While purchasing commercial food equipment might not be the most exciting thing on your to-do list when you first start up your own restaurant, it’s something that could well prove vital for the success of your business. As such, it’s worth giving the type and amount of equipment that you buy, careful consideration before investing your money in it.
For anyone starting up a new restaurant or upgrading their existing one, here are some factors to keep in mind when purchasing food equipment:
1. The exact needs of the restaurant
The theme of your restaurant and the type of food you intend to serve in it, are both factors that will play a significant role in determining the type of food equipment you buy. If you haven’t yet decided upon this, it’s best to leave the buying of equipment until you do.
2. The budget
If you’re a novice restauranteur, or starting one up on a limited budget, what money you have available for buying food equipment, could be the single most significant factor in determining what you buy. Ideally, you should be able to buy your initial equipment outright, and remember that as your business grows and more people pay to enjoy your cuisine, you may be able to buy more with your profits, and almost certainly cover the cost of your initial purchases.
You could also consider buying used equipment in the early stages, until you find your feet and can afford to buy new items.
3. Making good use of the space
Study the dimensions of your kitchen space closely before buying any food equipment such as a commercial freezer upright, or you may find that they don’t fit where you want them to go, or that you need to limit the amount of equipment you buy due to space restrictions.
For the best use of space available, once you’ve measured the kitchen, be sure to measure the equipment before buying it, too.
4. User-friendly equipment
You likely aren’t the one who will be using most of the kitchen equipment, your employees will, so make sure that you only buy items that they are comfortable using, and which actually reduce their labor time, not increase it.
With due care and attention, food equipment can be maintained to ensure its successful performance for many years to come, so make sure you ask the seller about any maintenance and servicing requirements.
6. Energy performance
You’ll likely have many overheads as a restauranteur, and the cost of running your food equipment will only add to that. As such, try to buy items of equipment that are energy efficient, and which won’t cause a huge spike in your monthly utility bills.
7. What the equipment is made from
Some types of material are far more durable than others when it comes to food equipment, so whether you choose from stainless or galvanized steel, wood or aluminum, make sure the equipment you buy is made from materials designed to last.
8. Whether to buy new or used
In some instances, restauranteurs can save as much as 70% when buying food equipment that’s pre-owned, and while this isn’t always the smart choice, it can be a good option for anyone looking to save money on what’s typically a significant expenditure. If possible, only buy used equipment that still has a warranty.
9. Health and safety
All equipment that you buy must comply with existing food health and safety standards.
10. In-store demo’s
If you’re buying your food equipment from a store, always ask for a live demo before making any purchases. Alternatively, ask the seller who will be delivering it, to demonstrate its features when it arrives.
With careful consideration and attention to detail, you can kit out your kitchen with everything you need for a successful restaurant, and by looking out for deals and buying pre-owned items, you won’t have to break your budget, either.