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Grow your business with Restaurant Customers

Brush up on their challenges and all the ways that you can help.

Serving complex, fast-paced businesses

Restauranteurs pour their passion into creating special places for people to gather and enjoy a good meal. It’s an idea that seems so simple. Yet, below the surface restaurants may be one of the most complicated small business models to manage. As a contractor, you can’t solve it all, but you do offer a range of solutions that contribute to their success. Once you start demonstrating those connections, your expertise can make HVAC equipment and services immediately relevant (and much more interesting) to restaurant owners and managers.

Let’s take a look at some of today’s most pressing restaurant challenges.

The restaurant industry is the nation’s second largest private sector employer.1  Employment and immigration laws affecting restaurant staffing and compensation always seem to be changing. Attracting and retaining employees who are wholly devoted to customer service can make or break a business.

Food safety requires constant diligence. Managers need to know that refrigerators and freezers are maintaining food-safe temperatures all the time to prevent food from going to waste—and landing in landfills. Did you know that the food we waste accounts for 8% of our greenhouse gas emissions?2

That leads us to the growing pressures of running a sustainable restaurant. Operating the business in a way that respects the planet is practically a customer expectation. Along with reducing food waste, things like local sourcing, eco-friendly packaging and energy efficiency combine to create a meaningful sustainability profile.

Restaurants often run on thin financial margins. Many are still recovering from months of lost business during mandatory pandemic shutdowns. That leaves little in the budget to hire outside expertise. Culinary skills may be the soul of the business, but they’ll also need skills in branding, business operations and facility management to thrive.

These are some of the solutions you might keep in mind when working with your restaurant customers.

Leveraging connectivity for profitability
Creating a “smart restaurant” can have different meanings, depending on whether you’re working with a single-location independent restaurant or nationwide franchise. No matter the scope or scale, restaurants of all sizes can use technology to automate comfort and optimize energy efficiency. Thanks to smart thermostats, intuitive controls and user-friendly building automation systems, even non-technical system users can now run buildings (almost) like a pro.

Connectivity has two important benefits: more reliable comfort and greater cost efficiency. Keeping employees and patrons comfortable has always been essential to the hospitality business. Restaurants make money by providing a welcoming and comfortable environment. Now it’s just easier to do. Mobile apps enabling remote monitoring and management provide peace of mind that conditions inside the building are always on-brand. It may even give managers a little more flexibility and peace of mind to step away from the business. Remote monitoring systems can connect to refrigerators and freezers, too. Alarms may be automated to alert when temperatures rise above food safety levels due to a door left open or equipment failure.

Restaurants are extremely energy-intensive. It’s estimated that HVAC accounts for anywhere from 25% to 40% of the overall energy use in a quick-service restaurant.3 Adding a building automation system to implement proper control strategies and scheduling can reduce the amount of energy that’s consumed by up to 40%.4  For budget-stretched businesses, that can be a big bump-up for the bottom line.


The high cost of procrastination

Unplanned system downtime can close a restaurant indefinitely and cost thousands of dollars in lost revenue. You can help customers avoid the high cost of downtime by encouraging them to take a proactive approach to service and maintenance. Regular maintenance can reduce HVAC equipment breakdowns by up to 95%—and keep equipment at peak energy efficiency, too. The simple task of cleaning or replacing filters regularly can reduce the equipment’s energy use by as much as 15%. 5

Long-term business success comes from helping your customers avoid downtime drama. You want to become the partner they trust for future needs. And let’s be honest, which would you rather do: handle maintenance during the work week, or interrupt your family’s Thanksgiving dinner to rescue your customer with a restaurant full of their angry customers?

Connectivity-enabled remote check-ups are a great way to grow your relationship beyond the typical twice-annual maintenance visits. Offering an enhanced connectivity program, in which experts monitor customers’ equipment in real time, can reduce overall maintenance costs for customers by up to 30%.6


Navigating what’s next

Today more than ever, running a restaurant is more complicated than anyone can handle alone. The challenges are constantly changing. Working with our contractor partners, Trane has helped restaurants shut down and restart systems with a new understanding of the importance of proper ventilation strategies. We know how to help offset rising energy costs with more effective control strategies.

Today the focus is on meeting Department of Energy 2023 Efficiency standards, and decarbonization—decreasing or eliminating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that come from a building. We can help buildings decarbonize in two ways:

  1. Improve energy efficiency. Consuming less electricity reduces indirect emissions.
  2. Electrification. The process of switching building energy sources from on-site fossil fuels to electricity reduces direct emissions.

The movement to decarbonization is growing fast. 47 states and 9 provinces in Canada so far have established incentives for using heat pumps in buildings.7 13 states have incentives in place for all-electric heating8 and more than 20 states have enacted mandatory decarbonization efforts for buildings.9

You can count on Trane to help you stay on top of HVAC industry evolutions. We are continuously introducing innovative solutions and revising contractor favorites to meet new industry standards and changing customer preferences.

Cheers to your future.