TM44 Inspections Reports

McDonald’s Case Study

Air Conditioning Inspections – The Portfolio

We were instructed to carry out inspections across the McDonald’s national restaurant portfolio. This consisted originally of circa 1,000 sites which were a combination of purpose built drive through stores, conversions (such as former public houses), high street stores, shopping centre locations and others (such as railway station stores).

Air Conditioning Inspections – The Challenge

The complexity of the systems meant that the actual inspections themselves were not particularly technically challenging as most restaurants were set up in a similar way with a central BMS system controlling a number of packaged or split units. It was the logistical deployment of inspectors which was the greatest challenge, given the sheer number of sites that required inspection and the vast geographical spread of sites (including some off the UK mainland in Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man). In addition to the arranging of inspections, dealing with the large volume of paperwork and putting in place a robust quality assurance process together with regular progress updates for the client was also a huge consideration.

Air Conditioning Inspections – The Process

NACI approached this portfolio in a very methodical and practical way. We were aware that the client wanted regular feedback, but did not want to micro-manage the project. We therefore ensured that the planning stage of the project was as detailed as possible, allowing for as many different variables as were known at the time. We took on a number of responsibilities ourselves to ensure that we would be able to control and adjust the project as necessary without having to disturb the client (such as organising inspections directly with the stores). Weekly progress reports were provided to the client to ensure any issues were resolved promptly. To avoid any teething problems having a long term impact a staggered roll out was carried out with the initial launch being just 20-30 sites per week (which then increased to over 100 sites per week during the peak of the project). During the project a number of stores were found to not require inspections (due to under-sized systems or newly installed HVAC) and these were removed from the portfolio to avoid additional unnecessary cost for the client. All reports were internally reviewed for accuracy before being sent to the client. A number of additional value add services were also provided given the volume of information that we had collated on their behalf (for example, details of all R22 equipment located on the sites). Franchised stores were also included in the project after the initial launch which meant a greater emphasis on good communication given that these were, in effect, independent businesses who relied on McDonald’s corporate team to ensure they only selected the most reliable and professional contractors for such projects.

Air Conditioning Inspections – The Results

The portfolio was completed on time and under-budget for McDonald’s. In addition to achieving compliance, which was the primary goal, the exercise proved to be incredibly useful from an energy management point of view. Although the client were very aware of energy efficiency, and had put numerous measures into place across the portfolio to reduce energy consumption, this was the first portfolio wide review that of air conditioning usage that they had undertaken. The majority of recommendations related to issues that were already being resolved, but due to the size of the portfolio had not been completed such as replacement of R22 systems with modern units. One of the main recommendations was education regarding the usage of the BMS systems which were being under-utilised. Unfortunately, in a kitchen/restaurant environment quick gains can often take precedence over efficient management (especially on hot days) which can lead to the systems having no set-points or time clocks set and staff manually switching systems on/off. Although set-points and time clocks were being used in the majority of sites, the reports suggested a comprehensive policy across all restaurants depending on opening hours. The majority of the recommendations were low cost/no cost since they could be implemented by the existing BMS on site. An estimated saving of 15-20% of the annual air conditioning energy usage across the portfolio was possible by following the recommendations set out in the reports provided by NACI.