The operators at Rudy’s Bar-B-Q restaurants were on a mission to change the indoor environment of their eateries. Determined to preserve the health of the HVAC equipment, ensure the indoor comfort of their guests, and enable remote control of the thermostats, restaurant managers turned to HVAC controls manufacturer Venstar.  

The franchise recently implemented Venstar’s Explorer® connected Wi-Fi® thermostats, Wireless Temperature Sensors, and Skyport® Cloud Services at its locations.  

Jay Andruk, facilities and fleet manager at Austin-based K&N Management — which acts as the licensed operator and local area developer for Rudy’s Bar-B-Q restaurants as well as the Mighty Fine Burger chain — has been pleased with the results.  

“Using Venstar’s free Skyport Mobile App, I can view and control all of the restaurant thermostats, helping to preserve the health of our HVAC equipment,” said Andruk. 

In addition to facilities management, Andruk oversees the restaurants’ office and storage buildings. He chose Venstar’s Explorer (T4900) connected Wi-Fi thermostats with Wi-Fi modules and Venstar Remote Sensors (Model ACC-PSEN) due to their ability to monitor the spaces from afar.  

The thermostats are located in non-public areas, including kitchens and offices. Remote sensors allow monitoring of air temperatures in the areas without thermostats. Andruk also placed remote sensors in dining rooms, which are sensitive to temperature differences.  

Having both thermostats and remote sensors enables temperature averaging across a wider space. This provides greater control of inside temperatures, helping to ensure a comfortable environment. 

Using sensors rather than thermostats in public areas such as dining rooms also reduces the opportunity for guests to try to make adjustments. 

Andruk uses Venstar’s free Skyport Mobile App to remotely access the thermostats to check on or adjust temperatures in the restaurants. He can also turn on or off HVAC equipment so that it is not left on and running overnight, potentially damaging the equipment.   

Using the mobile app is especially helpful after hours. For example, when a contractor let Andruk know the humidity was too high for the grout to set overnight, Andruk was able to use the Skyport App from his mobile phone to reduce the temperature from 72° to 67° to allow the humidity to drop. This enabled the grout to set, ensuring the restaurant could open on time the next morning.  

Because the kitchens can run hot, Andruk programmed the thermostats to give restaurant managers the ability to make minor temperature adjustments. This gives them some flexibility to ensure comfort in the kitchens while making sure the dining room guests aren’t too cool. 

As a bonus, using the app, Andruk and his team can remotely turn HVAC units on or off when contractors are making repairs without having to physically visit the restaurants. Andruk also appreciates that the Venstar thermostats work with all types of HVAC systems.  

“In the restaurants where we installed the Venstar systems, we have not had a single rooftop unit freeze up due to people overriding the system, lowering the thermostat, and letting the a/c run all night,” Andruk said. “Today, thanks to Venstar, no matter how hot or cold it is outside, Rudy’s Bar-B-Q and Mighty Fine Burgers therrestaurants have consistent, comfortable temperatures.”