The pandemic accelerated a pivot toward modern technology solutions throughout the restaurant industry, and many brands have since seen how much efficiency those solutions can bring to their operations. One aspect of the industry that is being revolutionized is repairs and maintenance, which have always taken up large amounts of management’s time and attention. And when equipment and assets are mismanaged, it can prove costly.
Del Taco, the nation’s second largest Mexican quick-service brand with around 600 restaurants, was recently aiming to reimagine its repairs and maintenance strategy, with a specific focus on efficiency and cost optimization. The brand evaluated various tech platforms to help achieve their goals and partnered with Ecotrak, an enterprise software startup founded by former restaurant operators and executives.
“Not only did Ecotrak have software that offered the best blend of functionality and vendor integration, but we also appreciated that their leadership came from a restaurant background,” says Chad Gretzema, Chief Operating Officer of Del Taco. “We speak the same language. They understand the challenges operators face on a daily basis, and they know how pivotal it is to get equipment rapidly repaired to avoid business interruptions.”
When it comes to managing facilities, Ecotrak has a best-in-class facility management system that helps brands track equipment, service providers, and how much they are spending, offering brands like Del Taco actionable insights into potential cost-saving measures.
One of the key features that separates Ecotrak from its competitors is an asset lifecycle management tool. Here’s how it works: the software keeps an inventory of assets within each storefront across a brand’s footprint, and all of the warranty and life cycle information is included. If equipment breaks, shuts down, or is generally acting up, the system initiates an automated dialogue with in-store management to quickly troubleshoot. The operator might enter into the software something like “no power,” which would set off a number of questions about which steps should be taken to try and rectify the problem. If Ecotrak eventually determines that outside help is needed, the system intuitively sends a service request to the correct service provider to perform the work.
Ecotrak automates the invoicing process by allowing invoices to flow through the application and integrates directly with accounting software.
“We have relationships with both our operator clients and a robust network of nationwide vendor partners,” says Ecotrak CEO Matt Singer. “Our vendors are trained as to how to use our software and that means they are arriving at the restaurant knowing exactly what’s wrong and what they’ll need to fix it. That knowledge is another way the process is streamlined.”
Because of the amount of information being accrued during each interaction with a brand’s equipment, Ecotrak helps operators make data-driven decisions. For example, one of the key features that C-suite executives like Gretzema enjoy most about Ecotrak is the Decision Making Tool (DMT) that helps determine which devices might need to be replaced. Meaning, if a deep fryer has needed maintenance several times in a short time period, the software might calculate that it would be more cost effective to invest in a new deep fryer altogether.
“Ecotrak has really helped us become more cost efficient when it comes to repairs and maintenance,” Gretzema says. “It’s helped us prioritize our resources by handling the smaller repairs through an efficient workflow so that our team can focus their time on bigger picture or larger scale upgrades.”
But most of all, executives like Gretzema love Ecotrak because it’s an intuitive system that is easy to train management to use, and restaurant managers love using it because it saves them time and headaches. That’s something that Singer says he is most proud of. Having come from a restaurant background, he understands that a restaurant manager may not know who to call when equipment breaks down.
“We have a different philosophy than other work order management systems,” Singer says. “If I’m an operator I need to be able to navigate the mobile app, easily input my problem, and then know that it’s either going to tell me what to do or it’s going to contact someone who knows how to fix it. That gives the operator some predictability as they go about their day to day.”
For more information on how to save time and money on repairs and maintenance, visit the Ecotrak website.