Wholesale and retail bakers, bakery cafes and foodservice providers in malls usuall experience spikes in their businesses leading up to certain holidays throughout the year, and the periods leading up to Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve are the years’ biggest all packed in tightly together.
We at Cobblestone Ovens, Inc. always experience a sharp increase in planned maintenance for wholesale and retail bakeries prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. We typically experience a sharp increase in planned maintenance for foodservice providers and bakery cafes leading up to Hanukkah and Christmas.
And in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, our reactive service is also at its peak for the clients that weren’t proactive prior to this busy season. As contractors, we all know that for our clients, any downtime translates to lost revenue. These types of losses tend to be exponentially worse during this time of the season for us.
During the holiday period, many manufacturers will have key people on vacation. Some manufacturers even close their factories down during the week between Christmas and New Years Eve. As a result, getting access to critical parts may be more difficult than usual or downright impossible. It’s important for us to make sure our parts orders are in before that shutdown and that we bulk up on critical parts for our clients.
We have some proactive customers that religiously call us well in advance to schedule planned maintenance. They also proceed with any recommended repairs we have suggested to them. Others, we have found, need a little prodding and reminding of painful past experiences. For those who choose not to proactively maintain their equipment prior to the holiday rush, we try to get to address their needs as quickly as possible but many times, we are unable to help due to circumstances beyond our control.
I’m sure many other service businesses deal with similar scenarios, such as refrigeration companies when summertime hits hard. What’s important here is to understand your customers’ needs before they do and offer solutions for them to deal with these high volume or high impact times. Deliver great scheduled maintenance, identify problem areas in their operations and the solution that can help, and be responsive when they have reactive service needs.
When you’re able to become more than just a service company but a true partner in their operations, you’ll make lifelong customers and true friends of the trade.