Buying new kitchen equipment is always an exciting experience for old or new foodservice businesses. But you must spend only on commercial kitchen equipment that will serve the purpose efficiently. Appliances used in restaurants, bakeries and cafes are expensive. You need to plan it in advance to make sure that you get the right device for your needs at the right price.
Quite naturally, buying new equipment is more confusing for the start-up owners than the old businesses that might need a replacement or addition of a new device. Start-ups need to buy all or at least most of the appliances to start a kitchen, so the investment is naturally higher.
Here are our expert recommendations to help you buy the most effective commercial kitchen appliances.
Plan your menu
Rule of thumb for the start-ups – before you decide the equipage you will need, plan the menu. Shopping everything and anything you like will unnecessarily drain the money that you can use for other essential things to give the new business a better platform to start.
Unless pizzas are a speciality of your menu, you don't need to spend on a pizza prep table. A workbench and a proper refrigeration solution will serve the purpose more efficiently. If you are replacing an old appliance, this doesn't apply to you, as you already have a clear idea of what equipment you need.
Measure the space
Once you have listed all the appliances you need for the kitchen; now you should decide the suitable dimensions and other specifications of the devices. Start with measuring the space you have. For a new kitchen, you may prefer to plan the total floor layout before deciding the right dimension for the different appliances.
Once you have decided the position, measure the space carefully. You do not want an appliance that won't fit the room and will make you change the total layout or in the worst case, need a replacement which will cause unnecessary delay. Also, consider the size of the doors to make sure that you can easily carry the appliance into the room.
Consider the customer volume
To decide the best size specifications for your equipment, considering the expected volume of customers to be served daily can help. Depending on the volume of the customer, you can get the total amount of food to be prepared in a day. Also, take into account the portion size for each plate.
Deciding the right size for the appliance might be confusing for the start-ups, as many factors need to be taken into account. However, a good plan backed by a fairly clear idea of the expected customer rush can help.
Decide your budget
While we do not recommend compromising with the quality of the product for accommodating within your budget, it is also vital that you decide a financial plan before you go shopping. Decide the number of appliances to buy. And, if needed, instead of picking the top-of-the-line models for every equipment, plan to buy a mix of models from different ranges.
Good quality commercial kitchen appliances are now available in different variations. While the more sophisticated ones will naturally cost more, the medium-range models from good brands are often efficient enough to serve the purpose.
Consider energy efficiency
The device's cost is a onetime investment, but the day-to-day operational cost is a recurring expense. The more energy-efficient the device, the less operational cost it will have. Even if you are not going for the top models for every item, making sure that the device is energy efficient is a must, because in a commercial environment many of the devices will be in use throughout the day and night.
In gas cooktops, you need to consider between the NG and LPG variants depending on the fuel's cost and availability in your area. Both variants have their unique benefits and limitations.
Know about the local codes
When you are starting a restaurant, irrespective of the size of it, you should be aware of all the local codes. These rules often vary from area to area, and you must have a good idea of the codes specific for the area where you are going to open the business before you go for shopping.
There might be codes about the size and other specifications of devices to be used depending on the kitchen's size and location. For example, there is always some rule about the capacity and type of steel hoods to be installed in a commercial cooking unit depending on the type and volume of the food to be prepared in the unit. Buying equipment without considering these codes may lead to serious problems later.
First, check out the codes and ensure that the product meets the required specifications before purchasing.
Look for quality
As already mentioned, you might not decide to go for all the top range of products to stay within your budget, but you should get the quality that will give you proper service. For example, in refrigeration solutions, you should buy a product that comes with a branded compressor and controller, even if it is expensive. But you might save by choosing a model that comes without castors.
Similarly, in gas cooktops, making sure that the device has the flame failure feature is essential, even if it comes for an added price. Also, opt for 304 stainless steel equipment. It is a good choice as it is cheaper than 316 type but much more resilient and corrosion-resistant than the 430 type stainless steel.
Warranty is important
Commercial kitchen devices from renowned manufacturers come with a warranty on the parts and labour. The well-known commercial kitchen equipment suppliers will not charge you extra for this cover. A warranty ensures that you get complete assistance from the supplier if there is a problem with the device after installation.
The suppliers also maintain a chain of registered technicians to help customers with any maintenance and repair needs from time to time. Look for a brand that comes with at least 2 years of warranty on the parts and labour. While you might not even need to use the warranty, it will ensure your peace of mind.
Before you go shopping for the equipment, taking a note of the above suggestions can help you make the right choice and spend your money on products worth every penny.