CONTI Evolution in the Media

Top 6 Reasons why Restaurant AV Systems Fail

Colby Harder - Tuesday, February 10, 2015

I was recently asked by a client what the leading reasons of restaurant audio video systems failures were.  This client had just experienced a failure in his restaurant and his patrons were left without any audio or video in the restaurants. 

Here's a summary of what I told him:

1. They're Filthy - We see some of the most unbelievably filthy pieces of electronics you could imagine.  The unique melding of humidity, dust, and grease combine for a perfect storm that often chokes electronics to the point of overheating.  The picture below is similar to a recent example we saw.  This is not as uncommon as you may think.

Yes... that's a computer.


2. They Get Wet - It's common sense that electronics shouldn't get wet.  In a restaurant environment, this happens more than you might think.  We had one client that insisted on installing their audio video systems under the bar counter.  One wrong move and thousands of dollars of audio video electronics could be irreparably damaged.

3. People "Fiddling" - We see many clients who haven't established effective protocols regarding who should be able to operate the audio video equipment.  In a case with no effective protocols, many staff (and sometimes guests) begin "fiddling" with the systems.  People often feel they can help, but end up doing more damage.

4. Poor Rack Location - A proper equipment rack is essential to any commercial audio video system.  It provides ventilation, secure mounting, and critical cable management to ensure connections are protected.  We often see restaurants with audio systems thrown on shelves or even equipment racks that are just placed atop a filing cabinet.  One client regularly slid their equipment rack around to make room for other stuff in their office.  Each time they slid the rack aside, they were stressing the dozens of connections in the back of the rack.  The results were consistent and predictable failures of the systems.  Proper AV systems should be in a built in rack, in a purpose built rack room, or a wall-mounted rack in a secure office.

5. Poor Ventilation- Modern electronics are designed to be robust and are able to operate in a fairly wide band of temperatures.  When equipment is forced outside of those defined temperatures, the damage to the equipment is exponential and irreversible.  The result will be a notable shortening of equipment lifespan.  Poor ventilation is normally tracked back to one of several reasons.  (1) Either the way the equipment is mounted doesn't allow it to breath properly (2) It is mounted in a room that is too warm, or (3) it is in a room that forces it to ingest hot exhaust air.  The solution is simple.  Equipment should be mounted in a rack, in a purpose built rack room or secure office, and mounted in a secure rack that includes adequate ventilation.

A clean, well ventilated AV Rack.

Colby Harder is the President of CONTI Evolution an audio video advisory services firm that support audio video projects across North America.  CONTI Evolution's clients include leading regional and national restaurant chains as well as innovative local independent restaurants.  They provide AV Design, Implementation and Support services to clients.