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Benchmarking QSR Refrigeration Costs

Modified on

January 31, 2024

Keep your budget cool

Refrigeration units are a cornerstone of a QSR business, which means if something goes wrong you will start leaking revenue. Refrigeration units can’t take a day off. If they stop working it can have ripple effects through your products, your team, and of course, your bottom line. It’s like romance: you want to find a partner that’s very chill, and low maintenance. Or it’ll cost you! XtraChef calculates that if your business does $10k a day, a refrigerator compressor breaking down could cost you around $4k!  

But what many managers don’t understand is where their costs fall in relation to their industry peers. Are you spending more on repairs? Are your repairs more frequent? How many of them are emergency repairs? And what can you do about it? Well, we are here to help.

Key variables in your refrigeration spend 

What you spend on refrigeration will depend on how much product you’re keeping cool, and how reliable you need your system to be. In other words: spending on refrigeration is driven by the quantity and condition of coolers and freezers at a location, plus planned investments in capital upgrades and maintenance. This refrigeration cost can be significant—spending over $4,000 per location per year is common.  

And it’s getting higher. From 2019 to 2020, the average cost to run and maintain refrigeration units rose by about 8%. But how do you compare? We can show you. Our data can tell you exactly where you stand in comparison with your competition, and what you can do to get on the more profitable side of that ledger. 

Do you spend more or less than average?

We’ve dug into the data we have for dozens of QSR brands to help you benchmark your costs. Here’s an example from one region:

  • $541 is the average cost for refrigeration repairs in California
  • 4.7 is the average number of refrigeration repairs per location per year
  • $4,113 is the average spend on the refrigeration trade per location per year in California 

Where brands can save 

Here’s the thing: refrigeration units are going to break down eventually. Since they won’t run perfectly forever, you have to know how to get them fixed as fast as possible, while saving on costs. We’ve found that labor makes up more than half the total cost of repairs. Which means that the strongest lever for savings is selecting top performing service providers who complete repairs faster and on the first try. 

And that’s where ServiceChannel can help. By connecting you with high-quality, low-cost service providers, we make sure that you get the best service outcomes for every dollar. By tracking the performance data of every provider in our marketplace, we can tell you who works the fastest and does the highest quality work at the lowest overall cost. 

Quality service providers can save you the cost of emergencies 

Did you know that 20% of refrigeration unit repairs are considered emergency repairs? These have an average down time of about 5 days and they cost a little bit more than average to repair: $620. Layer on top of that the cost of losing one of your refrigeration units for a business week! 

The speed and quality of your service providers makes all the difference in how long your revenues are interrupted. In tracking the performance of service providers across trades and regions, we regularly find that the top performers repair your assets 4 days faster than average. With this perspective, our customers can select the very best for a much faster resolution time that drastically reduces the cost of every refrigeration emergency. 

Better benchmarking leads to better performance

For a look at the full report on how quick service restaurants can save on refrigeration costs and select the top performing service providers, check out our Quick-Service Restaurant Facilities Benchmark Report

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