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86 Repairs – A Subscription Service That Manages The Repair Process For Restaurant Groups, From Start To Finish

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Below is our recent interview with Daniel Estrada, Co-Founder and CEO of 86 repairs:

Q: Daniel, can you tell us something more about the company and what you do?

A: 86 Repairs is a subscription service that manages the repair process for restaurant groups, from start to finish.

In other words, we take all of the tasks associated with coordinating repairs and maintenance – troubleshooting issues, figuring out if a service visit is necessary, working with vendors, identifying and analyzing what service providers bill our customers for – off the operator’s plate, so they can focus on more important things.

Q: What is the story behind 86 Repairs? How did you start?

A: 86 Repairs was the result of a decade’s worth of firsthand experience in the food equipment industry combined with an entrepreneurial spirit and the desire to massively shake up a business that was begging for innovation.

Joe Gallagher, my co-founder, worked for a manufacturer that makes bread slicers and bagel slicers for companies like Panera, Einstein Bagels, and many national grocery retailers.

One aspect of their business involved sending service companies out into the field to fix equipment that was under warranty. Overall, it was a pretty terrible process for everyone involved. No one was happy, and to Joe it seemed the current system was broken.

Joe’s thought was, “If this is such a big pain for a company that has national buying power and national relationships with service companies, it must be that much worse for individual restaurant operators to manage repairs.”

We spent four months meeting with restaurant operators, conducting in-depth observational research, talking with service companies, and generally figuring out what kind of value we could bring to the market.

We launched 86 Repairs in June 2018 with the current subscription business model.

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Q: So, how exactly does it work? What’s covered?

A: 86 Repairs is a comprehensive service offering. From start to finish, we manage the entire equipment repair process to take the pressure of repairs and maintenance off of our customers’ shoulders.

I’ll walk you through the step-by step.

When there’s an issue in one of our customers’ restaurants, any member of the staff can text, call, or email us. We manage everything from there.

We manage every type of equipment repair across six main categories: all food and beverage equipment in a restaurant, hot side and cold side equipment, plumbing, electrical, fire suppressions systems, HVAC systems – anything you need to keep the back-of-house and front-of-house operation running.

The first thing we do is troubleshoot the issue with a staff member to try to avoid a service visit. We walk through the simple things like checking circuit breakers, outlets, filters, defrost cycles, etc. — the easy stuff that staff may not think to check, especially when the restaurant is slammed.

If we’re not able to fix the problem directly with the customer, then we dispatch their preferred vendor or someone from our vetted network. We manage all the communication with the service provider and make sure the job gets done right.

The thing that makes the process seamless is our sophisticated software platform behind the scenes. We use this system to keep track of every repair, every serial number, every warranty on every piece of equipment in our customers’ restaurants. When a member of the staff contacts us with an issue, we have all that information on hand.

Having this data accurate and readily accessible saves our customers a ton of time because their staff doesn’t have to manage the whole repair process. It also saves them a lot of money by avoiding unnecessary service visits, comparing vendors, and getting repairs covered under warranty.

Q: Does 86 Repairs partner with service companies? How does your business model work?

A: We don’t make any money from service companies. We don’t mark up service company invoices, and we don’t get referral fees of any kind. We charge a flat monthly subscription fee to our customers to manage repairs for them end-to-end. They can call us once or a hundred times — it’s the same low monthly cost.

We priced our service this way because we want our incentives to align with our customers. Our only goal is to keep their costs down and keep their equipment running. We should be recommending the best service companies for the job, not the one that pays us the most.

I would advise any restaurant operator — especially large franchisees or franchisors who are looking into software to manage R&M on their own — to ask how these companies are making money. If they’re marking up invoices, they’re probably not incentivized to help you keep your costs down. Our business model is unique in the industry, and we’re proud to be on the side of operators!

Q: What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your business and how did you overcome it?

A: Restaurant operators have been sold a lot of snake oil in the past. They get solicited for software, for services, for all kinds of products that don’t deliver on the promises they’re making.

The biggest challenge for us is getting over that hurdle and getting restaurant groups to trust in our mission enough to try our service. Once they try us, they stay. That tells me that we’re delivering a lot of value.

There’s really no risk in trying us. There’s no big software implementation or training required. It’s not like you have to rip out equipment or overhaul an existing process to work with us. There isn’t any new software for staff to learn, no apps to download, no passwords to remember. Just text, call, or e-mail us, and we do all the rest.

We overcome the challenge of trying us by making the process super simple.

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Q: What are the company’s plans and goals for the future?

A: Our main goal is to continue expanding our offering into new markets.

We’re already operating across the country, from Los Angeles to Long Island, down into Florida. We want to keep expanding and growing in some of our bigger markets.

Our second goal is focused on technology.

Behind the scenes, we are using a lot of advanced technology, including machine learning, to deliver better insights to customers. We can look at what the average spend is across all our customers, and we can give an individual customer actionable insights on their business. If your plumbing spend is higher than the average customer, we can help you figure out why.

We have all this data, but we don’t rely on our customers to dig through dashboards and spreadsheets to make it actionable. We proactively provide insights to customers to save them time and money.

The more data we have, the better our insights become. We’re making investments in technology to provide insights that have never existed in the restaurant industry before.

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