Although this does reduce downtime in the short term, it means further inconvenience for the customer when an engineer is required to revisit a kitchen.