Welcome to the New Key Food Equipment Website

Welcome to the New Key Food Equipment Website

It’s my pleasure to introduce the new Key Food Equipment website.
We’ve updated many sections and look forward to bringing more functionality in the near future.
Key Food Equipment remains a local service company in 7 western markets.
Our partnership with RG Henderson and CKS Choquette under the “Heritage Service” Banner allows the leveraging of 3 strong regional service companies to bring national service capabilities.
This is an exciting new era for Key and the Heritage Food Service Group.

Ken Beasley
Key Food Equipment Services Ltd.

I am Canadian

I am Canadian

When asked for a “30 second elevator pitch” on why I should be elected to the CFESA board I responded (partially) with “to bring a Canadian perspective to CFESA”. In one sentence – elect me because I’m Canadian. Not a strong reason on its own. However, there are enough differences between Canada and the U.S. that create the need for distinctive business models in each country. Understanding these reasons for differences and learning from both business models may be helpful in growing our service industry. First the facts:

  • Canada has the population of California spread over a land mass slightly larger than the U.S.
  • Canadians spend 30% of their food dollars in restaurants verses 50% in the US.
  • Canada exports 400 Billion to the US annually (75%) of total trade. While 67% of our imports come from the US.
  • As of today the Canadian dollar is 78% lower than the U.S. dollar. We spend $1.28 Canadian to purchase 1 U.S. dollar.

The impact:

The spread of population means more service work is done through subagents. For example, Key works with 42 subagents to provide service in small towns over 4 provinces. Travel time is longer due to the distance between service centers and smaller towns. Parts travel time and expense are also impacted by distance and lack of scale.

When comparing with U.S., the lesser restaurant spend by Canadian consumers is reflected in fewer restaurant brands (chains). Lower growth opportunity on the one hand. Stronger concentration of chains on the other yields high 1st time fix rates.
Most manufacturers and, thus our parts vendors, are in the U.S. and sell in U.S. dollars. We must contend with exchange rates, higher shipping costs and brokerage fees to get those parts into the Canadian space. Air orders can be held at customs. We pay higher shipping rates for parts returns.

All Canadian provinces require technical training and certification to work on commercial gas and refrigeration equipment. Canadian techs are well trained and enter the market at a higher rate of pay. The need for certification lowers the number of DIY customers, therefore more work is done by trained servicers. This is good for our service divisions but provides fewer opportunities for our parts business. The outcome is a closer relationship between parts and service.

There are many ways we are similar. Similarities strengthen our (CFESA) collective voice. To strengthen our North American credibility the Canadian contingent needs to bring the Canadian perspective to each committee at conference. In short, we need to speak up. And you, our not so shy neighbours to the south (not mentioning any names, Joe Birchhill), need to encourage us to do so.

Let me conclude with a popular Molson’s Canadian ad – spoken by a Canadian:

“I’m not a lumberjack or a fur trader. I don’t live in an igloo or eat blubber or own a dog sled. And I don’t know Jimmy, Sally or Suzy from Canada, although I’m certain they’re really, really nice. I have a Prime Minister, not a President. I speak English and French, not American. And I pronounce it about, not aboot. I can proudly sew my country’s flag on my backpack. I believe in peacekeeping, not policing. Diversity, not assimilation. And that the beaver is a truly proud and noble animal. A toque is a hat, a chesterfield is a couch. And it is pronounced zed, not zee. Canada is the second largest landmass, the first nation of hockey and the best part of North America. My name is Joe, and I am Canadian!”

Ken Beasley
“I am Canadian” and President, Key Food Equipment Services Ltd.

Repair or Replace: What to Consider in Kitchen Equipment

Repair or Replace: What to Consider in Kitchen Equipment

Published on Tuesday, 01 September 2015
Written by Toby Weber, Contributing Editor

Let’s face it: Operators’ number one goal is getting quality food out to customers in a timely manner. Overseeing kitchen equipment repair is closer to a necessary evil. But unless they’re fine with spending good money on a soon-to-be-dead unit, operators need to do their homework when it comes time to make a repair/replace decision.
Ken Beasley has made plenty of these decisions in his day. He spent 26 years on the operator side, including time as director of operations for a large casual dining chain. For the past 11 years, he’s served as president of Key Food Equipment Services, a service agency based in British Columbia and serving the western half of Canada. According to Beasley, when making these repair/replace calls, operators need to balance the cost of repair, the cost of the replacement and how much life a malfunctioning unit, if repaired, has left.
The first is easy to figure out: have your service agency come out to look at the piece and give an estimate. Knowing the useful service life and even the cost of replacement is a little harder, though.
To estimate the piece’s useful service life, start by asking the manufacturer and/or your dealer. Both should know roughly how long one of their pieces should last. Some manufacturers, Beasley noted, may be hesitant to give an answer. The service life of any piece of equipment depends on factors like volume and operating hours. Since manufacturers don’t know the specifics of an operation, they may avoid answering in fear of setting expectations that won’t be met. This is where a dealer can be called on. “A dealer is probably going to have a bit more insight because they’re familiar with your operation. They’ve had a look at what you do and they know your hours,” said Beasley.
The repair field techs themselves can also be a big help, he noted. Go ahead and ask the tech what they think of the broken piece. Is it in good shape overall? How much longer until it will need to be replaced? Is it worth repairing?
Having an established relationship with the service agency also helps. For its regular customers — especially those on a planned maintenance contract — a good service agency will have a record of every repair it’s performed on a piece of equipment going back several years. That information can eliminate some of the guesswork about a piece’s overall condition.
Figuring out the cost of replacing a piece of kitchen equipment can also be complex. There’s more to it than negotiating a price with your dealer. Operators should also factor in the “re-re” — remove and replace, said Beasely. That includes the cost of having the old unit unhooked from utilities and hauled away, and the new unit brought in, hooked up and calibrated. This can easily add several hundred dollars to the cost of a replacement, Beasly said, and should factor into the operator’s decision.
Of course, getting a new piece isn’t solely a financial drain. There can also be benefits to one of these investments, Beasley noted. A new unit will be under warranty; eliminating the cost of repairs for at least one year can be a big savings, especially when compared to the potential costs tied to keeping an older, dying unit running. What’s more, advances in kitchen equipment technology have made many pieces of equipment more affordable to operate, especially in the area of utilities.
“You could almost talk about any piece of equipment this way. There’s been an improvement in technology in the last 10 to 15 years, particularly with gas usage, electrical usage and water usage, which effects drainage,” said Beasley. In addition, many utilities offer rebates to operators who replace a low efficiency unit with a high efficiency one; dealers should know about these rebates. (For more information on rebates, see this month’s Green Tip on page 86.) Any potential utility savings and subsidies should be factored into an operator’s decision.
While this may seem like a lot to consider, it really is in the best interest of an operation in the long run, Beasley added. An operator who’s not on top of a malfunctioning piece’s history and the full costs and benefits of a replacement will literally end up paying for it.