R&R Sanitation Sets the Table for Cleanliness at a Big-Time BBQ Party

Working the St. Louis Q in the Lou food fest means keeping restrooms clean and having plenty of hand-wash stations to wash off all that sweet and spicy secret sauce

R&R Sanitation Sets the Table for Cleanliness at a Big-Time BBQ Party

Reisinger multitasks, servicing hand-wash stations and taking a call for the restroom business.

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THE TEAM

Jim Reisinger is the owner of R&R Sanitation in St. Louis, and he has developed a great relationship with many event organizers. For the featured event, Tim Reisinger, operations manager, met with planners twice to work out the details to provide efficient service. During the event, he supervised three employees, Chris Daleen, Randal Simm and Daryl Womack, who serviced restrooms and filled hand-washing stations. Though no one stayed at the event through its entire weekend run, R&R staff was a phone call away to provide 24-hour service.

COMPANY HISTORY

Jim Reisinger worked for two portable restroom companies before he decided to start his own business in 2000. He operated a boom truck business at the time and ordered 300 restrooms and a truck to serve his customers. He started with a rented corner of a junkyard because the property had 2-inch water mains and 12-inch sewers that could be used for domestic waste disposal (with permits). He didn’t stay small long, building to 1,000 restrooms in six months. Despite financial lending challenges at the beginning, the business grew and he bought out the junkyard and an old slaughterhouse to take ownership of the whole block.

Today the business has more than 6,000 portable restrooms (half Sansom Industries Zenith and the rest Satellite | PolyPortables models), 400 hand-wash sinks (T.S.F. and Satellite | PolyPortables) including handicap sinks, nearly 500 10- to 40-yard roll-off containers and nine roll-off trucks, as well as vacuum trucks and boom trucks used to place 10- and 12-foot concrete barriers at events and construction sites. During the summer, about 5,000 of the restrooms are contracted with construction companies.

“I always have 1,000 to 1,500 for events,” he notes. “In the summer, it’s not uncommon to have 600-700 out every weekend. In 2017, from January to December, we averaged 112 toilets every weekend for special events (including winter weekends without events).”

The schedule keeps 10 restroom service drivers and five pick-up and delivery drivers busy year-round, in addition to 20 other employees in the office and other divisions of R&R.

THE MAIN EVENT

Q in the Lou isn’t a competition, emphasizes Marc Mendolia, production director for the event.

“It’s a celebration of barbecue. St. Louis is passionate about barbecue, so it’s a great way to showcase it,” he explains. Each year Q in the Lou invites “Legends of the Pit” from across the U.S. to prepare their tastiest dishes, offer demos, share recipes and sell sauces, rubs and other products at Kiener Plaza.

Located in the midst of downtown, in the shadow of the Gateway Arch, the 1.9-acre park includes a fountain with a statue of Harry J. Kiener, a St. Louis athlete who competed on the U.S. track team at the Olympics held in St. Louis in 1904 during the World’s Fair. Trees, gardens and a splash pad make it a popular public area that’s a perfect place to hold everything from Cardinal baseball team rallies to summer socials to the Festival of Lights and Winterfest ice skating.

There is no fee for the public to attend Q in the Lou; people just pay for food they choose. With everything from lamb chops to tomahawk rib-eye to raspberry chipotle pork belly, there are plenty of choices. The three-day event (held Sept. 21-23 in 2018) draws more than 30,000 people and includes stages with music, beer and wine tasting, and other activities.

BY THE NUMBERS

In 2018, R&R provided 48 Zenith portable restrooms, four Zenith MAX handicap restrooms and 20 hand-wash stations from T.S.F. to Q in the Lou. Concrete barriers were also placed on two streets to block off the event. Three trucks were used for servicing: two 3400 Hino trucks with 1,500-gallon waste and 500-gallon freshwater tanks (one stainless built by Best Enterprises and the other aluminum built by Progress Tank) with Masport pumps, and a GMC truck carrying a 1,500-gallon steel water tank filled the hand-wash stations.


LET’S ROLL

On Thursday, before the event, three GMC 1-ton dually trucks pulled Davis Trailers with the 52 portable restrooms to Kiener Plaza, about 2 miles from R&R’s dumpsite. Workers set them up in four banks for the public and another half dozen for the barbecue masters and vendors. Besides larger holding tanks in the regular and ADA restrooms, three-roll toilet paper holders ensure the restrooms are usable and well stocked between twice-a-day service. Restrooms also have motion-detecting lights, and the Zenith models have a hands-free door-opening feature.

Two employees service restrooms each day early in the morning and again about 5:30 p.m. when the crowd numbers are down. “There is 90 feet of hose on the truck if needed if we can’t get close,” Reisinger says. The water truck driver takes care of the hand-wash stations, which hold 45 gallons of water. “My son or a supervisor oversees it, and from time to time we go there,” he adds, noting the event organizers are given the R&R office number and cellphone numbers to call if there are any problems.

The weather for the 2018 event was good, and there were no major problems or challenges. After 9 p.m. on Sunday, one of the Hino trucks pumped the restrooms before drivers with three trailers loaded them up to return to R&R to be power-washed and thoroughly cleaned for the next event.

WRAPPING IT UP

“I don’t lose an event once I do it,” Reisinger says, and he expects to contract with the Q in the Lou for many years to come. “I have 98% retention on events. It’s not a question of price; it’s that we know how to do it right. We respond quickly.”

Though September and October tend to be the busiest months, they continually add more cold-season events including holiday attractions and competitive running and biking events.

“St. Louis has always been a party waiting to happen,” Reisinger says with a laugh. “There’s something going on almost every weekend — often not just one, but multiple events.”



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